Cloud computing meets capitalism: We all become a business of one

Cloud computing meets capitalism: We all become a business of one

Summary: Folks spend a lot of time talking about cloud computing. It's a move back to the mainframe.


Folks spend a lot of time talking about cloud computing. It's a move back to the mainframe. Cloud computing democratizes IT infrastructure. The cloud will be the reason Amazon and Google will be the dominant players on the Internet. You have heard a lot of it before. But the real impact of cloud computing may be societal-- everyone becomes a business.

In a recent research note, Bernstein analyst Jeffrey Lindsay laid out a few deep thoughts on the intersection of cloud computing and capitalism. If you buy his argument--that anyone with just basic knowledge of the Internet will be able to start a business--there is a big societal hook impact involved with cloud computing.

Today, cloud computing is seen as something that enables startups--typically the venture capital businesses of more than one person. But we're headed to the point where every one of us has a side venture enabled by the infrastructure of Google and Amazon. Lindsay's theory is that everyone is good at something and that something could be turned into a business.

Lindsay writes:

A lot of new venture flowers are about to bloom and Google and Amazon are liberally applying the watering can. No government initiative or five-year strategic plan could have hoped to have achieved anything so profound - Google and Amazon are literally pushing the frontiers of global capitalism right down to the teenager's bedroom. Forget cutting lawns or waiting tables to earn some money, the next generation of college kids are more likely to pay for tuition by showing the world how to play the riff in Weezer's Sweater song by Rivers Cuomo - see our other Chart of the Week. This, incidentally, is an example of a conventional strategy used by where the user is shown a clip but can choose to click a link to a standalone site which has its own independent advertising, in this case with Reeves amplification products. Discover Guitar Online could easily have elected to have Google (and now DoubleClick) serve relevant ads next to their YouTube tutorials, most likely from Fender, Gibson and Ernie Ball Super Slinky strings and the like, but would have had to split the revenues with Google.

Now if you connect what Lindsay is saying along with a rough job market for teenagers--one of the reasons the U.S. unemployment rate spiked to 5.5 percent in May from 5 percent in April--you could conclude that parents should endorse lots of time on YouTube and perhaps a little entrepreneurship 101.

Another example of these micro businesses is Lauren Luke, who lives in Tyneside, U.K. She does YouTube videos of how to apply makeup. She puts on makeup, films it and gets an ad split from Google. What's the big deal? Lindsay explains:

Now imagine for a minute how Lauren might have started up a business without YouTube. Remember she lives in South Shields. Shields and the region's ship-building industry is long gone -think inner-city Detroit. Lauren might possibly have gone to college and worked in a beauty parlor. But what if she wanted to start up her own business? Would a bank have risked the money? Would M.A.C. have given her an advertising contract? Possibly her best shot at independence before YouTube would have been selling Avon products door to door. YouTube, however, has opened up a way to turn Lauren's hobby, and something about which she is clearly passionate, into a global business. Perhaps the most interesting part of this story is that Lauren didn't even know it was happening. The BBC recently produced a short documentary about her.

It's deep stuff and perhaps a bit too touchy feely, but it's worth a few minutes of pondering. Sure there's ROI in the cloud, but perhaps the acronym we should ponder more is ROS (return on society).

Topics: Cloud, Amazon, Google, Social Enterprise

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  • Creating bubbles in the Clouds

    The new business paradigm.

    Never mind a product. Sell your ideas. You have only a few hundred million competitors, all of which probably have the same qualifications and tools that you do.

    With the unlimited space "in the Cloud", soon, everybody will be rich, so no one will need work anymore. Just imagine! Perpetual dancing, partying, and celebrating, in the Cloud.
    Ole Man
  • Cloud computing empowers free agents

    There have been a many changes in civilization from hunter gathers to small scale farming (individuals and small units) to industrialization and large scale farming (large groups and corporations). Now with the Internet we are reverting back to small scale/individuals are to unit of production this will have profound impact on the world. Cloud computing will be a powerful enabler for the coming free agent world where individuals may come together for a project and an individual may work on many projects without being an employee of any particular entity.

    This will occur with changing generations in industrial society especially as the young understand they don't have to be controlled by a corporate bureaucracy that doesn't reward their labor or provide any security. Some large corporation will not survive the shift because they don't value or nurture their most valuable asset the individual.
  • RE: Cloud computing meets capitalism: We all become a business of one

    First, equating solo or micro business entrepreneurship with "capitalism" misses capitalism by a wide mark, whether it is online or a lemonade stand on the side of the road.

    Second, I doubt very much any of the examples cited are making even pocket change from internet advertising, much less a living.

    Finally, if there is a "return on society," it is precisely to show us concretely that micro business ain't "capitalism," despite Google and Amazon.

    Thank God.
  • RE: Cloud computing meets capitalism: We all become a business of one

    Larry, I think this is exactly correct. But to build a "Micro-SaaS" business that generates real money, people will need help. Hence MySaaSBiz -
  • RE: Cloud computing meets capitalism: We all become a business of one

    I do not belive in out sourcing. I feel it is wrong. Someone could be a king and halt everything. We would be up a creek with out a paddle so to speak. The web should be free for everyone to use. You are just making it harder for the person who likes to surf the net. I was hoping that the inter was going to be free. Not everyone wants to start a business.
    I want to be an attoney, I hope to accomplish it on the internet. I just hope the internet can be free, so I can pay the firm that is going to help me learn how to be an attoney.
    I want to be able to pay the person who is going to teach me. If you have to join the cloud to learn something it is not worth it for me.