Seth Goldstien: Attention Broker (ETech 2006)


Seth Goldstein is talking about Root Markets: Applications for the New Attention Economy. Root is an attention exchange. Is attention about money or time? Seth jokes that he's from New York and so he focuses on the money aspect of attention, leaving the time aspect to folks from San Francisco.

Is attention a privacy challenge or publicity opportunity. Sharing your attention (ala last.fm, for example). The best guarantee for attention is living your life as open as possible, as public as possible. Receiving attention makes you influential. This can occur even when you're not there (even dead).

Web services have enabled to recording of attention data in real time. Root is an open exchange for attention. He defines "PPA" as the promise to pay attention. Putting something on a calendar is an example of a PPA. PPAs form attention bonds. When you promise to attend an event, like your son's soccer game, you are creating an attention bond. Failing to deliver impacts your reputation.

Why is this relative to Wall Street? You can secure and trade PPAs. He makes an analogy to the commercial mortgage market. This turns mortgage payment promises into a trillion dollar market.

Your attention is valuable. As an impression, it's worth $0.001. For a click it's $0.50. For a mortgage lead, it's $25. An completed US Army application is worth $2000. We pay attention to lots of things. We'd like to keep our attention from distraction, companies, advertisements, flashing banners, strangers, etc. These interruptions are stealing your attention.

Who owns your attention? You do. He then turns this into a discussion of how you own your attention data. I don't think the logic necessarily follows. He acknowledges that clearly your records on Amazon belong to Amazon and you together. The question is do you have the right to make Amazon give you that data in a form you can use?

Root gives you a dashboard of where you're spending your time and where you click online. This is the start. You can share your attention data with others. This gives you a comparison of your attention and other people's attention. This gives the ability to form communities around common attention patterns. Most important, the delete button let's you delete your attention data from Root.