Worth your attention

This is just a pointer to Michael Goldhaber's new blog.

Michael Goldhaber is the real thinker behind the attention economy concept.  Ironically, he hasn't really gotten the attention he deserves. He wrote an issue of Release 1.0 (my newsletter) way back in the early 90s, and he gave a stunning but mostly ignored talk at O'Reilly's Web 2.0 conference last year.  (There was just too much going on, and you have to think to get what Goldhaber is saying.)

In  essence, he's saying no, the attention economy is not just about how to get attention for things so that people will buy them.  Attention itself has value, and people will work hard to earn it... and will pass it out sparingly (if only because they have only so much time to pay attention to things).

I've always wanted to create a calculus of attention: One Henry Kissinger can get attention from 20 statesmen or from an audience of 2000 regular people. One of those statesmen can get 100 people each...  

But attention also depends on context:  Why do (would-be) important people  travel with a retinue? It's not just to handle the money; it's also to make sure there's someone around to pay them attention. Take a high-level diplomat and put him in the wrong country, or take a high-powered financier and put him in a hamburger joint in some little town, and he'll be ignored...

But  there's a lot more, and it's pretty radical.  It's not trading money for attention, he asserts. It's a really new economy, just as different as our industrial economy was from the feudal economy. (Personally, I think they are cumulative.)  

But pay attention! You can read Michael himself here.