The inconvenient truth about the convenience of technology

Emory Business | Dec. 14, 2015

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Technology has become an integral part of everyday life. From morning exercise monitored by Fitbits to a ride to work courtesy of Uber, staying plugged in has become second nature for  billions of global users.

Recent research indicates nearly 3.5 billion people now use the Internet, up from 394 million just ten years ago. This rapid surge in use began in 1995, when businesses bet on the Internet and the first tech IPOs brought new products and services to an audience growing in awareness and willingness to engage.

What followed was an “explosion of adoption  and consumer-driven content,” says Benn Konsynski, George S. Craft Distinguished  University Professor of Information Systems & Operations Management at Goizueta. “Consumers came online and were not just shopping but also adding content.”

The shakeout from the 2000 Internet bubble left strong players like Microsoft and Amazon poised for expansion. Equally important, these surviving companies identified the elements needed to remain viable in a new business environment.

“What we learned from the market is that high valuations are in the context players, not content players. Netscape didn’t own much information, Google doesn’t create information. Craigslist, Amazon, and eBay don’t create much content,” explains Konsynski. “Instead, all of these players are creating high value by letting others create information. It’s what we call democratic production. Those that are able to exploit that high velocity, high volume of content creation are the ones that win.”

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