Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

The 'Blue Dress' And The Incredible Scalability Of Content

Posted by Tom Foremski - March 4, 2015

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The recent vast viral distribution of "The Dress" story through Buzzfeed, and many other popular news sites, created a media tsunami.

It's an example of Foremski's First Law of New Media at work!

Silicon Valley investors love the scalability of a software-based startup. If business takes-off you add more servers and run more software.

There's far less need to add people, which is good because a people-dependent business doesn't scale through technology, e.g., public relations.

The traditional media industry is a people-based business and it usually requires additional people to produce additional media. It's not scalable in the same way as a software-based business, by adding more machines.

However, there is a very important distinction about a media business that is usually missed:  Content is near infinitely scalable on the Internet. The Internet was built to scale content in seconds.

Other people's servers will gladly carry your content to wherever the Internet ends -- for free!

With one story you can potentially imprint the entire Internet! Try matching that performance with a servers and software business, for example, offering a web service. 

Back in 2006 I cheekily dubbed this effect: Foremski's First Law of New Media -- Content is infinitely scalable. 

I'll tell you the Second Law in a future post! 

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The Holmes Report names Tom Foremski one of the top 25 Innovators of 2013.