I think that the attention economy is best served talking about Attention efficiency.
Attention efficiency is the ratio of useful, valuable, or effective output to the total attention input in any system or systems.
For example, the attention efficiency of television changed a great deal when Tivo arrived on the scene, reducing the required input to get the same value. To deliver on the attention economy is to deliver attention efficiency. If managing Tivo consumes the same amount of attention as the eliminated commercials then Tivo has done nothing to deliver attention efficiency (not the best example, but its late). So as attention becomes the measure of value then we must understand what burdens our applications and businesses place on the attention of our customer / users / observers.
Today we lack any real attention efficiency due to the fact that we are required to interact in so many different silos. I like to think that we will move the online experience (offline experience will slowly disappear) from one of silos that force attention inefficiencies, to a paradigm of situational awareness that is driven by creating attentional efficiencies based on our individual values.
It is critical to point out that the folks who think about attention are themselves early adopters and forward thinkers, that is not the case for everybody else. So our success is dependant on folks that don’t think about attention but value it and desire simple means to deliver more effective output from their attention investments.
The definition of efficiency courtesy of Answer.com
As I think more about the economics of Attention I am struck by the silos. Everyday of my life my attention is disrupted by the constant silo switching. I spend 2 to 2.5 hours per day driving to my place of employment. Today, that time is better spent thanks to my self programmed iPod. There exists a huge problem maintaining the flow of information into and out of my commute silo. I have to spend time to deliver information into that silo and its a pain in the neck, sync, plug in, navigate, unplug, plug in navigate, and unplug every day. So here is what I think would be nice.
In the evening as I review my schedule for the next day, iTunes detects my car as a device on my wireless network. iTunes updates my car with the content I have added and allows me to program my drive to work with content. My calendar also detects my car as a device on my wireless network (or as a client via EVDO, a nod to Steve Gillmor) my temporal data gets downloaded and is used to prime my navigation system. The car then could make suggestions regarding when and where to get gas based on price, route changes based on live traffic data, and provide access to my voice mail. The opportunities are all over the place. Why can’t I sync my contacts in Google or yahoo bidirectionally with my cell phone.
Creating attention efficiencies for people in their daily lives is just obvious. Jon Udell writes about the broader value of attention efficiency and effectiveness . Technology has consistently increased the productivity of the individual within the context of a specific task. How about life productivity, how about increasing the continuity of experience of my life, I would be willing to pay for that. In the end, all the players (companies, customers ect..) will have to focus on collaboration, continuity of experience and increased situational awareness.
 Attention economics: by Jon Udell
I have been thinking about the Attention economy and what it means for businesses. I find the idea of a more cooperative value model eludes most traditional businesses. I have had to explain multiple times that the value of an interaction includes more than just the product and the cash payment. There exists around all interactions meta data that in some cases exceeds the value of the obvious portion of a traditional transaction. I think that many companies take meta data for granted. There tends to be an assumption that only one party is capturing meta data. In non-online interactions that assumption maybe correct, but in the online world what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Businesses will wake up real quick when customers realize that they can monetize their book purchasing or reviewing habits on amazon by sharing their meta data with Borders.
The cooperative model will force companies to work to provide more value for the meta data in the form of better financial terms, increased services, and a broader continuity of experience. Cooperative companies will enable customer creation of a rich situational awareness. That situational awareness will drive productivity and create additional business opportunities.
Thomas W. Malone gave a presentation on the Future of Work at the Accelerating Change 2005 Conference, which focused on the impact of the declining cost of communication. This declining cost of communication is enabling both customers and companies alike to utilize a broader spectrum of the information in our everyday lives. In the future we will all need and have personal situation awareness systems. This will make the information management tools of today look like a Motorola Bravo pager in the age of smart phones.