Amazon and Web Services – Tim O’Reilly

Tim O’Reilly writes provides a wider perspective on web services: “So much of the industry emphasis in web services has turned to EAI and B2B type applications that a lot of people miss the real transformation that is happening. Once they have SOAP or XML-RPC (or even REST-style) APIs, web-facing databases become program components.”

A few other points Tim makes:

– Web sites like Amazon and Google are applications. And Microsoft has demonstrated over and over again that a platform strategy beats an applications strategy every time. Once you have other companies building added value that relies on you, you have a kind of benign industry lock in that’s a real competitive advantage. [See my earlier post on Platform Leadership]

– A mistake a lot of companies make when entering new markets (especially ones that are discontinuous with the current ones) is to think too hard about where the money is coming from. Disruptive innovations often don’t work all that well at first, so you have to give them room to grow before you try to harvest them. The lesson of the dot-com boom is actually the opposite of the one that people are taking. It’s not “figure out your business model first,” it’s “don’t get greedy; give the market time to mature before you rush to cash out.” (Aside: This is also part of the secret of open source. People do cool things for reasons other than money, because they solve small scale, specific problems that wouldn’t be touched by commercial vendors. (These problem spaces sometimes grow into big markets, but they don’t look that way at first.))

– Companies need to think not just what they can get for themselves from new technologies, but how they can enable others. A marketplace is like an ecosystem. The more life there is, the more there is for everyone.

Also see my earlier post on Tim O’Reilly on Web Services, where he takes of the Internet OS, and Tim’s article on “Inventing the Future“.

Gigabit Ethernet

WSJ writes about Case Western Reserve University:

In all, 16,000 computers, including student-owned machines in every dorm room, will be linked over the coming year to a fiber-optic network that delivers data at up to one gigabit per second. That is about a thousand times faster than the typical home broadband connection — so fast that the research university’s computer experts still don’t know exactly what they will do with so much capacity.

And that’s the point of this $27 million investment: Case will look to develop applications that benefit from a supercharged Internet.

With the new system, “you can actually do full-screen, full-motion high-definition video with high-definition sound,” said the school’s technology chief, Lev Gonick. “That’s pretty amazing when you think about research science.”

Medical students will be able to watch surgery in real time from a remote location yet experience it as if they were in the room. A musician could even study with a teacher in, say, New York via an Internet audiovisual conference — provided the teacher had an equally fast connection.

Traction – Udell Review

Udell reviews Traction (InfoWorld):

There is still no sure-fire recipe for KM (knowledge management) success, but the ingredients must include the staples of the knowledge worker: e-mail, the Web, and Microsoft Office. With Traction Software’s KM solution, content flowing through all these channels is easily captured by the Java-based Traction Server, which can be best described as an enterprise Weblog system. Documents posted to the server are stored as XML, tagged (in a Web interface) with system-and user-defined terms, made available for full-text and structured search, and served back out as team workspaces, enterprise information portals, or both.

Udell has also posted a further update on his blog, also comparing Traction and Radio.

DaveNet: A New Beginning

Writes Dave Winer:

From this point we’ll get much better information about how companies are doing. Stock options as we knew them, are over. Salaries and benefits matter. Transparent management. Time to ride the Cluetrain, for real. Companies must make identifiable products for real people that they communicate with honestly, directly and openly. You can’t view your customers, shareholders or readers as fat, dumb and happy; or they’ll take you down the Enron-WorldCom road. It’s time for the philosophy of the Web to become the philosophy of business. View your constituents as people with minds, and treat them accordingly.

The world needs to look at the lives of the other 4 billion people living in developing markets. There’s plenty of opportunity there, but the price points and solutions have to be different. This is where a new beginning needs to be made.