The Small Wide Web

Steve Rubel writes:

In the next few years, the “microchunking” of the content will take us deeper into our interests even more than the recent niche boom has.

Technologies such as RSS and web widgets are already enabling millions to digest only the slivers of content they care about on an a-la-carte basis. People are forgoing the rest.

Microformats, another emerging standard, will make things even smaller. The technology allows publishers to categorize information within a web page, such as event listings, so that they are more easily discovered through niche search engines.

Vertical Marketplaces

David Beisel writes:

One type of company largely uncovered in the web 2.0 blogosphere is the emergence of vertical marketplaces – or at least the framing of them that way. Of course, eBay has traditionally been the ultimate marketplace brining buyers and sellers together. And certainly the general online classifieds (like Craigslist), job boards (like Monster), and dating sites (like Match.com) have flourished since the dawn of the internet of “Web 1.0.” But I am beginning to see a set of additional verticals emerging outside these established forums, and it will be interesting to watch how they progress.

There are times when a general classified ad would do, but when a vertically focused connection service will better facilitate a transaction between interested parties. That is, as long as the market is liquid.

Startups and Business Plans

WSJ writes:

Budding entrepreneurs can spend months, sometimes years, polishing elaborate 50- to 100-page business plans that include financial projections, market research, and intricate details on day-to-day planning and organization. But skeptics say there’s little concrete evidence that extensive planning is highly correlated to success.

A more practical approach, they say, for entrepreneurs who aren’t seeking external start-up financing from venture capitalists or angel investors, is to write a “back-of-the-envelope” plan with basic financial projections, such as cash flow, and fine-tune the business model after launching the business.

Four Pillars and Enterprise Software

JP Rangaswami writes about his Syndication/Search/Fulfilment/Collaboration model and suggests that there’s a lot to learn from Netvibes:

# 1. It encapsulates syndication, search, conversation and fulfilment already. Yes its currently weaker on conversation and fulfilment, but the models already there.
# 2. It helps people visualise what it would mean to have traditional enterprise applications get demoted to becoming content publishers. Why do you think all the world and his wife are trying to patent RSS implementations? We should all rally round Dave Winer on this. RSS is for everyone; every attempt to patent a particular implementation just adds more gunk to the DRM gunge.
# 3. It exemplifies how single-sign on can work, how layers of application authentication and permissioning can get taken care of.
# 4. The powerful personalisation it represents is a sign of the times. Choose what you want to see, where you want to see it, how you want to see it. Mass customisation provided by relentless standardisation.

VRM Ideas

Doc Searls discusses a number of ideas on vendor relationship management:

First [is] data independence. The individual needs to own and control their own data, independent of vendors.

Second [is] the inside-out nature of relationships between customers and vendors. That is, customers are at the center — at the inside — and relate outward toward any number of vendors.

Third [is] the roles of reputation, intention and preference.

TECH TALK: 2007 Tech Trends: India: 2. Mobile Data Growth

The big story of the past few years has been the incredible rise in the mobile user base in India. Growth now in terms of new user additions is the fastest in the world. And there are plenty of new consumers still waiting to be tapped. 2007 will see the mobile user base cross 200 million.

I think the real story of 2007 will not be so much in the rising mobile base as the rise in mobile data services. India has the potential to lead in mobile data usage. Given that PC-based Internet growth has been slow (even though that is now changing), the mobile Internet offers a great opportunity for service providers in India.

Mobile phones now come with enough bells and whistles to be thought of as handheld networked multimedia computers. India has excellent mobile data networks on both the GSM and CDMA platforms. (On a recent train journey I took from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, the data connectivity on Hutch was almost continuous. Even in semi-urban areas, GPRS is available and offers very good speeds.) In fact, given that the focus for the operators is on new subscriber acquisition, the mobile data networks potential has been largely untapped.

Mobile phones with WiFi are already available for less than Rs 18,000 ($400). By the end of the year, these price points will fall by at least a third. Get a wireless access point at home and combine with a broadband connection, and suddenly, the mobile can now access data networks bypassing the operator and data charges. This will create the opportunity for an increasing array of data services.

Mobiles are the primary, and in many cases, the only network device that people have access to. In this context, there is a need to re-create the Internet for mobiles. What kind of services will people want? Given that the device is with them 24×7, what kind of interaction patterns will emerge? The mobile Internet is not about taking the existing desktop-based Internet and trying to compress it onto a small screen. Instead, it means thinking afresh on what people would want to do and then making those services available.

My belief is that the successful mobile data services will be focused around the N3 Web now, new, and near. It is the incremental web which will be the driver for the mobile. As part of this, it will be more subscription-driven rather than search-initiated. If one stops thinking of the mobile as a poor mans computer and instead thinks of it as a new interactive device, then the potential of what is possible starts to become apparent. 2007 will see the emergence of such innovative data services in India.

Tomorrow: Home Computing

Continue reading