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The technology industry started a race for people to describe their business plan in some or other trendy acronym. The time saving was necessary when people only had the length of an elevator ride to explain what they were trying to do! Everyone is trying to come up with the next big idea - and of course some new ideas need a new acronym. The first two acronyms to really gain widespread traction were D2C - direct to consumer - and B2C - business to consumer. Let's explore the acronym algebra and propose a few more worthy of consideration: C2C, the more complex C2B2C (with variant C2b2C), D2Dn, D2Dn2C and finally Dn+14C

Following the pattern C2C would stand for consumer to consumer - maybe just a convoluted way of saying good old fashioned ‘word of mouth’. We now supplement our voice with other ways to gossip and communicate, and to me this is why we need C2B2C: the middle B stands for the businesses that facilitate these new forms of communication from one consumer to another.


C2b2C or C2B2C?

Different businesses do different things with the data they are given. On the one end of the spectrum - C2b2C with a little b - we have Twitter, which tries to move information from person to person with very little processing, interpretation, packaging or steer, with analysis limited to various measures of popularity.

Further along the spectrum there are companies with a more capital B,hence C2B2C. These organisations specialise in analysing the information consumers give it - and this is at the heart of their business. Google could be considered to be a C2B2C organisation in that much of what it does is built on the web tagging and classification done by webmasters in combination with our browsing histories and our latest search request all integrated to serve up the most relevant search results.

In other words, Google is a type of bridge that helps consumers to learn from others who share data with it, who then adds substantial analysis before returning the information in the form of web searche results and more.

From data to information and then the customer

So what is, the online organisation that helps people to understand their position by offering perspective? We take the information that our users contribute in the form of answers to various questions and polls, and use it to tailor the best generic answers available so that the user is given a personal understanding of their position. I toyed with D2Dn - as it appealed to my mathematical side, where the D represents a person's data dimension, with the Dn representing the power of everyone's data in combination.

Even then, it didn't fully capture what we are trying to do. Maybe we are better described as D2Dn2C - with the final 2C capturing the other key part of what we are trying to do. Not only are we using information provided to help give individuals perspective, but we are also in the business of trying to package the messages in accessible and engaging ways for people so that they can make decisions. After all, we are not perfectly rational Google bots.

Dn+14C - and the business of empowering data for customers

The mathemetician in me then took this one step further.  with a little factorising, we can get arrage D2Dn2C as Dn+14C - I like to think that this could be spoken of as 'empowered data for customers, D 4 C with power.  The next time someone asks me what our business is, I am going to say that we are in the business of empowering data for customers.  Do you think I should ever try and explain the maths, or just wait for this to become the next term to enter the VC dictionary.

Both Greg and Oliver Becker will be talking at Websummit 2013 in Dublin. Oliver's talk is entitled Brothers in Arms:the benefits of family apply to startups and Greg has chosen to present D2C, B2B, what's next? How about D2Dn2C? - we was not allowed to present both his talks.

All content within is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional advice.
Greg Becker