20 thoughts on Attention

I've been carrying a number of thoughts relating to Attention and rather trying to create a huge essay, I've decided just to offload these as a partially random list. Would be great to get your feedback, discussion, agreement and brutal rebutal.

20 thoughts on Attention

  1. Clickstream analysis / tools / software / monetization / business models have been around for over a decade. There's nothing new in clicktreams.
  2. Clickstreams rely on cookies. People know about clickstreams. People care about their privacy. Cookie destruction is on the rise.
  3. Attention data is much more than just clickstreams.
  4. From the customer's perspective, the future value of Attention data does not lie in its monetization potential.  At best this will turn out to be few dollars per year per user.
  5. Monetization is not why users will record and share their Attention data.
  6. Services that return value in exchange for customer data do better than those that don't. CRM 101.
  7. People care about the portability and security of their data.
  8. Software and services that allow customers to take their data with them will do better than those that don't.
  9. Letting customers share and take their data with them will be a competitive feature of successful online services.
  10. New entrants into markets are more likely to allow customers to take their data with them than the existing market leaders.
  11. Market leaders want to lock-in their customers by locking in their data.
  12. Customers won't want their data locked-in.
  13. Markets leaders will have to follow the trend of letting their customers take their data with them in order to grow their customer base.
  14. Multiple online identities is the norm, not the exception. Attention data reading will need to account for multiple identities and contexts.
  15. Datasets, organized information and blobs of data that were not previously considered Attention data will turn out to be so. Information that has little apparent value today will have enormous value in the future.
  16. Simple standards that encourage personal information bundling, grouping and sharing will become the Attention data standards.
  17. There will be multiple, competing and overlapping Attention data formats. Some Attention data formats will be more popular than others.  Simple, open and extendable formats will dominate the Attention data formats landscape.
  18. Services that align with Attention data formats will do better than those that don't.  Customers won't care which formats succeed.
  19. Social software and services will continue to pioneer the enabling of the creation and sharing of Attention data
  20. Examples of Attention data: Tagclouds, wishlists, reading lists and book catalogs, blogrolls, RSS / OPML lists, contacts, social networks and buddy lists, photo collections and photostream, playlists and music collections, bookmarks, blogs, game lists, community memberships, calendar entries, video collections and lists, favourite places and social guides, subscriptions lists.


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Comments (26)
  1. Brady Joslin says:

    Interesting. Thank goodness somebody is willing to take the time to describe attention in a practical, understandable manner.

  2. Pete says:

    Nice list. I totally agree.

  3. Vincent says:

    Hi Alex, great list! But I’m also very interested in the way we should store attention data and what should be stored. URL’s? Ratings? Time spend? etc.

  4. MSDNArchive says:

    Manual trackback to Oliver Thylmann’s thoughts:


  5. nathan says:

    I think #14 is the most interesting point on your list. This aspect, I think, is what poses the biggest obstacle for business models at the same time as it offers the greatest freedom for users.

    Is a "huge essay" in the works?

  6. MSDNArchive says:

    thanks Nathan – no huge essay, maybe a podcast or two though…

  7. Matt Baldwin says:

    Great post Alex. I would also consider user state on a system you’re logged into as Attention as well, i.e. what docs you had open, what apps were open and where. It would be nice to see the OS incorporate Attention as well.


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