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News & Insights

News & Insights

The Human Dimension of Online Services

As online information services have evolved, the conventional wisdom has been that human resources are bad because they impede a high valuation for the firm. Slowly but surely, however, this perception is being relegated to a historical footnote and new information services are embracing the unique filtering, analysis, responsiveness, and insight that only human beings can offer. We’ve being saying this for a long time at IEI (we see automation and human resources as complimentary, not contradictory) so it was gratifying to hear Russell Perkins at the DataContent conference talking about the “inevitability” of the human dimension to data-driven information services and to see services like First Stop Health emerge. First Stop, brought to you by serial info-entrepreneurs Patrick Spain and Ken Anderson, uses humans to navigate the complex world of medical services for subscribers to ensure that they get the care they need and save money while they do so. Selling expert advice by the slice is also re-emerging as an online service across multiple verticals, which is both gratifying and frustrating for those of us once on board Internet start-ups such as Intellifact, which crashed and burned a decade ago while trying to get that business model to fly. In the end, highly targeted expert advice is really an information commodity ideally suited to the immediacy and targeting of the medium that is the Internet.

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