I read something at Tom Hayes' web site that has me spinning. He notes that his son, who plays a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), is learning the breadth of collaboration, and it's bigger than what I've grasped.
These kids are gradually, unwittingly learning a brand new culture of collective online behavior. Today they play together, tomorrow I believe they will buy together.Emphasis mine.
I've been chewing on the P2P financial model for a while. A P2P financial site, like Prosper.com and Zopa, operates like an eBay for loans. People can submit their public request for a loan and other folks can then - in part or in whole - bid by amount and interest rate to fund that request. In that model, in effect, people buy the loan together. It's community purchase.
It's not hard to apply that to other financial products and services. What about student loans? What about insurance? What about credit cards?
It's not the baby boomers who might hop on this model and make it big. No, it's more like the teenagers who are about 5 years away from having the financial wherewithal to enact what they're learning today in Second Life and in Maple Story, which is what Tom's kid plays. (Though if the kids show that it works, the boomers will bring their billions to the table.)
How does group purchase change the financial industry dynamic? Where else does this apply?
Collaboration is the new competitive advantage. It doesn't apply just to the vendor in terms of partnerships, but to customers and to collaboration between vendors and their customers. We will buy, build, and dream together, without the definition of class or border.
Teens will lead the way on this one. It's the culture they're creating for themselves. Today, this feels much bigger than I've grasped.
ETC: I found this today, via Mitch Joel, an article in the New York magazine entitled, Say Everything. Perfect. From the article: "It's theater, but it's also community: In this linked, logged world, you have a place to think out loud and be listened to, to meet strangers and go deeper with your friends."