Ad:Tech: The Cheap Revolution

Ad:Tech: The Cheap Revolution

: Rich Karlgaard of Forbes scared the fancy pants off the advertisers at Ad:Tech this morning with his view of the Cheap Revolution.

After talking about what good shape the American economy appears to be in — productivity is rising as fast as it did in the industrial revolution of the late 19th century; interest rates are low; jobs are rising — he told a few stories:

A teenager in New Jersey started a new web development company — Plotdev working with people around the world he met at He works for big names (e.g., PDiddy) and when asked how much he charges vs. big New York shops, he said “10 percent.” When you get an MRI, there’s a good chance your results will be read by a radiologist in India making $24k a year vs the average $350k in America. A bigtime consultant look at Google’s technology, all built on $2k pizza boxes and open-source, and said if they’d gone to big systems integrators to build it, it would have cost 10 to 15 times more.

We’re entering a world where things can cost 10-15 percent of what they cost here now using big American companies. The Cheap Revolution.

Of course, those new, cheap sources don’t need to be halfway around the globe. The Jersey kid did it from here. Google did it from here. This isn’t an outsourcing story. It’s a story of the populist economy. And it’s going to have a big impact on every segment of media.

The Cheap Revolution has already come to print media: It’s a lot cheaper to create a weblog than it is to create a print product.

The Cheap Revolution will next come to radio and TV; see various exploding TV posts.

The Cheap Revolution will come to advertising on the media side as citizens’ media creates new and inexpensive outlets for marketing and as as smart, creative people with Macs build advertising for one helluva lot less than it costs today.

The Cheap Revolution will not — cannot — come from the top down. It will come from the bottom up. It will come from you. You want to start a media property? Blog. You want to start a radio show? Podcast. You want to start a TV show? Vlog. You want to ad an adman? Build a Gawker Media blogvertorial (sorry about that). Or better yet, rethink what it means for a marketer to have a conversation with customers; that’s what these guys at Ad:Tech still don’t seem to get. They will.