Your Business Model is in my Cross Hairs

Inefficiency is being eliminated because of the Web and since we’re all increasingly connected by the internet. As the Web accelerates in capability and with new applications, more intermediaries seem to be popping up to make life easier for all of us and, at the same time, is adjusting or killing many current business models.

Nobody can offer everything to everybody and *especially* since we’re seeing the whole Web 2.0 application direction offer up narrowly focused, thin slices of application functionality that meet needs in new ways. As a consequence, mashups of these applications are proliferating and sites that see ways to expose and slice-n-dice data in new ways are growing.

What I think is most intriguing, however, is the onrush of disintermediation sites that are simply looking at problems and needs from fresh perspectives and delivering useful Web applications. Here are three examples:

  • Flyspy: Written up in today’s Minneapolis Startribune (on the front page, no less) is this alpha-stage company that is swinging some of the algorithmic power — currently held by the airlines and used for “yield management” — and placing it in the hands of consumers.
  • GetHuman: A database of ways to get right past the always frustrating voicemail hell and cut-to-the-chase and get to the department or area you need now. Many companies manage costs by routing calls to where you’re either performing your own self-service or talk to a call screener; defray costs by upselling/crosselling you while on the phone (some even sell advertising while you’re on hold)
  • Bugmenot: A fun site of “generic” usernames and passwords to get, for example, past the walled gardens of major newspapers and other places where free registration is required.

I could go on and on…but you get the idea. In the examples above these are good things for consumers. In the example of, for instance, Wikipedia as a disintermediator and disruptor of the encyclopedia space, this is a very bad thing for Encyclopedia Brittanica and others. Edmunds.com put power into the hands of consumers by delivering high quality, accurate information on rebates, financing and more so buyers would be empowered before facing auto sellers.

It’s inevitable that inefficiencies will continue to be made efficient as the Web and applications accelerate. All of the apps mentioned in this post are either disrupting, destroying or dramatically modifying current business models. What are you seeing that is not obvious to most of us?

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.