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Me in the Me-Business

Jack Loo | Nov. 7, 2008
In a way, the Internet can sometimes be a reflection of how people behave in real-life.

The latest edition of the Shaw Foundation Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series offered an interesting insight to the way companies carry out their business on the Internet. And then reminded me of how I live in the Internet world.

The business model the Me-Business consists of a company sitting at the bottom tip of an inverted pyramid of customers, according to Dr Andreas Weigend, the former chief scientist at Amazon.com. This way, the company is directly influenced by its customers in its strategic directions.

Think about examples such as Google with its Google Maps that saw users forming virtual communities and custom building applications, or Amazon with its interactive user reviews, pointed out Weigend.

He was invited to speak at the lecture, held at the Singapore Management University. The lecture series was established at the university in support from the Shaw Foundation.

But not every user is keen to take part in communities, pointed out Jenns Hofmann, a director at e moda, an online business start-up. In an Internet business environment, there are people who do not want to take part in any relationship, preferring to just make their transaction quietly and in peace, Hofmann said.

This somewhat struck a chord with me. I have never bought items from the online businesses like eBay and Amazon.com. Perhaps I prefer purchasing in person. I think the fear of getting into scams plays a part as well.

Even in social networking sites such as forums, I tend to lurkonly digesting information and views from others. If user A has 1299 posts in two months, I would have 10 posts in the same period of time.

But do my actions make me lose out on being connected to the virtual world? Probably not. Hofmanns question puts into perspective that, just like in a physical community, while there are people who are more outgoing and involved, there are others who are more introverted. In a way, the Internet can sometimes be a reflection of how people behave in real-life.

Well, it is time for me to check out on the rare limited edition 1998 Nike sneaker on eBay. Now, should I click bid?

A staff writer with Fairfax Business Media, Jack Loo is a full-time web and magazine reading addict, from bbc.co.uk to webmonkey and monocle.

 

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