Get Big Cheap

David Cowan writes:

The winning recipe today for aspiring entrepreneurs is GET BIG CHEAP. Dont waste expensive development on untested ideas, and dont let a fat marketing budget mask a weak value proposition. If instead you tinker your way to scalable organic growth, youll have a valuable business on your hands. Dont worry about how long it takesjust make sure your burn rate is low enough to accommodate several cycles of iteration.

There’s never been a better time to start a company. Find a community underserved by technology be they disenfranchised American teenagers, bored commuters in Asia, or small business advertisers in Europe and repeatedly craft a better user experience for them until you GET BIG CHEAP.

TV Advertising Future

Ed Sim writes: “I don’t believe that television advertising will go away but that it must be reinvented quickly and that advertisers must embrace rather than fear new technology. And as we move into the future, rather than focus on broadband vs. television (digital vs. analog), I also see a world where both sides can work with each other to effectively deliver better results for advertisers. As video becomes increasingly more fragmented and viewed on various systems and devices (television, VOD, broadband, gaming systems, cable, mobile, iPods), it will be imperative for advertisers to have an easy way to manage and optimize their video advertising campaigns wherever the audience is. In addition, the more progressive advertisers will try to figure out how to marry online ad optimization with the offline world. For example, let’s say you are an advertiser and your online ad for a specific mortgage product for ARMs is getting more clicks in a certain geography versus one for fixed rate mortgages. Using that data from the Internet, wouldn’t it be great if you could change your television commercial so that the next airing has an updated offer for ARMs instead of for fixed rates?”


Read/Write Web has a post on what to expect:

We see 3 scenarios for a GoogleOS:

* A web based desktop (i.e. operating system)
* A full featured Linux distribution
* A lightweight Linux distro and/or BIOS

The Promise of the Internet

The Economist’s The World In 2007 has a column by Google CEO Eric Schmidt:

The past few years have taught us that business models based on controlling consumers or content dont work. Betting against the net is foolish because youre betting against human ingenuity and creativity.

In 2007 well witness the increasing dominance of open internet standards. As web access via mobile phones grows, these standards will sweep aside the proprietary protocols promoted by individual companies striving for technical monopoly. Todays desktop software will be overtaken by internet-based services that enable users to choose the document formats, search tools and editing capability that best suit their needs.

Metadata and Folksonomy

Elaine Peterson writes:

The choice to use folksonomy for organizing information on the Internet is not a simple, straightforward decision, but one with important underlying philosophical issues. Although folksonomy advocates are beginning to correct some linguistic and cultural variations when applying tags, inconsistencies within the folksonomic classification scheme will always persist. There are no right or wrong classification terms in a folksonomic world, and the system can break down when applied to databases of journal articles or dissertations. Folksonomists are confusing cataloging structure with personal opinions and subsequent social bookmarking. These are not the same thing, and they need to be separated.

A traditional classification scheme based on Aristotelian categories yields search results that are more exact. Traditional cataloging can be more time consuming, and is by definition more limiting, but it does result in consistency within its scheme. Folksonomy allows for disparate opinions and the display of multicultural views; however, in the networked world of information retrieval, a display of all views can also lead to a breakdown of the system.

David Weinberger has a counterpoint.

TECH TALK: 15 Years as an Entrepreneur: 1991-94

Almost exactly 15 years ago, in November 1991, I walked into my manager’s cabin at NYNEX and told him of my desire to quit and return to India. I had been at NYNEX just over two years. I was following a script decided before I went to the US for my MS. My father had then told me: Finish your MS in 9 months, work 2 years, and then come back. He had done exactly the same in the mid-60s when he went to the US. I was leaving NYNEX not to take up another job, but to embark on the path to being an entrepreneur. And so it was that in early December 1991, at age 24, I quit the only company I have worked for and started out on the road to entrepreneurship.

Fifteen years is a long time. And yet, there are times when it feels like only yesterday. Much of this period is a blur of ups and downs, but some memories stand out. It has been an exhilarating journey. There have been plenty of missteps and mistakes that I have made during this period. There have also been a few right things. When I look back to that decision in 1991 and the subsequent set of decisions and actions, what stands out is the richness of life’s variety. In this Tech Talk series, I will share some of these experiences and also look ahead.

Let’s start at the beginning. The decision to set out on my own was always quite clear to me. I had seen my father in a similar avatar. He had tried multiple things in his life as an entrepreneur some ideas worked, others did not. But he never stopped learning and trying. For me, there was no other way I’d have wanted to live my life. It was also quite clear to me when I was in the US that I would be an entrepreneur in India. Staying back in the US was not an option. So, a few months after I quit NYNEX, I was back in India with a friend and partner to set up a software products company with big ambitions.

Little went right for the next couple of years. We tried various things from multimedia databases to electronic parts catalogs to image processing software for metallurgists and doctors. We even tried our hand at making multimedia presentations for companies to make ends meet. It was a downward spiral we were on. Looking back at that period, I cannot think of too many things we did right. Yet, it wasn’t that obvious then. I thought I could do no wrong. I thought of myself as the person with the Midas touch. An IIT education complemented with higher studies in the US and a work stint at a premier telecom company what better background could one ask for? But as an entrepreneur and manager, the skills to build a sustainable profitable business were just not there. It was failure after failure and finally, in late 1994, I took a decision to switch tracks. Life could not go on the way it was. The business had to die. A new business had to created.

Tomorrow: 1994-99