PODCAST: Listen to Kareem Tawansi and Brett Raven discuss the diffrences between Business Tech and Consumer Tech
Far too often, tech is lumped into one big pile – it’s all tech. The fact of the matter is that there is good tech and bad tech. More succinctly, there is Business Tech (often referred to as B2B) and Consumer Tech (often referred to as B2C).
What are the major differences?
Generally speaking, Business Tech is here to assist its users in contributing to their livelihood and often to that of their customers. It usually relies on a user pays model; while there might be a free version, to get the most value you will need to pay (often referred to as the Freemium model). Often, the purpose of Business Tech is to make the user’s life easier; or put another way to get out of the way as quickly as possible while providing the maximum utility as possible. So good Business Tech should be frictionless and working towards getting the user off it as quickly as possible.
Consumer Tech, on the other hand, is often primarily there to contribute to the livelihood of the owner of the platform itself. Consumer Tech is often “free” or at least that’s what we may think. In reality, it’s paid for by advertisers, either directly, via placing adds near what you are looking for or indirectly, by selling your data to someone who wants to sell you something. Unlike Business Tech, Consumer Tech is all about keeping you on the platform for as long as possible and thus maximizing the chances you will see an ad that tempts you, which leads to generating revenue for the platform owner by way of ad spend.
To extend the time users remain on most Consumer Tech platforms, the owners of those platforms often tap into the reptile part of our brains, looking for those dopamine hits when you see you have a new message or are outraged by a post, or even when you see your “friends” on holidays living the perfect life that you wish you were doing right now (although with COVID I’m not sure anyone is living that life!). The longer you are there the more ads you are served, the more money the platform owner makes. Remember, the platform users (i.e. you!) are the product and the advertisers are the customers.
There is a halfway point however and that is e-commerce. As a user of an e-commerce site you know you are there to potentially spend money with the platform licensee (the e-tailer). While they want you there as long as possible, ideally purchasing their products, you know exactly what the deal is.
So, in reality, Business Tech and Consumer Tech are completely different, driven by different drivers and generating revenue for their owners in completely different ways.