This is a two part series. Today I will define the most important battle being waged in tech today. Tomorrow, I will define the contenders and handicap the fight.
The biggest fight in social media was always about who owns identity. Facebook took an almost insurmountable lead when they announced the social graph, location and integrated commenting. Sure, social media hasn’t completely lived up to its potential… but once it does, it’s clear Facebook will be the company that brings it there (unless they screw it up). This battle seems boring for now, so I set across the technology sphere looking for the next battle that will be as important as the fight to own identity was/is.
I found it in the fight to become the next Paypal… no, the next Visa. Payments have ascended from barter to cash to checks and credit to credit/debit cards. They’re not done ascending though. The current world of technology (where things are purchased online, and soon with your phone) requires a new way of looking at payments. The company that gets everyone to standardize on their payment platform has the potential to (effectively) tax millions of transactions per year for the foreseeable future. Paypal was once the leader in this space, but they have (since the ebay acquisition) seemed to be content with owning the person to person market, which is only a subset of what this new world of payments will require its leader do.
Let’s define the market. I believe the company that dominates this new payment space will have to have compelling solutions to address all of the following transactions:
So, there it is, come up with a solution that simply and elegantly solves all 5 of these payment related problems and you’ll be a multibillionaire. Unfortunately, I think the only serious contenders for this market are already multi-billion dollar companies, but more on them in tomorrow’s post.