Don't get Betamaxed get Meta

Matt Fenn ,


Meta information is information used to describe information. Used for indexing, web pages for example. It provides background and context to the main event.

And just in case you didn't know or are in too much of a hurry to Google it, Betamax was a format that in the 1970's and 1980's was the technically superior alternative to VHS video.

Technical superiority vs Accessibility

But as the history books, or a sort through the boxes in your parents attic will tell you. VHS won the battle, not because it was a superior product. But because it was more accessible. And there's the rub.

There was a time not so long ago when what you did, what you produced was the most important thing. Like, it's a Rolls Royce, what more do you need to know?

Now it's the information you produce that sits around what you do that makes the difference.

Technical superiority + Accessibility

Accessibility, in a two horse video tape race came down to price.

Accessibility in our crowded marketplaces where differentiation counts, is the ability to take the conversation to your customer.

For example. If you took two competing companies and one focused purely on their product. Putting all of their effort into producing their best widget.

And a competing company building a similar widget invested time talking about their widget, writing widgety blog articles, and chatting to widget community members; building background and context, connecting socially, generating word of mouth...

I know who would have the most successful widget.

It's sort of counter intuitive. You'd think that the 'technically' best product should win.

Well it doesn't necessarily. You need to have a great product. Yes. But if you don't want to get betamaxed you need to be accessible, think about, record, write and publish the meta information for whatever you do.

Giving your customers background and context fits your product into their lives, shows how it solves their problems.

Meta information is information used to describe information. Used for indexing, web pages for example. It provides background and context to the main event.

And just in case you didn't know or are in too much of a hurry to Google it, Betamax was a format that in the 1970's and 1980's was the technically superior alternative to VHS video.

Technical superiority vs Accessibility

But as the history books, or a sort through the boxes in your parents attic will tell you. VHS won the battle, not because it was a superior product. But because it was more accessible. And there's the rub.

There was a time not so long ago when what you did, what you produced was the most important thing. Like, it's a Rolls Royce, what more do you need to know?

Now it's the information you produce that sits around what you do that makes the difference.

Technical superiority + Accessibility

Accessibility, in a two horse video tape race came down to price.

Accessibility in our crowded marketplaces where differentiation counts, is the ability to take the conversation to your customer.

For example. If you took two competing companies and one focused purely on their product. Putting all of their effort into producing their best widget.

And a competing company building a similar widget invested time talking about their widget, writing widgety blog articles, and chatting to widget community members; building background and context, connecting socially, generating word of mouth...

I know who would have the most successful widget.

It's sort of counter intuitive. You'd think that the 'technically' best product should win.

Well it doesn't necessarily. You need to have a great product. Yes. But if you don't want to get betamaxed you need to be accessible, think about, record, write and publish the meta information for whatever you do.

Giving your customers background and context fits your product into their lives, shows how it solves their problems.

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