The New York Times recently reported that physicist Erik Verlinde is causing a stir in the scientific community with his claim that gravity, seemingly the most obvious and ever-present physical force in our daily lives, is an illusion, “a consequence of the venerable laws of thermodynamics.”
Sure, it’s controversial now, but what happens when he proves it (to the extent that any theoretical physics can be proven)? What happens when one of the most fundamental concepts of our world view is stood upside down on its head?
And yet, this happens every day on the internet. With the accelerating pace at which technology and science are moving forward, what you think you know isn’t even reliable. Data from 6 months ago is irrelevant, except maybe to look good on a graph presented to investors. Planning beyond a few months (OK, maybe a year) is virtually meaningless, when you consider that the odds are good that a major competitor or even a game-changing disruptive technology may come into play within that time.
- Amazon introduced the Kindle holiday season 2007. As of holiday season 2009, Kindle e-books outsold hard cover books on Amazon.
- YouTube is now the #2 search engine on the web. It didn’t exist 6 years ago. It was acquired by Google for $1.65 billion less than 2 years after its launch.
- Facebook now tops Google in weekly traffic. It added over 200 million users in the past year. If it were a country, it would be 3rd largest in the world. It’s been open to the general public less than 4 years.
Learning how to run a successful internet business isn’t something you’re ever done with, and you can’t run a successful business based on plans and data that’s several months old. Internet businesses now run in real-time. Put the tracking and analytics tools in place to give you a current view of your business, and put the monitoring tools in place to stay on top of the trends and technologies that potentially impact your business. Plan for change. Expect the unexpected and you won’t ever be taken by surprise, even when you find out gravity is just a theory.
Image credit: the mad LOLscientist