Let me coin a term (for my audience of, well, zero): CPow

I went to a marketing conference a few weeks back, and one of the themes was replacing Customer Satisfaction with Customer Loyalty. CSAT isn't enough - it's loyalty that matters, since losing a customer is fairly high-cost - you need to spend money to get a new customer, and you lost the investment you made in your previous customer. Plus your most loyal customers are your best advocates. And so on.

Anyway, on the bleeding edge of this are things that the F/OSS movement and the Web mashing/remix community take for granted - the ability to re-use free things in new ways.

Hence my term: CPow, short for Customer emPOWerment. Plus "Pow" sounds cool.

In the technology space, what you generally want to do is to avoid being a commodity. IBM let the PC turn into a commodity, whereas Microsoft kept the OS from going down that road, and so IBM has languished and Microsoft has made gazillions.

I think the successful business model for technology over the next few decades will be to take new and upcoming things and turn them into commodities faster than your competition can. Effectively, dominate the market quickly and then drive the price down until it's close to zero. In the past, companies tried to gain marketshare and lock in their customers. But in the new world of CPow, you don't keep your customers that way - you have to give them more and more power. What you should do is invest in actually gutting your own cashflow, but be looking ahead to the next step - i.e. once you have turned something into a commodity, what can you do with it? Then you monetize that, make a profit, then turn that into a commodity. Rinse and repeat.

This is probably common (and discredited) knowledge, but it seemed new to me. My take away - count on what you're doing now being a commodity in the near future. If you don't make it a commodity, your competition will. And agressively claw your way to the next level.

Anyway, spread the meme: CPow.