## 11 Feb 2010

### E=mc2 - Critical Mass and the Event Horizon

$E = mc^2 \,\!$
The mass-energy equivalence is likely the most famous Einstein's equation. It demonstrates that the energy of an object at rest is proportional to its mass.

There has been much arguing in LinkedIn forums about the need of a directory website which could overtime compete shoulder to shoulder with OTAs. Now, as far as we could tell, there is somewhat of a general agreement on the need of it, how to get there is more a matter of discussion.

Ruling venture capital out, the saying goes, you will have to exact money and contracts from prospects to finance the directory's sheer internet visibility.

We don't believe so. The directory must come free and welcome the 'billboard effect' (ie driving his very visitors' quickly away to their final destination) to compete. Counterintuitive though it seems, if you think about it, this is exactly what Google did to win the 'Search' war at the beginning of this decade.

And the internet visibility? We're backed by no less than Albert Einstein's relativity to argue that without critical mass you don't gain the 'critical energy' necessary to compete with the big 'objects' in spacetime. If the idea is good enough, inertia is all you need.

The Event Horizon

There is something scarier than offering a couple of free lunches down the road.
The Black Holes.
'Black holes are probably the single most interesting dramatic prediction of general relativity... Objects where the gravitational field is so strong that light itself cannot escape' (Carroll).
There is nothing 'evil' or 'bad' in itself about black holes (read OTAs) either than conveying all objects towards 'singularity', turning entropy into order, gradually reducing the number of objects in spacetime (read vacation rental market) until there is only one single winner.

Killing the Manager

The above may sound sweet at first to travelers' ears, but on double thought, he'll realize we're heading towards a lose/lose situation (mind you, we're traveling at square the speed of light;).
In the long run this is going to make traveling more expensive (estimated OTAs share in the hotels' business is 25%) and less personal. Ranking and user generated contents are increasingly being used as a marketing tool to the detriment of the final user. Unless a strong signal is dictated from the base upward the 'Event Horizon' (ie the place where nothing can escape without moving faster than light) it's where we're heading to.

image credit scielo.br