Seth Godin writes:

There are two ways to catch a plane. The first, which happens to be the most common, is to leave on time, do your best to park nearby, repeatedly glance at your watch, and then start moving faster and faster. By the time you get to security, you realize that you’re quite late, so you cut the line (“My plane leaves in 10 minutes!” you shout). You walk fast. As you get closer to your gate, you realize that walking fast isn’t going to work, so you start to jog. Three gates away, you break into a run, and if you’re lucky, you barely make the flight.

The second way is to leave for the airport 10 minutes early.

He adds: “A key corollary to this principle is the idea that if you don’t have the time to do it right, there’s no way in the world you’ll find the time to do it over. Too often, we use the urgent as an excuse for shoddy work or sloppy decision-making…The most important idea of all is this one: You will succeed in the face of change when you make the difficult decisions first. It’s easy to justify running for your plane when it’s leaving in two minutes and you’re only five gates away. It’s much harder to justify waking up 10 minutes early to avoid the problem altogether.”

RSS as Web 2.0 Platform

Mark Sigal writes:

RSS began its life as a really simple way for content providers to syndicate their content and for content consumers to subscribe to their favorite providers. When the blogosphere emerged, RSS really took off. Now, just as its simple technology cousin, HTML, provided the underpinnings of the Web 1.0 technology platform, RSS is emerging as a platform for delivering the broadband and mobile ready applications of a Web 2.0 enabled world.

From this vantage point, RSS evolves beyond simple publish and subscribe to become more akin to web services. The concept of a feed is extended to support both a diverse range of data and content types, and feeds can contain rich payloads. Furthermore, feeds gain the ability to expose well-formed methods providing the intelligent glue logic for building loosely coupled applications. Backed by two application examples, this blog presents a thesis of the key moving parts integral to the RSS platform and how they come together.

User-Generated Content

Nivi writes:

User-generated content is all the rage! Unfortunately, there is no such thing.

Users are not interested in generating content.

They are interested in communicating.

Blogs are not content. They are communication.

The 15 million bloggers out there do not consider themselves publishers. Probably only a few hundred or a thousand of those bloggers are publishing. The rest of them are communicating. Just like they communicate over email or telephone or IM. They are regular folks who are just talking.

When the communication is captured so it is not ephemeral, you get what people are calling user-generated content. But it is not content at all, it is communication that has been recorded for all to see.

This distinction is subtle but very important. Dont expect your users to generate content. Instead, support their efforts to communicate.

Open-Source Apps

InfoWorld has a special report discussing a number of open-source applications:

If you’ve ever had difficulty deciding between developing an application in-house or purchasing one off the shelf, then open source may be for you. The combination of free access to source code and a worldwide community of developers gives you the best of both worlds. You have the luxury of starting with a mature code base, to which you can add features as your business needs grow.

As recently as a few years ago, however, open source options were limited. Other than Linux, the Apache Web server, a few database servers, and an assortment of developer tools, the open source community didn’t have much to offer in terms of turnkey software. The foundations were there, but full-fledged applications were lacking.

Fortunately, that’s changing. Individual developers and companies alike have flocked to the open source development model. Today there’s a veritable cornucopia of free business software available — from CRM to content management, portals to RFID — some of it remarkably sophisticated.

TECH TALK: India Needs More Entrepreneurs: Why?

Why should we in India (or for that matter anyone) think of being an entrepreneur? Why not work as part of a larger organisation where the opportunities and resources to scale ideas out are perhaps far greater? Why take on the risk of failure? What about personal security? All of these are valid questions that any person considering the path of entrepreneurship will and should ask.

I believe entrepreneurship is important for two reasons. One, it furthers innovation and state-of-the-art. Two, it offers far greater opportunities for wealth creation than anything else. Let us delve into both of these areas in greater detail.

History has shown that most breakthroughs emerge into the marketplace from entrepreneurs who are willing to bet it all on the belief that their idea can change the world. It does require that entrepreneur or an acquiring company to then build out the organisation to roll out the idea. Innovation is what furthers progress especially, disruptive innovations which open up new markets and bring in new customers.

India is at a fascinating juncture. As it grows, a wide variety of opportunities open up. From telecom to retail, from software to restaurants, from airlines to coffee shops the old way of doing things is giving way to new possibilities. This is probably like being in America in the early part of the 20th century or in China in the 1990s. Things are changing. As incomes grow, so do desires and needs. Entrepreneurs can bring with their ideas to bridge the gaps.

The same is true even in technology. A number of disruptions are changing the old order. Different industries are converging. Some industries are being fragmented. By looking at India first, Indian entrepreneurs can leverage a market close to them and then take their solutions to international markets especially the emerging nations.

The opportunity in India is for real. What will the mix of cheaper computers, more mobiles and next-generation networks mean for business, media, entertainment, education, healthcare, governance? Put on the thinking caps!

The second reason for entrepreneurship is perhaps more profound. Entrepreneurial companies offer the greatest opportunity for wealth creation. Creating and sharing wealth can enable entrepreneurs to do what Indias government has failed to do since Independence things like transforming education and rural India. We dont need to worry about leaving money for the next-generation wealth should be an instrument for bringing the revolutions to build the new India.

Yes, entrepreneurship has its challenges. Only a few get the rewards as others struggle and fail. It is about luck as much as it is about smartness. But then, thats true about life, too. We have choices at every stage. Entrepreneurship does entail some sacrifice, but the personal and societal benefits are worth it. Even if one doesnt want to go the whole hog, think of doing the next best thing — joining entrepreneurs and building teams which want to change the world!

Tomorrow: How?

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