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Quick presentation made with Noah Brier at the Global Council on Social Media at the World Economic Forum in Dubai, November 2014.
It's a bit cryptic without the presenter's notes. The general story goes like this:
Social Media is in fact the human usable version of p2p networks. We've seen already those networks at work disrupting the music industry with Napster. Incumbents first ignored it, then fought it by suing people downloading songs of Madonna in their garage, then more subtly by introducing songs on the networks with blips and other flaws. Then eventually, we got what we wanted, all the songs available to us with Spotify.
Thanks to mobile phones, p2p networks are now connecting people and allow new disruptions. Uber and Airbnb are the Napster of the cabs and hotel industry. Protests in Hong Kong and Hungary are also enabled by people who have (literally) the power in their hands.
What are the fundamentals of p2p networks?
They don't have borders, they are now happening on mobile devices and they are platforms for exchange of information, they don't provide information per se, they empower their users to exchange some sort of information. As such, they scale very well without borders.
The question is how can BI (Before Internet) companies leverage those networks instead of wasting their energy fighting them.
There are probably a lot to learn from what happened between Napster and Spotify that could apply to many other industries and institutions.