From dollar to data: Sangeet Choudary on a changing world
MANILA, Philippines – Sangeet Choudary has always been fascinated by scalable business models for as long as he remembers. However, during his first foray into the media industry in 2006, he became disillusioned with the standard, top-down ways of scaling businesses.
"I realized that most scale was achieved in the traditional world through lobbying, monopolistic favor, and other forms of control," Choudary says. "If I were to look at business purely from that lens, it would be a really dark and dreary picture, one where relationships and favors dictated power."
Choudary began his career at the crossroads of a changing world. The Internet was fast shaping human behavior, and he found himself becoming interested in how the world wide web would empower consumers.
He would eventually dedicate his work to harnessing the true power of digital.
Blurring the lines
Throughout his years of studying the Internet, Choudary discovered that the true power of digital lies in its ability to be a platform that could power interactions between connected users and things.
"A lot of us are still seeing digital only as a channel," Choudary says. "We get excited about social media and viral marketing but we still view digital as only a channel, though a very effective one."
Choudary is now an accomplished expert in building business platform models. He is the founder of Platform Thinking Labs, where he advises Fortune 500 companies and business startups alike on harnessing this power.
With the Internet now seamlessly integrated in everyday life, Choudary says the online-offline or physical-digital distinction no longer stands. "A truck connected to the Internet is more 'digital' than a computer that is not," he says. "This is not a fad. It is a fundamental shift in which the way the world works."
With consumer-driven startups such as Uber (car rental) and Airbnb (lodging) gaining traction, Choudary suggests that more established businesses rethink their existing models.
"Build a business that enables users to act as value producers," he says. "Scaling strategies that leverage an external ecosystem of value producers scale faster than those that leverage internal employees and resources."
Choudary adds that capturing data is key to growing a business in the information age not only by helping serve customers better, but also by finding new ways to monetize. "Data is the new dollar. The more data you capture about your users, the more personalized your brand and service can be," he says.
From a singular authority, power has shifted to the collective customer experience. To thrive in a digital world, businesses effecting change from top to bottom will fast become obsolete, with the future favoring the conduit rather than the controller.
"We are not merely in the business of building products and services anymore," Choudary says. "We are in the business of enabling interactions."
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