Is your business model aimed at your generation, the current generation or the people after them? At Second Life i was excited by the fact that our target customer is kinda the next generation - that is to say, we're riding some pretty exceptional trends about how kids use technology. Each year the average 20 year old becomes more technically adept, less interested in being fed content they can't interact with, etc.
Contrast this with comments like:
“People who grow up with tech don’t tend to value content.” - Les Moonves, CEO CBS
Geez, if that's true then Les and others are in a pretty tough business since i wouldn't bet future generations are likely to have LESS exposure to technology. So do you try to teach/legislate "respect" for content, or do you change the model to capitalize on what they DO value?
Richard Brandt says Yahoo and Microsoft have the same challenge:
The only thing that keeps them [YHOO and MSFT] afloat is the fact that some people have been using Yahoo so long they find it hard to switch, and Microsoft software automatically sends people to MSN by default. Younger people will not settle for Yahoo unless its products improve vastly (such as ceasing to charge for a decent email system) and will not settle for MSN because they will know how to reset the default home page.
So while I don't think this is truly all Yahoo has going for them (c'mon people, they have several very good products), I'd imagine there are groups in their company that do rely solely upon this fragile notion of lock-in.
Related, I was happy to see Matt Cutts' post this week about how Google tries to ensure you can always take your data AWAY from our services if you're not satisfied. We're far from perfect but we're trying. It's not just good customer orientation - it's smart business - lock-in tries to retard Darwinism by not forcing your product to compete in an open environment. And you know what happens? Sooner or later you find that you haven't evolved, you're genetically unsuited for the new environment and you're extinct.
Build for the next generation and minimize lock-in = healthier products