You are one in a million. Honest.

4,500 discerning people read this weekly email. I got to thinking about online economics.

The traditional economy is about scarcity. That's because your business can't reach far. If you're a plumber, for instance, you stay local. Your village, your suburb, maybe your city. And you compete with five other plumbers for my attention.

It's not your business which doesn't reach far. It's you, because it costs much more to drive 50 km than to drive 2 km. It's not the cost of petrol. Time on the road is not time on-the-job. If you're selling hours, distance hurts.

In a village of 1000 houses, each plumber wants to serve as many as he can get. It's a fight with the rest. His only weapon is price. The plumber with the smallest price wins. They're in a race to the bottom.

There is no cost to distance online. Next door is as close as No Place, County Durham.

There are 4,500,000,000 people online. If only one person in a million shows interest in your idea (or topic or product), your prospect group is 4,500 strong. You are one of those one in a million people for me, thank you.

But let's talk about you. In the off-line economy, you must sell to everybody you meet. Prospects are scarce.

In the online economy, you can seek out the exact person you want to reach. For instance, there are enough single, balding, 61-year old diabetic men who like yoga and are seeking friendship to be a viable market. To be clear, I am not single.

The South African market might contain about 29 such persons spread across the country. Not enough if you are a plumber, no matter how lonely you are.

One in a million heartens me whenever I help a client explore an online market. It's enough for 450 sales. Even if those sales span the next five years, it represents US$3000 income each month.

And one in a million, online, is more than the number of prospects most of us reach in our local market.