"Every abundance creates a new scarcity"

This concept is attributed to Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail. I think there is no disputing this concept. Here are some examples in the database and data management world:

  • Data is cheap and easy to collect, which means we may now easily have an abundance of data. That abundant data now requires wise management. Wise management is scarce.
  • Producing and selling software that can be called “association management software” is now relatively easy to do. There is an abundance of AMS products on the market. (A google search on “association management software” [with quotes] will return over 64,000 results.) However, not every software product is the same. With all those choices, there is a scarcity of expertise that really knows the market and the players and can help associations make a wise decision about the best product for their organization.
  • Email marketing is virtually free. There is an abundance of cheap and easy-to-use software products that will allow you to broadcast your message to anyone for whom you have an email address. But this abundance of “free delivery” means there is a scarcity of communication that actually gets through. This requires you to be more effective with targeting your communications to people who want it, and to provide that information in the format that they want to receive (e.g., email, blog, twitter, etc.).

There are many other examples of abundance creating new scarcity. The question is, how is your organization handling these new scarcities? Do you have the resources to deal with them, or can you locate resources that can help?

About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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