One of the distinctive qualities of the Web 2.0 companies has been their reliance on community mostly and early adopters. Flickr is a good example. This two-way interaction between the start-up and the users provided the bedrock for a ground breaking service.
Google Maps, is another example, where community’s efforts have resulted in the original concept being remixed, enough times over, to completely overshadow the rivals. In this two-way collaboration for innovation, the corporations will have to deal with this radical democratization of capitalism.
Beware the big company that tries to venture into this, the small world owned by its individuals, without proper respect and perspective… The issue is that we, the people, believe we own this space — not just blogs, not just online, but anyplace where we put our effort and trust and money. And isn’t it modern corporate nirvana to be a “we company” instead of a “they company”? But you have to mean it.
At the end, the lesson is one of a paradox. As the power shifts increasingly towards community, the corporation loses its grip on the traditional means of control. Yet, by letting go of control, the corporation creates an environment where the community willingly creates its own switching costs. Such changing market behavior, which is structural and permanent for any industry being usurped by the Internet, must be met with a corresponding shift in corporate mindset. Otherwise, a “generation gap” will exist between the members of management themselves (old vs. new media), as well as the company and its market.