In the early 1990’s, traffic in Los Angeles was so horrendous, it could take hours to travel a dozen miles. Commuting was a nightmare and the last thing anyone wanted to do was sit in more traffic. As a single professional, every time I met a prospective lady friend, I had that elemental question in the back of my mind – and so did she: are we Geographically Compatible (GC)?
The sweet spot:
I recall many a magical conversation ending with that mutual inevitable shrug of the shoulders; a secret code for “have a nice life”. In Los Angeles, GC peaked in the sweet spot of 1-6 miles. After that, GC diminished roughly proportional to the square of distance with 20 miles as an absolute maximum. Any more was no closer or farther than, say, Nashville.
The cost of ownership:
Today, not only must we contend with traffic and the cost of owning a car, we must attend to a warming planet were every gallon of gas burned spews 19 lbs of CO2 to the atmosphere. In addition, we have a deepening deficit of the most valuable asset in our lives and the lives of those around us; time, bandwidth, productivity, sleep, money, innovation; it’s all the same convertible currency. All are wasted equally behind the wheel of an automobile.
With this in mind, I did a little experiment. I went to Linkedin and conducted a search for everyone within 6 miles of me. All that they offered was a 10 mile range and with keyword search too. The results were very interesting; not ideal but not too shabby. I tried the same with Facebook, and the best I could do was search by zip code. It was very awkward and the profile search feature only allowed me to query my existing contacts. I am guessing that there is some sort of security issue that restricts this type of searching. Too many nuts, flakes and stalks in that granola, I suppose.
Not unlike the LA dating scene, the future of innovation economics, global sustainability, quality of life, social support structure, family values, and money management will rely increasingly on GC; and the constraints will not end soon. Social Media must understand the monetization potential of GC and develop robust applications to support it.
If that is not enough convincing, try this:
‘The Jane Jacobs externality’ named after a transformational sociologist of the same name, suggests that concentrations of educated and skilled people attract companies and investment to a geographical area. The presence of such investment attracts more educated and skilled people to that area; also referred to as “intellectual capital”.
Harvard Professor and Author, Dr. Robert Putnam concluded that people acting in groups can produce far more economic growth faster and better than corporations and government combined. This is called “Social Capital”.
Carnegie Melon Professor and Author, Dr. Richard Florida, suggests that artists and engineers think more similarly 24/7/365, than managers and production workers. This is called “Creative Capital”.
Factors of production:
All three; intellectual capital, social capital, and creative capital are wholly and utterly dependent on GC. These are the factors of production of an Innovation Economy.
Evidence of these effects can be demonstrated by the civil rights movement, woman suffrage, neighborhood watch, Silicon Valley, Seattle, Greenwich Village, Austin Texas, Boston, Hollywood, Chicago, NYC, and many more locations where ‘wealth’ is located. What came first, the money or the people?
So, what part of monetization is Social Media having difficult with? The sweet spot is 1-6 miles, so get the hint and get it fast. Meanwhile, billions upon billions of magical conversations end with that inevitable shrug of the mouse; a secret code for “have a nice life”. I say, get a life.