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How to Build an Online Business by Bernadette Schwerdt

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IntroductionThe state of play

I was born in 1966. Life seemed simple then. There was no mobile, no email, not even videos. ‘Social’ was called ‘going outside’ and the internet was the Funk & Wagnalls encyclopaedia.

Work was simpler too. In the advertising agency where I cut my teeth, a ‘hard decision’ was choosing between placing a full-page advertisement in Cleo or Cosmopolitan. Tough decision. Kept me up at night.

Fast forward 25 years and here we are, smack bang in the middle of a technical revolution and boy, does that ‘hard’ decision to choose between Cleo or Cosmopolitan seem easy. Now, when scheduling media, the discussion is had between data scientists and it sounds something like, ‘We’ll just do an A/B test using the multivariate vector points as mutable factors for sub-segment n-2 utilising the regression coefficients.’ I know. It doesn’t make sense to me either, but that’s how complex the media-buying discussion has become.

It’s not just work that’s complicated. Simple things, such as children’s toys, have become unbelievably complex.

For example, my son turned 11 last week. We bought him a drone helicopter. It cost $50. Five years ago, it would have cost $700. Eight years ago, it didn’t exist. The gyro that makes it work cost NASA engineers $100 million to invent and you need to be a computer programmer to use it. When I was 11, we got Pong and we thought that was the height of technical sophistication.

Things move much faster now too. A TV commercial that took a ...

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