Do you remember the days when selling a product meant advertising, PR, cold calling and direct mail? At least you could tell the difference between advertising and truth then.
I was reading a post on Medium the other day on success. I read a lot of posts on success, even though I know that most of the posts I read on the internet about success are crap, I still get drawn to them, like a moth to a flame, thinking that maybe this next article that I read, maybe, just maybe, might give me that little tip or trick which will send me over the top into true success land. I’m sure that there are many people out there who are reading the exact same thing, and judging by the amount of love (likes, recommends, hearts, etc) and other comments of adoration, people seem to just lap up this stuff. Possibly in the same way, maybe this next article that I read is the one. It’s almost like looking for a mate – this is post the one? Or this one? Maybe this one? No, they all disappoint. So it’s on to the next.
So I read this post, and it was all about the “one reading habit ultra-successful people have”, thinking that it would help me to also be “ultra-successful” (not just normally successful, that would not be good enough). What is this “one habit”? Reading books. Yes, folks, it turns out that all of the ultra-successful people he lists all read a lot of books. I’m sure that he selected the list based on proving his point, since I’m sure that there are many ultra-successful people who don’t read books. But that’s not the point. He says that what makes then special is that they read a LOT. Every day. By my calculation, based on normal reading speed, a whopping 8 hours a day. Of course. If they are already ultra-successful, they can afford the time to read 8 hours a day. I’m sure if I was a gazillionaire, I would be able to read that much too. So I responded with “Yeah, but did Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Elon Musk have time to read BEFORE they were ultra successful? Doubt it.” At the bottom of the article, a link to the authors website. So I thought, aha, this is just more content marketing.
On to the next article. Same guy. This time he talks about needing friends to be successful. In fact, he states that you need to socialize for at least 6 hours a day in order to be successful. So, now you not only need to read books for 8 hours a day, you also need to socialize for 6 hours a day. So there go 14 hours of the day.
When do you work? When do you hustle? When do you rest? I guess you don’t. Once again, more content marketing.
Day by day, the entirety of the internet is being subsumed by this completely uninformative “content”, thinly veiled sales messages masquerading as real, valuable stuff. Every time a new place to post long form content launches and gathers traction, it starts off with great content, which eventually is subsumed under an avalanche of content marketing. This has happened everywhere I’ve experienced so far: most recently Medium. If it’s not this stuff, its click bait, clamoring for our attention. It’s like the NYSE, with people all climbing over each other, screaming and shouting “BUY MY STUFF” or “READ THIS AND YOUR LIFE WILL BE A MILLION TIMES BETTER (if you then buy my stuff)”.
I say enough. I think I read somewhere that 90% of the email whizzing around the internet is spam. Well, I’m starting to believe that 90% of everything I see on the internet is spam, no matter if its on social media, blogs, long form content hubs or whatever. Everything is not an informative end in itself, but leads you to a sale.
The engineer in me is appalled at how wasteful all of this is. There is so much clamoring and screaming for so little reward. Why can’t we perfectly match a buyer’s demand with a seller’s product yet? Don’t we already know more or less exactly when there is a demand, and what that demand is for? Why can’t we then make that match, and silence all of the other non-pertinent voices out there for the prospective buyer? We are losing the buyer up with so much crap content that one day they may eventually just flee, sending valuations tumbling.
Want to really make a huge dent in the universe? Come up with the internet demand engine: perfectly matching a buyer with the perfect seller at the right moment. Now that would be truly disruptive.