The first two decades of this century are characterized by digital entrepreneurs upending traditional business models in search of new ways of creating revenue and serving customers.
This has been made possible by the emergence of several new waves of technology – from desktop computers to the internet, mobile devices, and the cloud. Going forward, these waves of disruption seem certain to continue as new breakthroughs such as artificial intelligence (AI) continue to redefine the way we shop, work, play, and live our lives.
Often these business models are used in combination – for example, a software provider might make a “freemium” version available, supported by advertising revenue, while also offering a premium, ad-free service to those that are willing to pay. Or e-tailers like Amazon may make revenue from e-commerce while also acting as a marketplace where other sellers can offer their goods in exchange for a cut of the profits.
Anyone wanting to do business today – or understand how money is going to be made tomorrow – needs to understand the fundamental models underpinning the digital economy. So here’s my overview of some of the most successful and important and an explanation of how technology has made each of them possible.