Monday, 10 March 2014

Link & Value: the P2P Dilemma

“My next start-up will be B2C, rather than B2B” he commented. Dreaming of direct access rather than hazardous channels to his future end users, this young entrepreneur was showing me the difficulties of dealing with his industrial customers,their uncertain needs but their very precise requirements and specs. We pondered for a while the merits of both approaches...until I proposed: “Whether you are in B2B or B2C, you cannot escape the fact that, in the end, you are in P2P: people facing people, dealing person to person”.
In other words, to create value, you need to create a link first.
No link. No value. The first merchants on the salt and silk roads travelled by and with this evidence. You need people with talent to create value and people to recognize it; customers may not be users, but you need someone to take the risk of the first step before someone, eventually, takes the risk of buying your offer.
All businesses are built around these human links, from R&D to shop floors and stores, even the ones perfecting and refining their process to make it "peopleproof" from end to end. Momentarily trapped in their labyrinthian processes, customers will eventually escape and the employees will absent themselves, literally or virtually.
"Peopleproof" businesses may be worth their stock of value-making processes; but they will loose their stock of links, the other name for "goodwill" i.e. people's goodwill to link.
In the end, companies are tools, go-betweens, linking people to people through a mix of organic and non-organic ways.
This mix is the battleground of the P2P dilemma: to deliver a reliable service or product, you must reduce all sources of uncertainty, whether they come from people or from process. But confusion starts when you apply the same recipes to both “P”.
Control & Trust. You need Control to reduce the uncertainty of a process. You need trust to reduce uncertainty coming from people. Mistaking one for the other will surely destroy the link and the value.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much Jacques for this beautiful post, both crystal clear and very profound.