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Flip that thought…consumer first?

Surveyor at work with a leveling instrument.Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately working with a newly formed team of people who are trying to build some new offerings on the web.  Some of it’s the same old same old and some of it is taking that same old and putting a fresh spin on it.

But the biggest thing I keep talking about, and the thing that seems to be met with the most resistance is the concept of consumer first.  It’s hard for people (especially if they’ve spent too much time in “old media”) to move away from the mindset that we have to serve business.  This is simply not true.  Web sites are in the business of providing he consumer with a destination.  And today – that means it has to have compelling, relevant content.  That part is a given – but the site must also function at a certain level.  It must be able to offer two-way communication in the form of RSS, emailing and membership/community.  These are expected.

When I read the post from Derek Sivers today called “Reversable Business Models” it just reminded me so much of what we are trying to do with this team:

In China, some doctors are paid monthly when you are healthy. If you are sick, it’s their fault, so you don’t have to pay that month. It’s their goal to get you healthy and keep you healthy so they can get paid.

this part too:

Professor Dan Ariely told his class that he would be doing a reading of poetry, but didn’t know what it should cost. He handed out a price survey to all students, but secretly half of the surveys asked if they’d be willing to pay $10 to hear him read, and the other half asked if they’d be willing to hear him read if he paid them $10!

Those who got the question about paying him were willing to pay. They offered to pay, on average, $1, $2, $3 for short, medium, long readings.

Those who got the question about being paid demanded payment. They wanted to be paid, on average, $1.30, $2.70, $4.80 for short, medium, long readings.

There are a couple other examples too that are worth reading – but he ends with this question i really love:

What current business models might as well be flipped around, or get their income from a different source?

And that is my point. We get caught up in the same old garbage, day after day and loose site of the prize.  We say:  “We can’t do this because the business’s people won’t buy it.” or “No – that’s not an option because we’re not sure if the billing system can ‘see’ it.” – but we really need to cut the crap and figureout what we can flip and provide to do what they say can’t be done.

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