Expertise - A Better Analogy for the Web

If you want to understand a new thing it helps to use an analogy.

For the web and a website I think a great analogy to use is one that compares them to electricity and a washing machine (or any machine the needs electricity to operate). Like electricity the web is a horizontal technology that applies to all areas of business. It can be used by any business just like electricity. A website needs the web to work and has a specific function; just like a washing machine needs electricity and has a specific function.

Imagine that you did not have a washing machine nor electricity.

What would that mean for you? Arguably it would mean that you would have to wash your clothes manually every week. This could take an hour of you time and considerable manual labor.

no washing machine image

That is not the case. You have a washing machine and electricity, which means it takes you a few minutes a week to wash your clothes. The machine does most of the work. You just need to add and remove your clothes from the machine. So the use of a washing machine and electricity saves you a lot of time and effort. We just take it for granted because it has always been there for us.

with a washing machine image

Can you imagine not having a website nor the Internet?

Well for most of us we do not have a website; and until recently most people did not have the internet either. So it is not hard to imagine something that was true for most of our life.

no web image

In a similar way to a washing machine and electricity your website and the internet can help you become more efficient. They are technologies that help you become more productive. The bottom picture shows that you have your website and the internet. It is possible that by taking advantage of the benefits of the web you can increase the capabilities you now have (the status quo) to more than you can imagine. Perhaps you can double or triple productivity in some areas.

yes web image

You would never consider not using your washing machine and electricity because it is common sense that they are very helpful. The same is true about having your own website on the Internet; it will be very helpful.

The video below is a presentation by Jeff Bezos, founder of In the video he goes on in more detail about how to see electricity and its development as an analogy for the web and its possible evolution. It is a very entertaining and educational presentation of about 18 minutes.

Click here for video if it does not appear.