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Friday, July 15, 2005

Net Success : Tomayko's Zero Sum Law

James Governor writes on Tomayko's law of net success - "To provide value on the internet, you must piss someone off". James adds, We thrive on conflict.And if you aren't then you just aren't making your customers or community happy enough. Focus on making users happy and the competition may have to do so as well. Chances are, they hate that.. Ryan's rule not only applies to the Interweb though. His formulation echoes, William Randolph Hearst characterisation of news :"News is something somebody doesn't want printed; all else is advertising". With this approach,the competion goes on the offensive and will tend to mobilise those than believe in what you're doing already and this would help create passionate users. It may also be that Ryan's law only really applies to the underdog. When the overdog pisses people off that is usually not a sign of value, so much as complacency.

Now here comes the Tomayko laws

- The internet is here to do the exact same thing we did before the internet was here but cheaper, broader, and with less fuss.
- Providing real value would usually require being extremely disruptive, which would require pissing a lot of people off
Ryan adds, to provide value on the internet, you must piss someone off and provides these examples:
• Napster / RIAA
• Wikipedia / Britannica
• RSS / Journalism
• Skype / The Entire Phone Industry (holy shit!)
• Free and Open Source Software / Microsoft (the whole industry is being flipped on its head in case no one noticed)
• BitTorrent / Television (yes, bittorrent will replace your television stations whether you like it or not).
• Google / Yahoo
• Corey Doctorow / Disney
• And the list goes on...
Notable exceptions from this list are AOL, WS-*, Semantic Web, Java Applets, RealAudio streaming, Microsoft Passport, top posting, and DRM. Each of these technologies piss everyone off; this somehow lessens the value dramatically. So the trick is to find a group that's roughly the size of, let's say, an industry and piss them off as much as possible. The disruptive nature of internet is what Tomayko is tryong to highlight and coupled with new business models and creating new space makes the internet become one of the most dominant forces in the world.

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