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The internet industry races forward and leaves opportunity in the dust

There was a Simon and Garfunkel song called “Feeling Groovy” whose lyrics run, “Slow down, you move too fast, you’ve got to make the morning last, just kickin’ down the cobble-stones, lookin’ for fun and feelin’ groovy..” Of course, the idea of taking time and feeling groovy is dated but the general point isn’t. That point, however, is being lost in today’s rush to create the next greatest thing in the Internet space. We are running at breakneck speed headlong into the future but I think that we are actually going way too fast. And one of the results are that we may be leaving more on the table than we ever imagined.

Why? It’s simply because too many people are being left at the curb by the Internet industry. SMB’s, certain industry verticals and many others are being told that if they are not willing to drink from the fire hose of Internet progress then they are going to lose.

While in the eyes of some that may be true it is not a universal guarantee. In fact, I would posit that except for the Internet elite (Zuckerberg, Jobs, Andreessen, VC’s, those in the know for an IPO, etc.), few will see the real benefit of what the Internet truly has to offer for business.

It’s like the Internet industry has developed its own Wall Street. Whether it’s in investment circles, social media circles, or wherever there is a certain “clubby-ness” to how progress is gauged in the online space. The in-crowd of industry insiders slap each other on the back and run roughshod over the rest of the space while others are left trying to fit the pieces together in a coherent fashion. Those at the top of this food chain don’t seem to have any thought of obligation to any greater good. But it is capitalism after all, so to the victor belongs the spoils, right?

Well, those spoils are going to start to become less and less if the Internet and its progress becomes elitist or reserved only for certain segments of the consumer and business markets. By going too fast we are leaving a lot of opportunity behind. I don’t envision this changing and that’s a bit sad really.

There are a lot of good people out there in the US and worldwide who would love to use the Internet the right way to help their business. To help achieve their dreams. These are very smart people but they are not trained in the ways of the Internet. Let’s face it, if you think you need to be a rocket scientist to do Internet marketing then the only thing you really need is a dump truck to cart around your ego. No one is splitting an atom when they run an SEO or paid search campaign.

So what is the cost of moving too fast? I think it is an Internet divide that will create the “haves” and the “have nots” just like what happens economically. There will be groups that are left behind and there will be consequences. The cool kids are actually running the risk of outrunning their potential customers. By being too far ahead of them they will not be able to relate to them or sell to them. As a result, the market potential will narrow versus widen. We like to say that there is nothing but upside in the Internet space but that is simply not true unless we slow down and get more people on board. Until there is a society of those who have been raised in the Internet Age exclusively, not everyone will be on the same page.

I know this is a bit of a rant but I do think that we, meaning the Internet marketing and social media industry, have done a disservice to the vast majority of people. That disservice is acting as if everyone ‘gets it’ then moving on to the next shiny object, trinket or bauble.

Sure it’s fun and exciting but what about that boring old word, “practical”? Is it really necessary to think you can know where all of your customers are and how to reach them all the time when you are actually just talking about a sliver of your potential market that can even live that way? No, it’s not and it is actually irresponsible.

Irresponsible? Really? Sure it is because if you are a public company your responsibility is to shareholders and not just to the cool kids. If you race so far ahead of a large potential market that they will never deal with you then that is irresponsible. Exciting, but irresponsible nonetheless.

So I end this with a plea to slow down a bit and collect ourselves. Help the masses get on board. Stop worrying about cool and start concentrating on effective. Stop thinking about what’s next and start fully utilizing what’s now. Stop telling people they are behind and start helping them to get up to speed.

Just stop. Make the morning last. Maybe “feeling groovy” is as good as Simon and Garfunkel made it sound.

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