The Implicit Web

Fred Wilson writes:

The implicit web is all about the value that will accrue to an Internet user when their every action is tracked, recorded, and used to provide value back to that user. There is also a second order play when that clickstream activity is shared with the user’s permission with everyone else.

This concept can be used in almost any activity you do on the web. Take shopping for example. Amazon does a decent job of capturing the activity in our account and recommending new stuff for us. But we use an aggregated account at Amazon, so the Gotham Gal’s books, Jessica’s music, my gadgets all get lumped into one profile. What if I had a profile of all my web activity and I could express it to any web store the minute I arrived? Amazon could do a much better job of recommending stuff for me. So could eBay. So could Netflix. But take it one step further, connect me to other people who are looking at and buying stuff just like me. Let me see what they are buying and where and why. That’s social shopping in my book.

Social Networking Awards

[via Wireless Duniya] By Mashable!. Among the winners:

1. Mainstream and Large Scale Networks
Mashables Choice: MySpace
Peoples Choice: Multiply
Hot for 2007: Bebo, Vox, Facebook, Facebox

2. Widgets and Add-Ons
Mashables Choice: Slide.com
Peoples Choice: Zwinky
Hot for 2007: RockYou, Stickam, Snocap, Zingfu, MyBlogLog

eBay Architecture

[via Sadagopan] Presentation here. Sadagopan writes:

Look at eBay’s scale and complexity. It manages 212,000,000 registered users with over 1 billion photos 105 million listings at any time, eBay usres worldwide trade more than $1500 worth of goods every second clocking 1 billion pageviews every day, eBay is a modern day miracle. eBay is said to be storing 2 Petabytes of data 200 times the library of congress and the platform handles 3 billion API calls/month. A sense of the dynamism involved is best illustrated by facts about scale and complexity of eBay operations like as under:
– 300 + features per quarter
– 100,000 LOC rolled out every two weeks
– >26 billion SQL executions/day

A very interesting talk for anyone who is working or wanting to work on architecting big websites.This is the sort of wisdom that mere formal education wont provide. This is distilled wisdom based on years of experience.

2007 Blogging Predictions

From Duncan Riley. Among them: “Its sad to note that there has been no great innovation in the blogosphere since the successful uptake of WordPress some 2-3 years ago. Of course, WordPress success itself is a quirk of history, being in the right place at the right time, particularly as SixApart imposed fees on its user base. But where in the past, every year bought great innovation, from GreyMatter to MovableType to WordPress, and others in between, the last few years have been a barren wasteland of conformity and similarity. Whether 2007 will provide a great new innovation of blogging is, I suppose, best left to conjecture, but word that AOL may release Blogsmith in one form or another offers some hope. Surely, amongst the masses of VC funding and startups a company exists that will revolutionise blogging for us all once again.”

TECH TALK: The Best of 2006: 7. Bottom of Pyramid Innovation

CK Prahalad has been championing innovation for the bottom of the pyramid for some time. He elaborated these ideas in an article around the theme of the innovation sandbox:

The process for designing…breakthrough innovations started with the identification of the following four conditions all of which are difficult to realize, even when taken one at a time:

1.The innovation must result in a product or service of world-class quality.
2.The innovation must achieve a significant price reduction at least 90 percent off the cost of a comparable product or service in the West.
3.The innovation must be scalable: It must be able to be produced, marketed, and used in many locales and circumstances.
4.The innovation must be affordable at the bottom of the economic pyramid, reaching people with the lowest levels of income in any given society.

In countries like India, with 700 million bottom-of-the-pyramid consumers at varying levels of income, the need for innovations that meet these criteria is now becoming obvious. The seemingly impossible demand of a hitherto unserved customer base a $20 hotel room in an environment of $250 to $300 hotels, or a cookstove for use by an impoverished villager became, in this case, a specification for starting the innovation process.

This approach could be called an innovation sandbox because it involves fairly complex, free-form exploration and even playful experimentation (the sand, with its flowing, shifting boundaries) within extremely fixed specified constraints (the walls, straight and rigid, that box in the sand). The value of this approach is keenly felt at the bottom-of-the-pyramid market, but any industry, in any locale, can generate similar breakthroughs by creating a similar context for itself.

Why do multinational corporations find it hard to embrace these approaches? The answer may lie in the dominant logic of successful companies: the business practices that have been successful in the past, the mind-set tied to those old practices, the internal evaluation systems that reinforce this mind-set, and the daunting problem of lack of experience in the new way of operating. The zone of comfort drives away the zone of opportunity. If managers believe that 80 percent of humanity is too poor to pay for our products and services and is not part of our target market, then a new offering at one-fiftieth the price of the current offering, made without sacrificing quality and at the same time ensuring the companys profitability, looks at first glance like an impossible task. So those managers assume that the idea will be impossible; instead, they make minor changes to existing products and business models, start endeavors that often fail, and conclude from those failures that success was indeed impossible.

Tomorrow: Biofuels

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