Communications is currently being streamlined by the commodification and convergence of content. In my previous blog, I discussed how this effects internal communication among organizations.
In the third part to my internal blog series, I'd like to discuss what lessons I learned about external communications and how that relates to the overall VOPA message.
External communications and marketing is going the way of converging platforms, as Forbes wrote about recently. We are moving away from switching on our TV for entertainment, turning on the radio alarm clock to wake us up and hear the news in the morning, and picking up our phone to make calls or text. More and more, we are doing all these things on one device. This is changing where we reach our audiences and market segments.
The same convergence is happening in terms of services. As we are calling taxis with Uber and renting rooms with Airbnb, we are taking out the middle man, who was previously the local TV network provider, the taxi cab companies, and the hotel industry.
According to Forbes, these services can be conglomerated under on-demand services that leverage digital assets:
"To compete in this digital world and do well in the demand economy of scale, enterprises today need to leverage digital assets to create new interactions with consumers, partners and employees via their smartphones. These experiences should be pleasant, efficient, and frictionless; otherwise, customers will likely move to a competitor who can deliver the best digital experience."
What does content convergence effectively do for society and how does it relate to us at VOPA?
VOPA, which stands for the Value of People Anywhere, is an app that is easy-to-use. With modular features, VOPA seeks to create a people-powered on-demand economy that converges interactions and transactions onto one channel.
Just as I have learned many lessons about internal and external communications working as Project Manager with VOPA, the idea behind VOPA itself represents a lesson learned.
People are getting trampled on in the disruptive shuffle of digital convergence (see, for example, the death of the journalism industry and the recent elimination of more than 1,000 newsroom employees at Gannett).
In Mexico´s less regulated, developing economy, we are navigating the ambivalent waters of uncertain quality and lack of reliable vetting in everyday actions between people, vendors, and other services. To solve this problem, Jack Tanner, the founder of VOPA, decided that with VOPA, he wanted to do things differently.
Jack came up with the seed of the idea when he was still living in Colombia. He wanted to develop an app to connect people to computer repair services. After he moved to Mexico, the idea blossomed into developing a single-platform way to connect people that cuts across all the single-service niche apps out there to leverage digital assets in a way that includes, not excludes, people.
VOPA conceives of users as more than just "digital assets," but just that: people. And people are central to the app's concept and functionality. Thus, the network effect in VOPA is driven not by services as in other apps like Uber or Airbnb, but by the users themselves.
Jack then discussed further with yours truly ways to elaborate on VOPA´s concept of transparent interactions betweeen people on a single platform. Through UX experience testing and prototype testing, we wanted to continue to uncover new mechanisms and features to augment to help users bring value to their communities. In this way, the VOPA network seeks to create a self-propelled economy that is every bit as scalable as the single-platform on-demand apps out there.
In this process, together we are learning how to ensure that on both a technical, and aggregate content level, VOPA will work as a people-based app driven by the principle of convergence, by creating a single platform for daily transactions in a people-powered scalable, and organically growing shared economy.
We want to step on many single-service apps´ toes. Since it is about people, VOPA, unlike Uber or Airbnb, will leave the labor unions and tenants organizations alone. VOPA will take out the intermediaries and let people vet their own relationships based on trust and transparency. Without people, no VOPA.
As I mentioned in my last blog, as we head toward launch, with communication strategies that are as streamlined as the app itself - VOPA is destined to grow.