Business is Getting Forcibly Simpler

By Deane Barker on April 7, 2010

The Collapse of Complex Business Models: Shirky is brilliant.  Here he argues that the last step in the simplification of business is the complete breaking down of business models even remotely complex.  Many companies aren’t ready for that – primarily Big Media.

[…] Rupert Murdoch of News Corp said “Web users will have to pay for what they watch and use.”

Diller, Brill, and Murdoch seem be stating a simple fact—we will have to pay them—but this fact is not in fact a fact. Instead, it is a choice, one its proponents often decline to spell out in full, because, spelled out in full, it would read something like this:

“Web users will have to pay for what they watch and use, or else we will have to stop making content in the costly and complex way we have grown accustomed to making it. And we don’t know how to do that.”

He has another good anecdote in there about AT&T and the Web hosting business in the 90s.  AT&T wanted to do amazingly complex and proficient hosting.  They couldn’t understand that, back then, there was just no demand for it, and people didn’t want to pay for it.  They were confronted with a simplified business model, and were utterly mystified by it.