Your Computer to Your Data

Jeremy Zawodny points to a post which has a quote from Paul Graham’s book Hackers and Painters: “The idea of ‘your computer’ is going away and being replaced by ‘your data.’ You should be able to get at your data from any computer. Or rather any client, and a client doesn’t have to be your computer.”

Jeremy adds: “The more I find myself using increasingly larger and cheaper USB memory sticks, my colocated server, and on-line services like Flickr, I realize how my desktop and laptop computers are becoming less and less important in the grand scheme of things. And when I think about how popular web-based mail systems (Y! Mail, Hotmail, GMail) are, it’s apparent that a lot of folks are keeping their data elsewhere.”

This also captures the essence of centralised computing and thin clients.

Information Sharing Dimensions

[via Stuart Henshall] noirExtreme writes:

I see 5 major dimensions that can characterise information sharing: individuals, topics, opinions, things and time.

Individuals – this is about people addressing an audience, talking to each other or reading what others write.
Topics – we are interested in specific themes and not others: I am into VoIP and peer-to-peer and not into gardening and pets.
Opinions – what it is all about: information, ideas, thoughts expressed, clashing and leading to others.
Things – for lack of a better word. Food for thoughts, almost literally: news, articles, events, books, new web sites, new products, etc. Anything one can have an opinion about.
Time – the organising principle that makes conversation and evolution possible.

Apple’s iPod Platform

Steve Gillmor writes that Apple is organising around the iPod:

1. The iPod Shuffle

Though most of us boomers cant fathom the idea that “life is random” is a feature, the Shuffles secret sauce is its Playlist mode, turned off by default. Attention: iPodder developersif you develop SmartPlaylist functionality in your aggregators, you can use attention and other explicit metadata to program iTunes to download, sort, and sequence podcasts while you sleep. Remember, the iPod is the delivery system, the data cache at the end of the pipeline. Of course, if some smart 3rd-party vendor adds a microphone that clips onto the Shuffle, its a data recorder hanging around your neck.

2. The Mini

For podcasters, this is a $500 studio-in-a-box. GarageBand now supports multitrack recording (eight channels each with their own eq and effects) and the ability to create your own loops. Combine GarageBand with Smart Playlists and slice and dice your podcasts up into “songs” that you can sequence and, more importantly, pull “quotes” for inclusion in other podcasts. Once again, remember that the iPod is the endpoint of the production environment. The Mini is the studio, the mastering lab, where you cut the virtual grooves between the tracks of these next-generation podcasts.

3. “Tiger”

The next version of OS/X will load just fine on the Mini, too. It comes with Automator, which, if hooked up to GarageBand, would provide an automated way to refactor existing long-form podcasts into this new track model. Automator could also build consoles to automate real-time, radio-style production with multiple audio inputs, taking advantage of Tigers enhanced ability to handle multiple virtual audio devices.

4. iWork and iLife

Keynote, Pages, and iMovie are morphing into a podcast-to-video porting environment. Use Automator consoles to load in podcast segments and annotate them with links, iPhoto transitions, and attention-influenced intelligent caching of related pod- and Mini-casts, and youre well on your way to a read/write version of the RSS-powered multimedia Web. While DRMForSure coddles the cartel, the iPod Platform plays to the customers in the seats.

Tomorrow’s TV

Fred Wilson writes:

I have this vision that someday soon we’ll sit in front of our TV and we’ll face a screen that looks like this:

1) Cable/Satellite
2) Internet
3) Stored Shows

The point being that today cable is the way we get TV. In the future, it’s going to be one of options, but not the only option. We’ll have a media server somewhere in our house that has the DVDs we’ve bought and ripped, the videos we’ve acquired by Bit Torrent or some other means, and the stuff we’ve bought via digital download over the Internet. That will be our stored content.

There will also be the option of watching live video over the Internet. In the past week a half, there has been a huge amount of streaming Tsunami video watching. But that’s happening on PCs. Why won’t that activity move to TVs? It will.

Jeff Jarvis, Doc Searls, John Robb have more.

TECH TALK: The Best of 2004: Entrepreneur Q&A

13. Chris Wands Questions for Entrepreneurs (June)

This is one of those lists which no entrepreneur should do without. Every now and then, it is a good idea to review these questions and answer them for the venture that you are doing. Better still, the entire management team should independently answer these questions and then compare notes.

1) WHAT IS YOUR VISION?
– What is your big vision?
– What problem are you solving and for whom?
– Where do you want to be in the future?

2) WHAT IS YOUR MARKET OPPORTUNITY AND HOW BIG IS IT?
– How big is the market opportunity you are pursuing and how fast is it growing?
– How established (or nascent) is the market?
– Do you have a credible claim on being one of the top two or three players in the market?

3) DESCRIBE YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE
– What is your product/service?
– How does it solve your customers problem?
– What is unique about your product/service?

4) WHO IS YOUR CUSTOMER?
– Who are your existing customers?
– Who is your target customer?
– What defines an “ideal” customer prospect?
– Who actually writes you the check?
– Use specific customer examples where possible.

5) WHAT IS YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION?
– What is your value proposition to the customer?
– What kind of ROI can your customer expect by using buying your product/service?
– What pain are you eliminating?
– Are you selling vitamins, aspirin or antibiotics? (I.e. a luxury, a nice-to-have, or a need-to-have)

6) HOW ARE YOU SELLING?
– What does the sales process look like and how long is the sales cycle?
– How will you reach the target customer? What does it cost to “acquire” a customer?
– What is your sales, marketing and distribution strategy?
– What is the current sales pipeline?

7) HOW DO YOU ACQUIRE CUSTOMERS?
– What is your cost to acquire a customer?
– How will this acquisition cost change over time and why?
– What is the lifetime value of a customer?

8) WHO IS YOUR MANAGEMENT TEAM?
– Who is the management team?
– What is their experience?
– What pieces are missing and what is the plan for filling them?

9) WHAT IS YOUR REVENUE MODEL?
– How do you make money?
– What is your revenue model?
– What is required to become profitable?

10) WHAT STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT ARE YOU AT?
– What is your stage of development? Technology/product? Team? Financial metrics/revenue?
– What has been the progress to date (make reality and future clear)?
– What are your future milestones?

11) WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR FUND RAISING?
– What funds have already been raised?
– How much money are you raising and at what valuation?
– How will the money be spent?
– How long will it last and where will the company “be” on its milestones progress at that time?
– How much additional funding do you anticipate raising & when?

12) WHO IS YOUR COMPETITION?
– Who is your existing & likely competition?
– Who is adjacent to you (in the market) that could enter your market (and compete) or could be a co-opted partner?
– What are their strengths/weaknesses?
– Why are you different?

13) WHAT PARTNERSHIPS DO YOU HAVE?
– Who are your key distribution and technology partners (current & future)?
– How dependent are you on these partners?

14) HOW DO YOU FIT WITH THE PROSPECTIVE INVESTOR?
– How does this fit w/ the investors portfolio and expertise?
– What synergies, competition exist with the investors existing portfolio?

15) OTHER
– What assumptions are key to the success of the business?
– What “gotchas” could change the business overnight? New technologies, new market entrants, change in standards or regulations?
– What are your companys weak links?

Continue reading