Authors often lament that editing down a manuscript is a
torturous process of "killing off your darlings." Are there any
anecdotes or other interesting information that you particularly liked,
but that didn't make it into the book?
I wouldn't say I felt tortured but certain things I liked I simply
couldn't work into the book. One area I would have loved to explore was
virtual goods, especially through the experiences of game app maker
Zynga, which created Mafia Wars and Farmville, which between them have
more than 80 million users. Zynga is also making money, and loads of
it. Half of its revenue, I understand, comes from advertising, the
other half from selling virtual guns. Want to buy an assault weapon to
better your chances in Mafia War, it will cost you real greenbacks.
These apps are viral and stacked atop viral networks like Facebook,
MySpace, Tagged, etc. Because Zynga creates multiple apps that run over
multiple social networks, it's conceivable Zynga could amass more users
than Facebook. Think about that. A business sprouts on top of a viral
network only to become bigger than the network that spawned it. This
happened with YouTube, which overtook MySpace (YouTube took off on
MySpace and nothing MySpace tried to stamp it out worked.) PayPal was
stacked atop eBay, which tried to choke it off but failed. So eBay
bought PayPal and now within a few years it's likely that PayPal's
revenues will surpass those of the mothership.
That's the power of the viral loop. Never before in history has it
been possible to create this much wealth so quickly and starting so
Anything I didn't ask about that you'd like to add? Also, where can we buy the book?
There's so much more to talk about. That studies show that we as
humans have a biological need to social network, or that our digital
representations of ourselves are more real to more people than our
actual physical selves. There are viral coefficients that you shoot for
to make something go viral and the impact that digitization and
collective curation are having on Hollywood's entrenched power
structure. There are the fascinating stories of entrepreneurs who
started with simply a great idea and built digital empires, and a plea
to kill off the clickable ad banner, which has been destroying the
media business. Think about it: Newspapers, magazines, and online news
sites have predicated an entire industry online on something nobody
does: Click on ads. (Do you or anyone you know do this?) So there's an
intense battle to figure out the next ad unit, and, if successful, it
has the potential to save newspapers. Sounds impossible? It's not.
Conventional wisdom used to claim that there was no money in search
either--until Google came along and urned it into a multibillion-dollar
industry. We may be close to the same thing occurring in online media.
It's all covered in Viral Loop, which you can pick up at any major
bookstore or through Amazon. And to learn more there is, of course, a