Net Neutrality – Been There, Done That

by Edward Henkler on October 21, 2014

A recent Smithsonian article about net neutrality reminds us that history repeats itself. It might also remind us of the cliché that there’s nothing new under the sun. I’d encourage you to read the entire article and will therefore keep this post short. I think the bottom line is that we can always learn from the past and the best teams will consider relevant examples. We should also shy away from absolute statements such as “The Internet will always be a Wild West – amateur and proudly uncommercial.” This type of statement limits our thinking and can also make us seem a little bit foolish. With few exceptions, I think we all realize the world isn’t flat. And, while some think the universe revolves around them, few think it revolves around the Earth.

Net neutrality - Air Waves (Smithsonian; Oct-2014)

A few teasers to hopefully pull you into the article include:

<In the early days of the mainstream Internet> “When the lawyers Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel spammed newsgroups with a text-only ad for their green-card services, the outcry was so loud their Internet provider canceled their connection.”

“If you turned on a radio back then <early 20th century>, you’d hear preachers reciting sermons, local sports fans listing scores, authors reading their poetry or stories and someone making an argument in favor of the Boy Scouts. Announcers rambled on about any subject that came to mind, and professional standards were shaky.”

<In the early 20th century> “Music quickly became a big draw—usually played live by locals. “You’d hear Joe and his accordion, then you’d hear a trio of high-school violinists, then somebody on the piano,” says John Schneider, a radio historian in San Francisco. “And this would go on for hours, as they scrambled to find different musical artists—some good, some not so good.” – YouTube, anyone?

I’ll close with how perfect this is for Blue Ocean strategies; re-visit the past to uncover opportunities that your competition hasn’t considered.

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