We are making the transition from pushing information to pulling it, and that will change everything. Originally, the TV networks sent out signals for shows according to a schedule that benefitted their advertisers. Then, VCRs let consumers watch when they wanted and skip the ads. Now on-demand services let consumers watch a handful of TV shows whenever they like. The future is online, where you can find and watch any video ever recorded any time you like on any device.

  • This will happen in all industries. People will pull information to them whenever, wherever, however they like. People will use online data lockers to store and guard their information, and that will replace today’s computers. It will power everything. We’ll store all our preferences there, so rather than managing music we’ll manage our preferences. This will allow us to (finally) use software agents to look for things on our behalf.
  • Many processes will invert, in favor of the customer. No longer will we “push” things through the supply chain. Instead, customers will “pull” items through. Consumers will pull services on demand. Marketing will change from outbound messaging to responding to queries. We won’t search for things; we’ll say what we are looking for and let things find us instead. Software will cost 10% of what it costs today and will be much cheaper to maintain. Everyone will be both a producer and consumer of information that becomes part of the ecosystem.
  • Account portability will be a leading indicator. When people can port their accounts from one vendor to another, the power in the relationship will flip. An early project is called Vendor Relationship Management, which will get the whole process rolling, in the same way that the video recorder did for television. Imagine if you could port your entire checking account or brokerage account to another bank and have the new bank understand everything – that’s the semantic web. It promises to cut the cost of health care by 25%, and that’s just the beginning.
  • The result is the performance economy, where companies can’t afford to be on the other side of the table from customers. In the performance economy, you gain only when your customers do. Many industries will be flattened. It’s just getting started, but this model will come to dominate in the 21st century.