Jotspot’s Suite Plans

Nicholas Carr writes:

JotSpot is getting more ambitious. It’s transforming its wiki tool into a wiki platform – a Swiss Army Knife of office applications that run inside wiki pages. There’s word processing, spreadsheets, calendars, personal directories, even a photo gallery. JotSpot seems to be pinning its hopes on being a web version of Microsoft Office.

Can mini-Offices survive in an Office world? To see the challenge that a company like JotSpot faces, just listen to how it’s positioning its new suite. “It has some of the familiarity and functionality of Office,” Kraus tells MacManus; “it’s wikis meets Microsoft Office.” On the JotSpot site, the company says its word processor is “just like Microsoft Word.” It says its spreadsheet application “feels just like Microsoft Excel but on the web!” All of which leads to a simple question: Why do I need stuff that’s like Microsoft Office when I already have Office?

MySpace Forthcoming Attractions

Hollywood Reporter writes:

What’s next for FIM is leveraging MySpace’s online community and communication into a peer recommendations framework for leads on everything and anything: the best children’s playgrounds in Los Angeles to the best concert seats in Madison Square Garden to the best steakhouse in Dallas. Such peer recommendations provide a gentle seaway into targeted, fine-tuned behavioral marketing for national and local advertisers wanting to reach MySpace’s 15- to 34-year-old core user.

News Corp.’s challenge is to utilize that viral marketing and communications to develop a host of next-generation media services in-house so as to keep the lion’s share of the revenue they will generate. Most significantly, FIM is developing refined advertising tracking, pricing and sales tools that will cater to every new-media platform and device, and quantify the collective reach of content and services reaching consumers anywhere, anytime.

Push Media on Mobiles

Business 2.0 writes:

Motorola and some mobile-software startups are saying that pushing news stories and other on-the-go content to cell phones makes sense, and could help wireless carriers sell more data plans.

Surfing the Web on a cell phone today is a lot like surfing the Web was a decade ago – connections are poor, downloads are slow, and image quality is iffy. And if you wander out of an area with network coverage, you’re knocked offline. That’s why push has a role to play.

The Venice Project

Business Week writes:

Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the entrepreneurs who created the pioneering Web applications Kazaa and Skype, are working on a new communications venture, BusinessWeek.com has learned. The pair plans to develop software for distributing TV shows and other forms of video over the Web, according to people familiar with the matter.

Working under the code name “The Venice Project,” Zennstrom and Friis have assembled teams of top software developers in about a half-dozen cities around the world, including New York, London, and Venice. The teams are currently in negotiations with TV networks, although it’s not clear whether any agreements have been reached.

TECH TALK: Good Books: The Change Function (Part 2)

Tom Evslin wrote about the book: Its important, says Pip, not to confuse a perceived crisis on the part of the would-be vendor with a crisis on the part of the prospect. The oft-failed Picturephone (not be confused with cell phones that take pictures) was an answer to a crisis felt by telcos, not their customers. They needed new high-margin products. TPPA (Total Perceived Pain of Adoption) for this product/service has always been high both because we arent used to being seen when we talk remotely AND because the first users (and someone has to be the first user) cant find anyone else to talk to.

It’s a great read — and a great reality check for those like me who believe in the build it and they will come approach! This excerpt captures the essence of the book:

My aim is to address two key issues that exist in the technology industry today.

ISSUE 1: HIGH-TECH FAILURE RATES STINK
The commercial failure rate of nominally great new
technologies is troublingly high.
That failure rate is consistent with the hatred and distrust
most normal human beings — which I like to call Earthlings
tend to have of high technology.
That hatred and distrust is a bummer since our little planet
can use all the help technology might provide.

ISSUE 2: SUPPLIERS THINK THEY ARE IN CHARGE BUT IN REALITY USERS ARE IN CHARGE
The technology industry operates according to an implicit
supplier-oriented assumption.
That assumption is that if one builds great new disruptive
technologies and lets cost reduction kick in,
markets will naturally appear.This is known as
build it and they will come.

This mentality is a major problem. Adopting a new technology requires changing the habits of users. The industry acts as if change is easy when its actually quite difficult. Users will change their habits when the pain of their current situation is greater than their perceived pain of adopting a possible solution — this is the crux of The Change Function .

I believe that users are always in charge and that supply is a necessary but not sufficient condition for commercial success. Companies and products geared toward this holistic user orientation will succeed at far greater rates than those stuck in a supplier-oriented mind-set.

The goal of this book is to look at what has failed in the past, to understand how the industry came to be in the position it is in today. And, through the prism of The Change Function, to spotlight examples of what might and might not work in the future and to examine a few corporate cultures that seem to get it. But this is not eight easy steps to success. Change is not easy.

Tomorrow: Everyware

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