Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Umair and the Edgeconomy

Umair Haque is the man behind Bubblegeneration. He's blogging for Harvard Business School. And he's building the Havas Media Lab, an advisory firm specializing in "radical management, business model, and strategic innovation."

One word that constantly crops up in Umair's writing is edgeconomy, "an economy characterized by cheap, ubiquitous interaction." According to one of his fans, Umair "describes an emerging culture of business as an edgeconomy where light beats heavy; open beats closed; free beats paid; and, good beats evil."

In this HBS blog post and the two minute video that accompanies it, he talks about the future of brands. He thinks brands as they exist today are in decay: they are vestiges of a past economy in which information wasn't easily accessible.

We don't need to compress information about the expected value of goods and services into this tiny little logo and to a 30 second TV spot, because interaction is cheap, and information is cheap.

And he thinks companies need to start paying attention.

If consumers are talking to each other much more efficiently than you can carpet bomb them with stuff, start listening to them instead of just talking at them.

Now imagine an economy in which those consumers talk about which businesses are having what positive impacts on the world. And imagine when companies start listening. I don't know if Umair has written directly about consumer demand for sustainability or corporate social responsibility, but I'll keep my eyes out. The connection feels inevitable to me, and I'd love to hear what he has to say.

Note: In his Bubblegeneration post today, Umair is predicting an Obama assassination. I'm hoping he's wrong. Have a look at my ridiculous comment on Umair's post to find out why I think Obama's gonna make it.