Regular readers of this blog would know how much I care about the Three Is: doing the right thing about the Internet, Intellectual Property Rights and Identity. The weird thing about these issues is that they create conversation on both sides of the work-life fence. And, for some reason, they don’t attract the dogma and intolerance that characterise many political and religious conversations.
I dislike many of the terms used in these conversations: a perfect example is “content”, a word whose sound reminds me of fresh chalk squeaking on a glass-fronted blackboard. Now, one of the commonest phrases in which I hear that appalling word used is the following:
Content is king
And when I gently enquire of the speaker “Over what kingdom?” the usual answer I get is somewhere along these lines:
You don’t get it, do you? The content-owner rules, he owns the customer
The people who say that are right about one thing. I definitely do not get it.Â People who choose to call themselves content-owners and pipe-owners (another term I deeply dislike despite Senator Stevens’ attempts) start squabbling over “ownership” of the customer.Â Over the years, I’ve seen this manifest itself even within organisations, where power magically descends upon those who “own” the customer.
None of us owns the customer. If anything, the customer owns us. We seem to be taking a long time to understand this and to learn from it.