At PC Forum

I am at PC Forum in Carlsbad. Had always been keen on wanting to come for it — been reading Esther Dyson’s Release 1.0 for 5+ years.

Novatium is presenting (one of nine companies selected) Monday afternoon.

Web 2.0 Discussion

Embracing the Monkeys transcribes the discussion on Web 2.0 and Social Computing as part of the MITX CEO Roundtable Series.

As with other industries, Web 2.0 will have (is having) significant impact on the services industry. One foreseeable impact will be the sharing of information related to customer experiences think eBays reputation management or Amazons user reviews related to the insurance, legal services and/or other services industries.

One of example where this is already beginning is the MechanXFiles on NPRs Car Talk web site. On this site, users can submit or review comments for mechanics in their local area. This site and these recommendations provide useful information that can drive (no pun intended) consumer choice. To take it to another step, think of this type of customer feedback then mashed-up with Google Maps providing instant location of highly rated mechanics.

Placeshifting TV

The Economist writes:

Just as timeshifting lets viewers choose when to watch something, placeshifting lets them decide where. Of course, people have long been able to carry recorded shows (on videotapes or DVDs) around with them. But in the past few months, the placeshifting of live broadcasts, as well as recorded shows, has become possible. What we’re moving towards is having any content, anywhere, anytime, on whatever device is available to you, says Van Baker of Gartner, a consultancy. This is, he says, part of a far broader trend: the personalisation of media consumption, from mobile-phone ringtones to music playlists.

The company at the forefront of placeshifting is Sling Media, a start-up based in San Mateo, California. Last year it launched the Slingbox, which in effect lets you watch your own television from anywhere in the world via the internet.

Wikipedia Learnings

Ross Mayfield blogs a keynote by Mitch Kapor (at OSBC):

It can’t possibly work. When I describe it to people as an online encyclopedia is that free and open and written by volunteers, people don’t believe it. But it does. One of the top 20 websites in the world. Everyone in the room knows it, visits it, maybe 10% of the audience raises their hand to say they have written in it. The English version is bigger than the Brittanica. Random person off the street will say something, vaugely, about the Seigenthaler affair when asked about Wikipedia. If you use it, you must find it useful. Most people find it more useful than conventional reference sources. Becoming a reference source of choice.

Leadership. The leader has to serve the community. They are volunteers, a different paradigm, not a business paradigm where somewhere under the surface there is a heirarchy. Leadership in a voluntary inspiration, moral leadership, empowering and recognizing people. Jimmy calls himself a Libertarian, which makes sense in some context, but there is something about empowering a community that can be an unruly bunch that can be difficult.

Making Microformats Matter

Alex Bosworth writes:

The idea of Microformats is a cool concept for the web, involving adding simple markup to html to highlight metadata about the displayed content. But like any standard, without a killer application microformats are under-utilized. The problem is a classic bootstrapping dilemma. Why should I add markup if there is no application that uses the markup? Why should I code an application that parses markup if there is no content that includes it? The solution lies on small leaps of faith by both sides.

Fortunately, Microformats make marking up data really easy, so making a committment to Microformats on the content side is as simple as appending a string. And parsing Microformats isn’t harder than parsing anything else in XML/HTML (or RSS). The key is just small easy steps to make these formats matter.

Mobiles for Payments

Business Week writes about South Korea:

Some 23 million Koreans use one of five competing cell-phone systems to make payments ranging from a few cents to $120. This year Koreans are expected to charge nearly $1 billion using the services, up from just $290 million in 2002.

“Cell phones have proven to be an essential payment tool,” says Park Sung Chan, CEO of Danal Co., which pioneered the industry. In April, Danal plans to launch a similar operation with China Mobile (CHL), the mainland’s largest carrier. Next up: Japan, Southeast Asia, and, ultimately, the U.S., where both Danal and its chief rival, Mobilians, are eyeing the market.

TECH TALK: Extreme Competition: Foreword

I recently wrote a foreword for a book entitled Extreme Competition by Peter Fingar. I have reproduced the foreword here. In later columns this week, I will excerpt sections from the book. This is what I wrote:

Todays world looks very different from the vantage point of where I reside here in Mumbai, India. It is a world full of infinite opportunities as companies seek to leapfrog the legacy of decades of slow development. It is a world with youthful energy and money being unleashed as one navigates the new malls and restaurants coming up all over. It is a world where mobile phones connect people who never used a landline beforeand perhaps will never use a desktop computer, opting for more advanced NetPCs and wireless devices of all manner.

It is also a world where the services juggernaut in urban India is complemented by the largely agricultural rural economy, where hundreds of millions still live in poverty. Its a world where the old still exists and, at times, even dominates the new. The contrasts may be stark, but there is one thing that is ubiquitous in my homeland: Optimism! For the first time in living memory, there is a belief that tomorrow will be better than today. That perception alone can make all the difference. I see not just the Old India of yesterday, but the New India of tomorrow. It is an India that will be built in a world of extreme competition, and extreme opportunitiespowered by transformations and disruptions.

Disruptions are technological shifts that can provide opportunities for newcomers to take on incumbentsand perhaps usurp their power. It happens all the time. Todays king is not guaranteed to be tomorrows emperor. We have seen this in history and politics, and we also see it in business. While at times, incumbents hasten their downfall by questionable decisions (in retrospect), at other times entrepreneurial start-ups, with some luck, race their way to the top. While there is no magic formula, understanding disruptions and key trends is crucial for success. This is the journey Peter takes us throughfrom business process transformation creating real-time enterprises, to the combined buying power of the billions in the worlds emerging, underserved markets. Todays world is one of complexity, but a thorough understanding of the underlying principles can help in reaching new markets and customers.

I am a strong believer that there is a tectonic shift taking place in the world. The East is rising. And with a reverse brain drain of talent taking place from the West, innovations are now starting to flow from the worlds emerging marketswith the potential to blowback to the developed nations. Todays non-consumers are becoming the new battlegroundbecause their delight will shed light on the economic future of all nations. What is needed is an understanding of the present to build a vision of the future. Extreme Competition provides the needed framework to peer through the fog of today, and unravel the contours of tomorrow.

Tomorrow: The Book

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