Is Web Time A Factor?

by Jay Deragon on 06/09/2008

Time has always been and will continue to be a critical factor of decisions both personally and professionally. Whether it be an individual or a business decision it seems to always hang on the factor of time. As individuals and businesses pursue opportunities the issues of time intensifies. The longer it takes to either make a decision or wait for another party to make a decision the longer it may take to reach an outcome..

In a constantly changing world influenced and fueled by perceptions, timely decisions can make or break you. Now the social web intensifies these issues like never before.

Releasing a new product, responding poorly to customers, launching a marketing campaign or changing company policy is no longer scrutinized by a few rather now the decisions or indecisions are discussed by many, one to one to millions. The conversations are defining the markets perception of value and the definitions are in web time which is now recycled over and over.

What is the Price of Time?

Paul Maidment, of Forbes wrote: Time is the most valuable commodity. We never seem to have enough of it. Everyone is time-strapped, time-poor, time-starved. Choose your cliché.

Most of us don’t make the most of our time. We wish we did. An economist might approach the problem from the starting point of a paradox that baffled Adam Smith in the 18th century: We cannot exist without water, but can get by without diamonds–and yet we value diamonds so much more highly than water. In other words, prices are determined by the ability of a product to satisfy a human want, not what it costs to produce. To be technical, the actual value of a product depends on how useful its least important use is, its so-called marginal utility.

A product that exists in abundance, like water, will readily be used in unimportant ways. As it becomes scarcer, the least important uses are abandoned, and greater utility, and thus value (and prices), will be derived from the new least-important use.

Applying the theory of marginal utility to time would lead most of us to value it cheaply. Our least important use of time is to do nothing. In short, time is more like water than like diamonds.

Yet in another sense, time is more like diamonds than water. While it seems infinite, it is actually scarce. Each individual has a finite allocation–without ever knowing what that allocation will turn out to be.

Moving quickly makes all the difference in the world to a business. Whether it is finding new customers, closing a sale, or shipping a product, speed matters. It’s also a competitive advantage for smaller companies competing against larger fish.

What Are Web Time Factors

As we said earlier, the conversations are defining the markets perception of value and the definitions are in web time which is now. Now is recycled over and over and copied from one to one to millions at the click of a mouse.

This dynamic is intensifying the need to make timely decisions aimed at reversing any of the conversations that are negatively impacting your brand now. If you are not engaging in the conversations or taking actions based on the conversations then you are denying the power of the market driven by conversations. This power swells with force and the longer you ignore it the volume of the conversations grow and attracts more people to pay attention and engage.

The time to engage is now. The method of engagement is to listen, learn, respond and fix those issues that are creating negative conversations. Otherwise the conversations of tomorrow will only get worse which means your markets are not being satisfied. Unsatisfied markets look for alternatives and when found markets shift at the click of a mouse.

What say you?

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