What is the filter economy?

Recently I noticed more and more companies rising, which don’t own an asset, which don’t manufacture a product or don’t create their own content. Instead they provide filters for existing stuff. Examples are:

  • Airbnb (don’t own houses, but let you find the best one for your needs)
  • Uber (don’t own cars, but get you a taxi ride)
  • facebook (don’t create content, but sample your newsfeed)
  • google (search engine) (don’t own content, but let you find the right one.)
While these examples are not new and have been described as players in the so called „sharing economy“ as well, I belive there’s a new aspect to it, when you understand them as filters. Like in a filter economy

What is the filter economy?

Seeing and understanding them as filters shows the underlying need, since more and more content is being created on the net: someone has to sort all the stuff, has to sort out the noise and display the relevant stuff. The businessmodell behind is quite obivous:

Who controls the filter, controls the money.

Controlling the permeability of the filter allows you to exactly target the needs of your customers while being more relevant to them, which usually leads to a higher conversion rate or pricetag. Identifiying the type of filter allows the user to chose what he really needs („I need recreation and spiritual time in the sun“ instead of „I need a flight to Bali, find me a hotel there…“ – you get the point)

Some companies are basically built on filters

Companies which play this to the best are currently:
  • buzzfeed (though they produce content themselves as well 🙂 )
  • Spotify (obvious algorithms and playlists)
  • Slack (filter communication in channels)
So, you can add is my company a filter? to your businessplan canvas when you are just starting or ask yourself which content, which services can my company filter for my customers.
Ideas:
  • provide a filter for video content on the net (youtube does no good job)
  • provide a filter for holidays (no one wants to book a flight, a hotel, a car himself anymore. Travel is still broken.)
  • provide a filter for work