We love to study complicated subjects like mathematics, anthropology or genetics. But in our free time we have other things to do, and one of our favorite hobby is games of strategy like the go game, also known as weiqi, as explained below,
For nearly 4000 years the game of Go has been the benchmark strategy game. The analogies between the problems of Go and of the presence on the Internet are numerous and similar. More complex than chess, with over 10 to the power 600 playing possibilities (against 10 to the power 150 for chess), with a playing board even more extended (361 intersections versus 64 squares), with a more complex view of the game, the game of Go is a great school of strategy.
Some authors have attempted to draw a parallel between the game of Go and the Internet, but are more interested in the game space and the relationship between the game pieces, equivalent to a network, and to the behaviors and ways of thinking within these different environments. Our analysis is different and the similarities between Go and the Internet seem more of the domain of the nature and characteristic features of the territories, the perception and the importance of the spheres of influence, the management of subtle balances, the need for manipulation of the opponent, a constant questioning of the notion of dominance and sometimes the difficulty for assessing the true winner.
There is an obvious conceptual links between the famous work of Sun Tzu, 'The Art of War' and the game of Go and Internet strategies. With the 361 intersections, the territory of the Go board is huge, as is the Internet. It is also a limited space, not infinite, as is also the design for a business on the Internet, limited to its direct and indirect stakeholders (customers, suppliers, competitors, portals, search engines etc.). The difference here lies in the development of the territory, which is growing continuously in the case of the Internet with the arrival of new sectoral actors. This is very different from the games you can play at party poker. The Go board has a strong position that it is important to hold or at least to get closer to help quickly establish strong positions and then initiate an extension of one's territory toward the center.
On the Internet, these strong positions also exist: they are represented by the search engines, directories and portals that provide a great way to start a web presence, getting the popularity necessary to tie links to other sites to create a self promoting site through word of mouth. If you do not occupy good locations, your competitors will get the opportunity to do so quickly and get impregnable positions. One of the biggest challenges for a beginning Go player or a novice Web project manager is in the appreciation of the environment, the territories to invest, the forces of his opponents but also how to identify the opportunities to defeat him.
During a game of Go the opponents are at a level approximately equal at the start, only a trained eye can quickly perceive the territories actually controlled or that can easily be consolidated, can measure the zones of influence of each player, and imagine what overall strategies and tactics will further expand their territory and finally prevail. On the Internet, few project managers with enough experience and perspective to perceive the strategies used by competitors can make a position gradually more and more dominant. It is also unfortunate that very few companies give themselves the correct track with the necessary precision for the evolution of the presence of competitors and their development on the Internet.
Part of the game of Go is not a linear process tending towards a certain victory over the enemy and its total eradication. During a game of Go players establish zones of influence, a standing position, drop into other's zones, each stone is placed over a parameter to consider. In go there are rarely removeal of stones of the opponent, each move may be an opportunity for consolidation of territory to the opponent. Your presence on the Internet follows a process very similar: the absolute victory is never reached, the relative influence of each actor is rapidly changing, new ones appear, links are created like networks, the positions are acquired, allowing you to gradually build your popularity. There are few cases where attain the total destruction of the competition!