Think of the digital age as the Networked age. In this age, the creation of global network value is what will drive economic growth for the foreseeable future.
The Digital Age values anything and everything that expands the globally connected network of people, products, and services. If you want to profit from the expansion of the Digital Age, you must understand the mechanisms driving network value.
Understanding the value drivers of this age requires an understanding of Metcalfe’s Law. The value of a network is proportional to the square of the connected users. This means that in the Digital Age, the larger your network access, the greater your ability to accumulate value.
To that end – in this Digital Age, to build wealth and gain influence, your goal should be to embrace anyone and anything that can expand your network. The people that promote you and your work are valuable to you. The people and advertising mechanisms that can extend your reach are valuable to you. Most importantly, your ability to create ways of gathering, organizing, and retaining your network into communities is what will drive value on a personal level.
In the Digital Age, the most important network nodes have become the people and information that meaningfully contribute to the global network. The more that people that join and are effectively organized into communities and the more information that is productively curated into actionable information, the more value the network has.
The Global Network is Growing
Half the world’s population is still without access to the internet. But with the rollout of Starlink and the proliferation of crypto assets, these people should rapidly come online in the 2020 decade.
If the value of the network increases as more node become active – then it becomes clear that as the remaining 50% of the global population comes online, the global network value will grow significantly.
And as these 4 billion people come online, they will drive a wave of digital productivity and value creation. This signals where a savvy individual or company should position themselves to capture the value drivers of the Digital Age.
Capturing Global Network Value
Any person or business that expands the global network by bringing more people “online” becomes valuable. This is especially true if these entities function as gatekeepers to this new wave of adopters. Think of gatekeepers as artificial barriers to participation in the global network. The new users cannot access the network without phones, internet, and tools for language processing and integration with the developed world. These gatekeepers are valuable to a system that requires new users for exponential growth.
Did you know that Apple only accounts for 15% of global smartphone penetration? There are other brands that exist and serve as primary beneficiaries from the next group of network participants. Apple is typically too expensive for emerging markets.
As new users join, the internet will become even more crowded. It creates a need for properly curated information and supports the creation of information capital assets. Put another way, these new participants will want access to useful information that is easy to find.
Information resources that are designed for this new wave of internet adopters will be valuable. And early data suggests that this next wave of internet adopters will have different needs and use the internet differently. Creating information assets for this large set of new users is a large addressable market opportunity.
As cryptocurrency influencer and a prolific digital age marketer Anthony Pompliano says, “The meme is the message“.
In the Networked Age, behavioral economics becomes important. ie: understanding how emotions and evolutionary decision making mechanisms drive human decisions. It’s important to incorporate these lessons into network growth strategies. How cultural influence impacts our decision making and purchasing preferences. And how Memes, the ideas that rapidly spread among people, propagate, spread virally, and influence large numbers of people.
Other important elements of Behavioral Economics to pay attention to:
- Anchoring behaviors
- Herding behaviors
- Excitement for free stuff
- The difference between social network incentives vs market incentives
- Analysis paralysis
Some Final Thoughts on Global Network Value
In the Digital Age, you should reframe how you assess value. Your value is created by your ability to join and influence the global network. If you create resources and services that help grow the number of active network nodes, the network will reward you. Ie: Help people join and participate on the internet and you will earn lots of value.
BUT – just adding to the number of people or information connected to a network is not in itself valuable. These nodes must be valuable to the network participant They must be active nodes and engaged nodes.
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