Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What boot are you working on?

When has the distribution of a particular technology reached its maturity point?

In a previous post I wrote of Carlota Perez’s article in Strategy + Business magazine where she talks about how distribution of electricity reached maturity when things like the electric knife were invented. A few weeks ago I chaperoned a trip to the National Grid Training Center in Worcester, MA and I found this boot which supports her view.

Has the latest wave of the web reached its maturity point, already?

I don’t think we have truly tapped into all the possible products and services that can be created within the reach of the current wave. Today, 1.2 billion people use the Internet and as more and more people get connected to the network, the more and more new ideas will be generated.

I read a post yesterday called, Death of the Web 2.0 Era, and I want to ask, is this where we are today? Mike Arrington’s TechCrunch Deadpool list is growing but does that mean the new version of the web is a mature product and nothing else can be squeezed out of it? Unlikely.

So what boot are you working on?


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Economics of Failure

Have you ever rushed toward failure? Have you ever gotten up in the morning and the first thought to your mind was, “I can’t wait to fail at something today”?

Well, what is failure? Google defines it as:
  • an act that fails; "his failure to pass the test"
  • an event that does not accomplish its intended purpose; "the surprise party was a complete failure"
We all know the saying, “Failure isn’t an option” and I’m not quite sure who coined the saying but I want to disagree with it.

How does this tie into business and technology? Look at the worldwide numbers noted in Alan Moore’s Communities Dominate Brands blog post, “
Putting 2.7 billion in context: Mobile phone users”:
  • The Car - 800M
  • Telephone - 1.3B
  • TV - 1.5B
  • PC - 850M
  • INTERNET - 1.1B
Look at those sizes, there are millions and billions of consumers connected by some level of technology. If you were to deliver an idea/product into any one of the above and apply a 1% success rate, you would end up with a very large audience for something that could ultimately be described as a “failure” or having no chance. In some cases, you could take 1% of the 1% success rate and still end up with favorable numbers.

This brings me back to my initial question, “have you ever rushed toward failure”? When developing services for the next generation, we should embrace “failure” as an option because any idea on the distribution channels we have today has the possibility to reach lots of consumers.

Happy Failing!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I Know You...You Know Me...FB Place Ad Here

I am a relative newbie to Facebook. I’ve had an account for over 6 months but I have been truly active for the last month or so to which most of my interactions have been very pleasant. I have connected with old friends, my bunk bud from boot camp, and so many others I have not spoken or interacted with throughout the years. I was prepared to continue showing who I am within FB but my mind has sort of changed after their announcement to put adds into my social network.

On FB you can create a question for your friends to answer and the next question I will add to my page is “How many of you, or the 52 million subscribers, feel comfortable with FB taking our personal interactions and selling them to the highest bidder”? Yeah I know it is business but FB was built to connect people. Now they are breathing only to push ads to the people you have taken time to connect with.

I am curious to see how this will affect FB’s user stats. User traffic is possibly leveling already and the move to include ads into users’ interactions can’t possibly help. Time will only tell.


**Company list courtesy of Erick Schonfeld @TechCrunch during FB media announcement in NY. Thanks Erick.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Be More Productive by Moving Around

Saw this on my feeds this morning and I think I'll give it a whirl. Today I will try to work anywhere else but at my desk.


Monday, November 5, 2007

We Share in this Family...

So an open platform for mobile handsets, I like that. This could be the kick in the pants service providers need to really get going on building next generation services. If you notice I said, “could be”?

I’ve been watching this market long enough to know that the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) has one hell of a road in front of it, and not because the software will be difficult to deliver, but because all the companies listed as alliance members will all want their share.

What do I mean by that? Well, let’s imagine on Monday, when the software development kit (SDK) is released, that immediately 1M developers download and begin creating new services. Of those 1M developers, 1% create something rich enough for current subscribers to use. We’re almost there! Of the 10K new services created, 1% are hits. At the end of the day we’ll have 100 brand new applications out and about earning respectable revenues. How exactly will those revenues be shared? What happens if I am in the US and want to use my services when in the UK? What happens when my service is disrupted, who will I call for help? These are some of my immediate questions and why I think Google and OHA have a bigger task ahead of them than just creating software.

Another question I have is, will OHA be powerful enough to break down the infamous, “walled gardens”?

I saw this firsthand at the VON show last week when Embarq’s CEO, Dan Hesse, presented their strategy for the next generation. His remarks were focused on delivering a “Simplicity Portal” where Embarq’s customers can do anything and everything they want with relation to TV, Internet and Voice. Embarq is not in the alliance by the way. This is what service providers are accustomed to and if OHA is going to disrupt the status quo, they will have to break down this mindset before their efforts are considered successful.

I will support any movement toward creating an open platform because it ultimately leads to a better experience for the next generation. On the OHA website they have a great video of children answering this question, “If I had a magic phone…”

Now Android is certainly not going to get a phone to make ice cream but this is what it is all about, building for the next generation.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The iPhone Is Convergence

I know it’s been reviewed by a million people already but I don’t care, I have to say something about the iPhone; it is a wonderful platform.

After setting it up, which wasn't that bad, I was off for the web. Using Safari was easy and getting my RSS feeds, Gmail, Google Calendar, and Contacts integrated was simple.

Next I synched my music. This process wasn’t cut and dry, I had to do a little research since the iTunes interface was a bit different than a regular iPod version. After taking the steps the user guide suggested, my music was ready and waiting. I went for one of my favorite songs, Cerca de Mi, from Elements of Life by Louie Vega and the speakers on the phone started playing. Speakers, Steve Jobs in his launch video didn't say anything about speakers!

So the phone is activated, the web is in the palm of my hands and my music is going, here is where I first realize the power of the iPhone.

While I’m listening to my music, I’m surfing the web and I realize I’m connected via WiFi and not through the data plan. Didn’t even know it could do that which now makes me want to visit all the free WiFi spots around. Cmon Earthlink, get back on the ball. I figured I should try a few of the sites I regularly visit like Facebook. Wouldn’t you know it, they have an iPhone version of their site. It allowed me to view my friends, read and post to the Wall, and pretty much everything else. After a visit to FB, I'm did some Twittering using the web vs. text messaging. I’m on Blogger writing notes for this post, I’m in Gmail responding to my messages; essentially, I’m doing exactly what I do throughout the day on my PCs but from my iPhone.

I can’t say enough about the iPhone; it really is a great device. Now it is time for AT&T to get their Edge network in more places so that I can continue to enjoy the phone. Apple also needs to get that SDK out so 3rd party developers can start creating more uses for consumers. AT&T is already opening the door to development; Apple just needs to get the development kit out.

Go buy one, you won’t regret it.