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Internet Marketing’s Accelerating Returns

What are the moments like immediately before Ray Kurzweil’s singularity? Kurzweil proposes a technological singularity, a greater-than-human intelligence created through technological means. This singularity isn’t a black hole or something you fall into never to be heard from again. This momentous human race pivot happens a little bit at a time until its creeping ubiquity will be inevitable and taken for granted.

The moments BEFORE a tipping point, usually only obvious on reflection, have telltale signs. Watching IBM’s Watson destroy Jeopardy contests that were sufficiently intimidating they beat all comers felt like something LARGE and IN CHARGE just happened. Mobile’s geotargeting and geomarketing creating “in the moment” relevance twitches the same nerve. If our contemporary version of Descartes, “I think, therefor I am” is I shop therefor I am then geomarketing is I’m thinking about you NOW so please recommend something special feels spooky close to Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Do you need to read retinas if customers lives live in a cloud database capable of tapping HTML5 to know a customer is standing in the cereal aisle where they usually buy Corn Flakes?

As web developers, mobile application developers, Internet marketers, content marketers, email marketers and social network marketers Atlantic BT knows one true thing. Everything is different all the time:

An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense “intuitive linear” view. So we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate). The “returns,” such as chip speed and cost-effectiveness, also increase exponentially. There’s even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth.
Kurzweil Essays

“There is exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth,” needs to be on a t-shirt. Positive virtual sustainable cycles is an often overlooked Internet marketing necessity. The web, like all “scale free” networks according to Notre Dame Professor and network researcher Albert-laszlo Barabasi in his excellent book Linked, creates hubs.

Think of hubs as a snow ball rolling downhill. Hubs displace the web’s space and time bending gravity. Hubs tip the table in their direction. Growth networks increase steepness of the hill, the angle of the table, rolling more and more stuff (links, traffic, money) in their direction faster and faster. The better you are at Internet marketing the better you get at Internet marketing to infinity.

Internet marketing in a content network world is about tipping the table. Imagine the longest, heaviest table. Try to tip that table alone. Your strength is over matched. Imagine climbing Everest alone with no map, guide or prior knowledge of the deadliest mountain on earth. Climbing Everest in such a foolhardy way is a negative virtual cycle the sure and sad outcome of all negative virtual cycles. Now enlist a hundred, a thousand or ten thousand strong friends or some of the most talented Sherpas. Together you lift the table climb Everest and create a positive virtual cycle.

What are the moments immediately before Kurzweil’s singularity? Watson beats the best Jeopardy players, a handful of creative geniuses  tip the web’s table so hundreds of millions join their table tipping parties and Adam Smith’s invisible hand reaches through your phone sharing a Corn Flakes coupon as you enter the cereal aisle.

Internet Marketing's Singularity via Ray Kurzaeil

Is an Internet marketing singularity near? What tipping points do you see? Are we already there? Has your Internet marketing ever benefited from a positive virtual cycle? Please share answers to these or any other questions in comments.


Martin Smith
Director of Marketing
Atlantic BT

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