Web 2.0 Future

Om Malik writes:

The way I see it, there is a lot of commonality in Indian food and Web 2.0. Even as early as 1990s, Indian food was not familiar to the American palette. It took a long time before people got used to the earthy aromas and spices. But once they did, the Indian restaurants blossomed in America. But even now I dont think people are adventurous enough to try anything other than Chicken Tikka Masala and/or Daal (Lentils) with rice.

It is the same thing with Web 2.0 technologies. Yahoo and AOL, two companies who know the mainstream consumer are introducing the Web 2.0 in Tikka sized chunks to the mainstreet. AOL AIMPages is a good example. So is My.Yahoo. There is enough RSS/Ajax/whatever that the mainstream consumer can handle. Google, which makes a heavy use of Web 2.0 technologies, in offerings such as GMail, but the mainstream users are not sweating the details. Microsofts Live offerings, though still popular with early adopters, are going to help spread the Web 2.0 philosophies in a manner the mainstream users can handle..

Mary Meeker on China

Fortune writes:

“China is about to become the leading nation in the world in terms of using TMT products and services,” she says. “China is No. 1 in mobile-phone usage and cable TV subscriptions, No. 2 in Internet users, and No. 4 in installed PCs, and growing fast.”

Meeker points to stocks that her colleague Richard Ji, who’s based in Hong Kong, recommends, such as wireless content provider TOM Online (Research), online game site NetEase (Research), and Web-based travel company Ctrip (Research).

When I point out that these stocks have doubled over the past two years and sport lofty P/Es, Meeker responds by telling me that the market value of all public Chinese Internet companies is $15 billion, while Japanese Internet companies are worth $75 billion.

Mobile Internet

Carlo Longino writes:

What many operators offer their customers very much isnt the Internet. Its not open, its not a place where the content one can access is limited by so many factors, or one where the network owner plays such a role in determining just what users can and cant do. But mostly, its not a place where users can easily find content theyre interested in.

There are two important takeaways here. First, users should be empowered to access whatever they want. This means no walled gardens, and powerful browsers that can access full HTML sites. Second, operators should focus on adding value to users internet experiences by recognizing that mobile browsing is different than browsing from a computer and add to (not replace) the open access with more customized services and sites for users that want them. It should be an additive strategy that takes full browsing capability as a starting point, then builds on top of it, not a plan that throws the Internet that people know and love out the window, then opens up tiny holes to let only particular content through.

Nintendo’s Wii

TIME writes about Nintendo’s blue ocean strategy with its game console:

Nintendo gave TIME the first look at its new gadget, which it hopes will turn girls and even granddads into video gamers.

Nintendo threw away the controller-as-we-know-it and replaced it with something that nobody in his right mind would recognize as video-game hardware at all: a short, stubby, wireless wand that resembles nothing so much as a TV remote control. Humble as it looks on the outside, it’s packed full of gadgetry: it’s part laser pointer and part motion sensor, so it knows where you’re aiming it, when and how fast you move it and how far it is from the TV screen. There’s a strong whiff of voodoo about it. If you want your character on the screen to swing a sword, you just swing the controller. If you want to aim your gun, you just aim the wand and pull the trigger.

Microsoft v Google

The New York Times provides a backgrounder to their rivalry which is shaping up to be an epic:

Business historians and management experts say the experience in two of the defining industries of the 20th century, mass-market retailing and automobiles, may well be instructive. The winners certainly scored higher in the generic virtues of business management: innovation, execution and leadership.

But perhaps even more significant, those who came out on top, judging from history, had two more specific attributes. They were the companies, according to business historians, that proved able to adapt to change instead of being prisoners of past success. And in their glory days, these corporate champions were magnets for the best and brightest people.

“One area where Microsoft and Google are really competing head-to-head now is in the war for talent,” said Richard S. Tedlow, a historian and professor at the Harvard Business School. “Historically, the company that won the war for talent, won the war.”

TECH TALK: Four Blog Years: How I Blog

I have now settled into a fixed style of blogging. Monday to Friday, there is the Tech Talk on a specific theme. At times, the series carries on for more than a week. On weekdays, I publish five additional posts which are mostly snippets of things I found interesting. On Saturdays, there are three more such posts while on Sundays, there are two. So, in a week, there are thirty blog posts on various topics mostly related to technology along with five Tech Talk columns. This routine has remained largely unchanged over the past year or so.

The Tech Talks are written in a continuous sitting on the weekend (mostly Sunday mornings). I keep a few topics on hand, but it is only when I sit in front of the computer and there is the pressure of a deadline that the real topic emerges! After writing out the Tech Talk, I send it to my colleague, Atanu Dey, for a language review in part because I dont like reading what I have written again! Atanu runs an editors eye on the writing and comes back with corrections and suggestions, which I then incorporate into the Tech Talks.

I create most of the other blog posts in advance so that I am not scurrying around in the morning trying to find items to publish! I spend time reading almost daily, and whenever I come across something interesting which Id like to remember and share, I put it as part of the blog. At any given time, I have a dozen or so blog posts in draft mode waiting to be published. Every morning, the decision is mostly about picking a section of those posts to be published on the blog.

This may not be blogging in the classical sense of the which is writing out ones thoughts. I tend to do that in my Tech Talks like this one. The discipline of reading and blogging helps me build and extend my mental maps of the world of technology. Comments from readers help embellish this process.

This has meant a significant time commitment from me considering that I have a full-time business to manage in Netcore, and investments in nine other companies, at least a few of which require some attention at any point in time. The reading-blogging combo has helped me a lot in putting together a set of ideas for the future. Many of my initiatives dont work out, but there are learnings which I use for the next set. I am willing to make big bets on the future (mobile internet, utility computing, event web, rich content over broadband and mobile, mobile payments, among others), and prepared for failure not necessarily of the idea, but of the venture.

Over the past year, the time available to me has reduced because of Abhisheks arrival into my life. I have had to give up a few things. But my commitment to blogging has remained unchanged.

Tomorrow: MyToday

Continue reading