The Social Web is a Horse Race

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Concepts, Strategy, Technology, Thoughts | Posted on 11-11-2009


What better way to get back on the blogging horse** than a quick blog post about Horse Racing? (And more importantly, betting.)

The Social Web is a Horse Race

Think about the Kentucky Derby, the premier race for three-year old thoroughbred horses.  These three-year old horses are bet on, talked about, and speculated about who is favored to win. A known statistic in the horse betting world is that the favored horse will only win about 33% of the time. This is the horse that SUPPOSED to win, yet it only does one in three times.

Who are you betting on?

As you develop platforms, strategy, community, conversation and more around these social web tools, are you betting on one to take you to the finish line (your goal)? Do you put your chips on one horse, maybe the favorite? Just crossing your fingers and hoping to win big? Do you accept the fact that if you’re wrong, you lose it all? Doesn’t it seem a little safer to spread your chips out a bit?
This all stems from a thought I offered during the AACRAO Panel in Dallas yesterday. The main point was this: we’ve narrowed the field down from all of the tools available (for this point in time), and everyone’s placing their bets on which tool is going to win.  Instead of betting on one site to win for you, here’s an alternate perspective:

The social web is like a horse race.  If you’re on every single horse, you’ll win.

I’m not telling you to be on every tool and site available.  That’s absurd. And besides, not every horse is in the Kentucky Derby… just the best, the ones that made the cut.  I am telling you to focus on the big players. If you’re ignoring MySpace because Mashable or another blogger said to, and you haven’t done your own primary research, you’re potentially missing an opportunity.

And as I mentioned at the beginning, the Kentucky Derby is only for 3 year old horses.  Know what that means?  There will occasionally be a new field to bet on. Lucky for us, it’s not a one year cycle (more like 2 or 3).  Tools you used last year and tools you are using this year might not be used in the coming years.

Be flexible.  Be adaptable.  Win the race.

**My apologies for the lack of content of the past few months.  Things have been excitedly hectic at BlueFuego (you can read about recent company developments later this week on the BlueFuego Blog. Subscribe here). I’ve always been of the mindset that “If you don’t have anything good to blog, don’t blog anything at all.”  I want to respect your time and your inbox/reader with the content I push out, and bring you relevant information. I appreciate when you stop by and comment on the occasional post, and I pledge to do better for you in the coming months!

Comments posted (9)

Huzzah! Brad is blogging again!

Here they come out of the starting gate and it’s SquaredPeg by a nose! He moves to one length ahead…no, two lengths ahead! But can he sustain this pace in this crowded field of competitors?

Hahaha, love it! Thanks for stopping by. :)


Good to see you blogging again Brad. What would you say to individuals who are in the sterile, slow, and immovable corporate world. It is hard to be flexible when using the social tools.

How do you balance corporate decision making with being flexible in marketing?

Andy – you’re the greatest. :)

Kyle – educate and inform. “It’s easy to be against something you’re afraid of, and easy to be afraid of something you don’t understand.” – Seth Godin

Flexibility *should* come with the strategy and recommendations. If they can’t buy into that, the whole project will ultimately fail.

Hi, thanks for the important advice. I would surely use them the next time I’d be going for a horse race. I recently attended the Extreme Cowboy Race World Championship at Topeka, Kansas. It was really amazing to see the tough competition that every participating horse was facing. You can also take a look at the event and its results at the Horse2Heart ( website. I am sure that you would surely enjoy the whole experience.

[...] assumption that everyone needs all of these tools is a weak one, so please don’t make it. I read enough of Brad’s blog to know that it’s not where he was going with his original tweet, but [...]

[...] assumption that everyone needs all of these tools is a weak one, so please don’t make it. I read enough of Brad’s blog to know that it’s not where he was going with his original tweet, but [...]

[...] All of them look at the social web from the point of view of the system or from that of corporate who want to use it to reach a goal, as Brad Ward compares it to  a horse race. [...]

[...] The Social Web is a Horse Race, writes Brad J. Ward. Who are you betting on? [...]

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