Why It’s Different This Time

The above headline used to be the rallying call for everything once taken for granted emanating from Silicon Valley and in-particular: everything social. Stock valuations were based more on user metrics than anything truly business related like net profits and more.

An example of such revolved around the sycophantic cheerleading chorus of next-in-rotation fund managers or Silicon Valley aficionado class to explain to all the plebes that a 25% increase in any use metric (daily, monthly,et cetera, usually expressed in millions) trumped a 50% net loss in cash burn, again, usually expressed in $10’s if not $100’s of millions.

The reasoning for the above abomination of business theory always rested on one last defense when the indefeasible could no longer be defended. e.g., “It’s different this time!” This was usually followed with the only other statement more vacuous than the first. e.g., “You just don’t get tech.” Right, of course we don’t.

As I’ve stated ad nauseam this has been Silicon Valley’s version of the oldest teenager excuse known to man. e.g., “Because…just because!” All I’ll add is many times it was hard to separate which was which, but I digress.

Now the reason why I bring the above in for context is that something has changed in the fabric of both business, as well as how business may or, may not, go forward in this new frontier of the web. And yes I mean just that: new. Why? Because as I’m going to lay out below – it is: different this time.

For those not fully aware of the current kerfuffle between many of the social media platforms (e.g. Facebook™ (FB), YouTube™(YT), et al.) and with Alex Jones of InfoWars™(IW) is really inconsequential. Same goes with how one feels politically or, whether one loves or despises any involved, for whatever the reasoning. This is about business, and what it may mean to yours going forward. So if you want to contemplate future considerations (or want to understand) this all from a business perspective. All I’ll say to that is: this is a very big deal, indeed. Here’s why:

When this tension between the platforms and IW first came to light back in February I made it a point to express some details that very few in business today are fully understanding. Here’s an excerpt from that article on Feb. 25th “Why InfoWars Vs Youtube Matters.” ” To wit:

The reason why I’m going to call your attention to this growing kerfuffle between InfoWars™ (the web-based opinion/news channel) and YouTube™ is for this reason:

It may be that seminal moment that proves everything one thought they needed to do via the internet and that platforms that provided the scale needed – is no longer valid – needed – as well as important.

The beauty here, from my perspective, is that it will all come down to what should matter: Pure capitalistic principles, constitutional protections,  and an adherence to what should be a company’s first rule for being: Serve a customer that will pay for your product or services.

Knowing who, or whom that customer is, is the #1 job of every company. It is my argument that “The Valley” has never learned that properly. And it is that, dear reader, which may be the fulcrum or catalyst that propels the change which changes everything in Silicon Valley, exposing its worst nightmare scenario.

That scenario? They’re no longer needed or wanted. Hint: AOL™, Yahoo™, i.e. any and all prior “Legacy media platforms.”

Since that article the tension and resolve of all parties (i.e., social platforms) has somehow taken the form of colluded and approved censorship.Whether it is or not is irrelevant, for these are private companies and they have a legal right to host, or not, whomever they decide. The legal ramifications come about when the consistency measures are challenged.

A far too complicated subject for this article, but for simplicity sake just ponder: These platforms will have to prove (and I’ll add, probably soon) why they allowed others that may/can be legally proven in a court of law to remain and were allowed full access to their monetization tools while Mr. Jones was denied, causing monetary damages to himself, his business, or both.

Important criteria and high bars to jump for sure. But (and it’s a very big but) you can bet dollars-to-doughnuts these arguments in a court will be forth coming. Of that I am more than certain.

Yet, in the meantime, this latest dustup has suddenly peeled back the curtain of a once unassailable business consideration. i.e., To be in business you have to be on these platforms or you won’t have any business.

This is where “It’s different this time” comes back swinging like a rocket powered pendulum laying to waste anything caught in its return swing. And nothing falls faster and harder, than a once considered sacrosanct business “must do” when it’s shown one no longer needs to. Hint: Remember when, not all that long ago, when suddenly no one believed being in the “Yellow Pages®” was a necessity?

Here’s another excerpt from my earlier article that shows just what I mean. Again, to wit:

But, (and it’s a very big but) that has all changed very recently. And it is the purveyors of these once all-mighty platforms that seem to have not gotten “the memo.”
You can (which I myself am already in the process of doing) host current, as well as archived: audio, video, text, and more. Hire platforms with servers that can handle nominal traffic that may suddenly spike to millions of viewers and remain elevated for long periods of time simultaneously, along with subscription services, user analytics, payment portals, and much, much more. And here’s the important point…

Completely under ones own control and purview, not only affordably, but the pricing is falling so fast it’s becoming almost crazy to do it any other way.
And that works to IW’s advantage – not YT’s. And that’s a very, very, very (did I say very?) big point to focus on, as well as remember going forward.

Will, or can IW be hurt financially by this current policy? Sure, but let’s think here for a moment, from a pure business perspective, shall we?

IW gets hurt up front, but they still create the product that millions want to see. If it’s not on YT and the customers still want the product? They’ll just go directly to IW’s own proprietary outlet, if that’s what gets done.

It will, of course, have some impact on IW’s bottom line, initially. But that’s not a bad thing if makes that “bottom line” all theirs, for all their efforts. i.e., Short-term losses for long-term gains via cutting out the middle-man. (e.g. YT.)

YT, on the other hand, gets what for its new policy stance?

Millions, upon millions, upon millions of fewer eyeballs to harvest and sell their data to the highest bidders. Which, basically, is its main, if not only true product.

And who is the buyer of that product narrative? Hint: Wall Street.

So let’s add a few things up using 1+1=2 math for business purposes, under the guise of an analogy, shall we?

IW loses traffic initially via YT – yet once its millions of viewers/customers are no longer available to view on YT, they just change their “bookmark” from YT to IW and are able to consume their product however IW sees fit, along with the ability for IW to sell further add-ons of what ever may be their choice going forward. No YT needed.

YT gets? Zip – Zero – Nada. Along with having to explain to Wall Street (conjecture of course) why traffic or user numbers are stagnant, or worse, falling.

And here is the “800-LB Gorilla” in all of this…

How many follow IW’s lead?

And what is the resulting lead to follow one may ask? Good question, and here it is:

Via the Daily Mail™. To wit:

“…5.6million people have subscribed to the Infowars newsletter and free podcast in the past 48 hours.”

All that traffic, all those eyeballs, all those salable (and coveted) business metrics are now his and his alone. That’s why: it’s different this time.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr