the 4 Cs of internet economy

All the excitement in the internet world now (sometimes termed as Web 2.0) according to me can be summarized in 4 Cs:

  • Content (Micro chunking. tagging)
  • Connectivity (Communication, Mobility, RSS, Voip)
  • Community (Collaboration, smart mobs, user generated content)
  • Commerce (platform providers, Craigslist)

From what I see — I have listed them in that order of importance.

Content first because “Content is the King“! Content in form of data — raw data, information, knowledge / wisdom for personal use, interaction, entertainment is the main driver. Because of RSS and mashups — we see the benefits of micro chunking and tagging them as much as possible

Next comes technology, Connectivity which is the engine (enabler) — Internet, Lan, wired and wireless, communication technology + Mobile phones. Cost had been a barrier in terms of infrastructure i.e for a privileged few. I would say its a blessing in disguise — Indians haven’t embraced an older technology as the US has done in terms of infrastructure. Indians are hungry for connectivity — the mobile phones technology comes at a lower cost and though may be inferior in certain aspects — serve the basic needs.

Just content + connectivity have limitations! Man inherently wants to communicate with his near and dear ones (social hunger). Just connectivity does that to an extent. But when connectivity and content come at a cost or have limitations (literacy + learning technology + language limitation) — basic voice is left as sole driver to fill his needs. This is one of the reasons why the mobile phones have been largely successful — all one has to do is press a button and start talking!

Community, according to me, are the passengers. The costs, ease & tools to create content have come down. All you need to make your own audio, photo or video can be done on your phone on the go! One can edit and share them right from your phones. Some of the phones (depending on features, 2nd hand) are selling at Rs 2,000 (grey market 😉 ) People want to share the content and contribute to content. This is not only in the form of mobile blogging, You Tubes, podcasting but also community based working e.g community internet radio, newspaper or TV — adaptions of public RSS aggregators where media is audio, text or video or content streaming server.

Finally, something I have missed in the equation i.e Commerce. According to me Commerce is like a spark. Once we have the right conducive environment — Commerce mostly has a symbiotic nature i.e everything will be free / sustainable in nature.

Imagine a ‘future’ where we all go back to “barter” where being good is the currency! Twitter like connections for every activity.

Just to wrap up, I am viewing the current internet sphere using a metaphor.

Internet is a Car. Content the driver. Connectivity which is the engine. Community the passengers. And finally Commerce the spark! After you start the car — you actually may not need the spark 😉

Originally published at on October 17, 2006.