Ethan said it best when he posts that:
Getting back to my point: it’s likely that, relative to financial capital, connections to nodes on the relevant [human] business networks will become comparatively much more valuable. Startups can create a lot of value with little financial capital, but they need to quickly and easily access social capital at partners, suppliers, complementors, competitors, and of course customers to win.
Hence, in this hyper connected new economy, making solid connections is going to be a strong competitive advantage. So, there is a need for better tools or software to help people, especially individual entrepreneurs or creatives, to create more social capital. This is where I think Zemanta can be very useful. For example, they know whose articles I have posted here. How then do they make it easy for to connect to these people. How can they alert the writer of the articles that their articles have been used? This simple form of notification is a start to building up relationships, and why I find service such as Disqus very useful.
I am beginning to see such servics emergencing. Mr Tweet is one cool example started by a friend. I think there are opportunities for many other such services:
- Who is going to make it easier for me to connect to the RIGHT people? The current recommendation systems of Facebook, LinkedIn et al tells me to add people whom I have ALREADY known. I need systems to tell me who I SHOULD know. That does not mean I should immediately add that person to my contacts. It means I should start to check out his blog, his twitter, his tumblr, the event he is going to et al. Who is going to make it easier for me to do that?
- Who is going to make it easier to enhance existing relationships? Once I am aware of a useful contact, how do I enhance my relationships with them. A simple scenario: why can't I have a dashboard that tracks all the person's writing and allows me to respond to that directly. Disqus currently aggregates what I have commented and what others have comments on my blog. I need something to tell what conversations I SHOULD have participated in to increase my social capital. I need a combination of a feeds reader + comment system.
- Who is going to make it easier for me to make a physical connection? I think dopplr is a right direction but it has limited users. Is there something that taps the status updates from services like Facebook and alerts me when I have the opportunity to physically meet someone I should know?
I think these are just the beginnings of what can be done. Applying them to verticals such as independent musicians, book authors et al is going to be another rich area for providing real value. Anybody doing this already?
Startup Idea #93: Contextual recommendation for self publishers