We are moving from the Internet of Things to the Unit of One.
Apple released the first iPod on October 23, 2001, some nine months after iTunes was released. This is a significant moment in the history of music industry and has forever changed the way we enjoy music.
In the “One-for-All” World
In the old days when music albums were released in vinyls or CDs, there was no other way but to buy a physical product to enjoy your favorite track or two. Record labels followed the mass production model to produce and distribute music.
When you sell the one product that you just released, you have to reach as many consumers as you can. That is how you gain momentum, break even, and reach a hit-album status. This is a typical “One-for-All” scenario, where you don’t really care who buys your product. Consumers are just numbers on your books.
Into the “All-for-One” World
Apple has changed the status quo by making it simple and easy to store thousands of digital music tracks (MP3) on your mobile device. Of course, Apple has a lot to be grateful for what Napster did — matching supply to demand almost instantly!
The genius of digital music is evident in, what we call, the playlist. You can burn a CD out of your playlist, but that’s defeating the purpose. Digital music is more adaptable while a CD is not.
In the world of playlists, you create a responsive product through your listening habits and ratings.
For instance, after listening Taylor Swift’s tracks from 1989 too often, you decide to give some tracks 4 stars instead of previous 5. Voilà! You’ve got an updated 5-star playlist on your PC and the mobile device of your choice.
All the music that you love, and 5-starred by you, is always updated for you. This is the beginning of the “All-for-One” world. It’s not limited to music. Even some business services from age-old enterprise resource planning software can combine for you — in an “All-for-One” fashion. SAP’s Fiori offers similar user experience.
In the New World
Today we live in a digital and networked world. In the new world, you have to learn how to connect all the dots to deliver the right offering to a segment of one, a fancy way to say a single customer.
In this new world, everything and everyone can be connected. First came the Internet of Information, followed by the Internet of People, and now the Internet of Things. What makes this connections possible? It’s simple. The answer is in the nature of digital technologies, turbocharged by the network effect.
Loosen Up and Connect the Dots
In the “All-for-One” world where everything’s connected in real time to offer the best possible service to a single customer, businesses need to learn to loosen up and mingle together.
From a customer’s perspective, barriers mean nothing but negligence on the part of the seller. The purpose of a business is to deliver value to a customer. In the new world, value is created by offering the right playlist for one customer at a time.
Digitized data and services can be connected more easily to create a holistic solution to any customer’s issues. You’re not the one best player in the market any more. What matters most is how your customers gain value from your service.
And the value can be found when you take this “playlist” mindset and learn to connect with others to deliver the right playlist to the right customer in real time. Step back from “all-for-one” world and jump right into the “one-for-all” world!
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This article is originally published on Adam’s LinkedIn blog.