The Expert Mind

VC Confidential writes:

Chess has been called the “Drosophila of cognitive science” (in honor of the experimental fly) because it can be measured, broken into components, observed and modified. Much of the research in cognitive science has been around trying to understand the “Expert Mind” and whether its skills are innate or acquired. More importantly, how does the Expert Mind process information so quickly and effectively? Can others learn to do likewise?

Following up on my Passion for Greatness post, I wanted to layout the heart of a recent Scientific American article on this subject. Like the Fortune article, the conclusion was “training trumps talent”. Studies have shown no correlation between Chess grandmasters and IQ, visual-spatial ability or memory. There is no correlation between professional horse handicappers and mathematical abilities. Rather most experts seem to organize information into distinct “chunks” which are then efficiently processed. This ability to form fixed patterns is driven by (you guessed it) “effortful” study and practice.

Customer Service is the New Marketing

Brad Burnham writes after a meeting with Craig Newmark of Craigslist:

Customer service is the new marketing because you can realize the radical efficiencies of the web only by enlisting the users of the service as co-contributors. The best web services provide bandwidth, cpu, storage and a governance system and then their users create the service. This is certainly true of Craigslist but it is also true of more commercial implementations like YouTube, Flickr, and So if your users are your co-contributors, your co-creators really, what does it mean to sell them?

If you need to convince your contributors of the value of your service you have probably already lost. All of the web services I mentioned are free, so selling them doesnt make literal sense anyway. What you can do is serve them, and serving them is the best marketing you can do. Why, because only by serving them, can you learn what it is that would make the service more useful to them.

South Korea’s High Mobile Speeds

BBC has a story on wireless broadband in South Korea:

You can take your pick from 10-megapixel camera phones, to bespoke phones with elementary mixing for budding teenage DJs.

If you have got more serious musical inclinations, a fancy candybar phone should see you right, with a whopping 8GB in its hard drive – enough for 2000 tracks.

Also competing for your attention on the handset is a virtual pooch, who responds according to affection you bestow, and if you happen across a similar phone owner you can cross-breed a puppy and then give it up for adoption to another user.

Then there are the handsets with built-in motion sensors, so you can play games, make music or enhance the core functions of the phone – like speed dialling by waving your arms in the air.

Corporate Blogging

From an article in Business Standard:

Corporate blogging, though in its infacy, has got a shot in the arm with this post. It is estimated that 40 Fortune 500 companies publish corporate blogs, allowing CEOs, employees to bypass the public relations department, journalists and industry analysts and speak directly to the public. Amazon, Cisco and Oracle were early adopters with AMD, Dell, Kodak, GE, Intel, Microsoft, Sun, Yahoo and Xerox following suit.

Not much is happening in India on this front, though. Of course, Infosys has its weblogs called and Rajesh Jain (one of the pioneers of the Internet in India) has his But we dont have a Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani or an Azim Premji blogging like Schwartz.

Open-Source Start-ups

WSJ writes:

Zimbra sprouted from a revolution in the software industry that looms as a long-term threat to Microsoft and other giants. At its heart is a virtual army of software hobbyists who collaborate online to create free programs. Like bloggers and YouTube addicts, they hang out on the Web at all hours, largely for no pay.

Now, start-up companies are helping themselves to this software, piecing it together like Lego blocks into new commercial products. Often, they post the products’ underlying code on the Web and tap more volunteers to help improve it. Then they sell the software online, saving the cost of a large sales force.

TECH TALK: Two 2.0 Events: Mobile 2.0 Conference

The Mobile 2.0 conference also took place last week in San Francisco. The focus: Focusing on the Mobile Web and Disruptive Mobile Innovation.

GigaOm wrote:

While everyone is swarming around the Web 2.0 conference today, yesterdays Mobile 2.0 conference1 was a more calm event that showed off some interesting mobile startups and examined trends like mobile-created content2, access to the web via cell phones and mobile browsers.

Regardless, while Web 2.0″ companies3 are getting a rush of funding, mobile content companies are starting to following the same path. I was chatting with Anurag Nigam, the CEO behind the mobile search service 411Sync4, about if there would ever be a day where the idea of Mobile 2.0 is as big as Web 2.0. Its getting there, he says. Vodafones Dan Appelquist, who helped organize the event says on his blog that the conference helped him realize that we are at a turning point for the mobile Web5. But he also adds while hes live-blogging from Web 2.0 that the message of Mobile 2.0 isnt being heard at Web 2.0.

Brian Fling has a great summary of the learnings. Among them: It was obvious that in the minds of many, Mobile 2.0 is the web. Mobile is already a platform, but the consensus was that leveraging the power of the web, integrating web services into the mobile medium is the future of mobile If Mobile 2.0 is the Web, then the mobile web browser is the next killer app. There were many discussions about the future of mobile browsers, their capabilities and what the future holds There is a lot of focus on AJAX being the next big hurdle to the mobile web experience Using Javascript on a mobile phone consumes A LOT of power There was a lot of discussion about widgets With so much focus on the mobile web, it became obvious to me that everyone is looking for a way around the carriers The most memorable moment was when Tony Fish forwarded the theory that we are not consumers at all, but creators. When everyone has the tools to create content, in addition to zero-cost publishing, we do not consume content, we create it.

Dr Paddy Byers had an extensive report on the event: The community is still at the stage of understanding whats happening in mobile, the degree to which regular web technologies apply, and starting to learn about the barriers and opportunities there are. Ask two people what they think Mobile2.0 means and you will get different answers. His conclusion: There are many parallels between the mobile web today and the embryonic web of 1994: its too slow, there are walled gardens, poor interoperability, accessibility problems and child content protection issues. However, in many respects the prospects are a lot better: there is much more content, more and better equipped developers, business models and mature industry; the content includes rich applications, not just a web of documents; and there are billions of potentially connected users for whom web access isnt a novelty These are the factors that will lead the mobile web to be truly ubiquitous and productive.

So, two conferences and many stories. More importantly, they both give a glimpse of tomorrows world which will really be the Mobile Web 2.0.

Continue reading