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Geeks Need Advice: Umair Haque on The Great Divide

In a provocative post that starts with asking why is Silicon Valley so frightened of MySpace — principally because they accomplished what they have outside the normal SV mindset, he suggests, and in particular, because the valley is not wise to real consumer dynamics — Umair Haque asks a bigger question:

[from Industry Note - The Great Divide: Why is the Valley Afraid of MySpace?]

[…] why are these issues so difficult for the geeks to grapple with?

My answer: because for geeks, marketing, branding, advertising, etc are eeeeevil.

The challenge, of course, is for geeks to understand that it’s exactly this value equation they should be disrupting, not ignoring: making marketing, branding, advertising not evil.

That they’re evil doesn’t mean you should ignore them - it means you should be destroying them and then redefining them: making them less about Madison Ave and BuzzAgent, and more about the deep 2.0 principles that in fact, are revolutionizing the deep economics of many industries - principles like peer production, gift economies, sharing, transparency, social capital, anticonsumption, and deep culture.

Let me be a bit more blunt than I’d like to be: geeks (you too, VCs), this is your Next Big Thing - stop blowing it already.

Yes, exactly: Marketing 2.0, marketing rejiggered, taken out of the hands of the professional marketers, and reintegrated directly into the point and purpose of the things being built and sold.

This casts another light on the Advisory Capital meme: part of the pushback comes from the reframing the roles of various sorts of advisors who get various sorts of returns. Rethinking the deep structure of advice — both to those building products and to those using them — will run directly into the established marketing and venture worlds. In a more participatory culture, advisory capital will have greater intrinsic value.

And I hope that Umair expounds on that list in the weeks and months to come.

[Update: I started this post a few days ago, and hadn’t noticed until the minute after I hid the publish button that Umair has a post specifically on Advisory Capital where he states that he is one. He suggests that ACs are coming into being because of a VC competence gap. He then elaborates in a second post suggesting the world of VC need a radical rethink.

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