A Million MySpaces

Business 2.0 writes:

What Rosenblatt is amassing are the resources to create a niche-driven, bottom-up online publishing conglomerate, one that can spawn an almost limitless number of narrow-focus websites at nearly zero marginal cost. Some will be existing shell domains gussied up with Rosenblatt’s “sprinkle”; others will be created from scratch and turned into insta-brands. Some of the content will be professional; most will be user-generated.

“There are 59 million blogs out there, so we know people want to publish,” Rosenblatt says. “You give them the tools, you give them an audience, and you pay them; then they tell you what they like – and you follow them to the verticals where they gravitate.”

Thus Rosenblatt’s answer to what comes after MySpace: a million micro-MySpaces.

Rethinking Feed Readers

Michael Parekh writes:

It’s not going to be long before mainstream cable and media offer subscription streams for every imaginable type of video content, coming into your DVR and/or home server.

And it’s not just subscription services to PC or even TVs anymore. Let’s not forget SMS subscriptions on your cell phones (or mobiles as they’re known overseas).

It’s time we re-thought feeds readers of all types for mainstream folks, and really reduce the stress in their online lives.

Steve Ballmer’s Microsoft

The New York Times writes:

Running a storied enterprise like Microsoft software heavyweight, geyser of cash, corporate icon is about much more than energy and commitment, says Steven A. Ballmer, the companys chief executive. It is all but a calling, an article of faith.

Youve got to be very realistic about where you are, but very optimistic about where you can be, he said during interviews this month. And the day you cant be both of those things, you shouldnt be a leader of a company like Microsoft. You have to believe; you have to believe; you have to believe.

In the Ballmerian world view, failure is not an option. If we dont get it right at first, well just keep coming and coming and coming and coming, he says.

Nokia N800

David Beers discusses Nokia’s N800 Internet Tablet and writes:

What neither PDAs nor smartphones have really been able to do very well is help you keep all your valuable data, media and applications on your person all the time. Laptops, thumbdrives and web applications have all tried to fill this need, each with gaps or compromises. Another pain point that none of these mobile solutions has adequately answered is the need that many people have for taking and managing handwritten notes. Looking at the N800, which wasn’t really intended to answer these problems, I can see that with the right software it could be closer than anything we’ve seen to date for solving them.

All that’s missing are mobile and desktop companion applications (email, office doc, PIM, browser, RSS reader) that can share the mass storage on the device: the mobile version running on the device processor and screen, the desktop version running on the PC processor and screen when the device is connected to it.

Mobile Web Ads

WSJ writes:

Viewing Web sites on cellphones isn’t a mass pastime in the U.S. quite yet. Screens are tiny, download speeds are often slow and fees can pile up. Yet a sliver of people — about 15% of U.S. cellphone users, according to research firm M:Metrics Inc. — do surf online via their phones, checking out entertainment, news and other sites. The experience is similar to surfing the Internet via a personal computer, except the number of sites that are fashioned for cellphone screens is much smaller. The owners of these sites have a supply of viewers, and there is plentiful demand among advertisers to reach young, tech-savvy people.

AdMob and another upstart, Third Screen Media, act as middlemen in the business. Advertisers need these companies’ help in harnessing technology to deliver an ad on a phone without glitches. Site owners often prefer to turn their supply of ad space over to middlemen rather than trying to beat the bushes for potential advertisers.

TECH TALK: When Bad Things Happen: Seeing The Good

There was another by-product of the domain name shift, and perhaps in retrospect a very important one. Even though we had restarted as indiaworld.co.in, the .co.in extension was not an intuitive one. People still typed indiaworld.com and ended up at the wrong portal. That made me think about creating vertical properties like khoj.com, khel.com, samachar.com and bawarchi.com. In retrospect, I should have just changed indiaworld.co.in to something else with a .com suffix, but I was too obsessed with IndiaWorld to let it go. Nevertheless, the vertical portals were big hits as soon as we launched them. If it had not been for the November 1996 incident, we would never have probably thought of this strategy.

So, that is lesson number five: In every Adversity, there is Opportunity. One has to see the silver lining. It is not easy doing this. At the time when a business is seriously impacted, it is almost impossible to think about what the brighter side can be. But if one can step back and think, one will see that there is always some good which will come out of these situations.

I tend to view these situations as Turning Points. We experienced one last week on Thursday. Even as I write this, I know that we moved our own thinking up a notch. We were suddenly shaken out of our shell. And that will serve us well in the long-term. As I sat in the war room with my colleagues, we generated more ideas and insights into our business in those few hours than we had in the past few months. We now have very clear plans on how to move ahead. Suddenly, everything seemed to fall in place even though we had a crisis on our hands. But I was confident that it would pass though I did know then when and how. All I knew is that we would remember January 25, 2007 as a day when we all Grew Up!

There is one more thing which comes out of these Bad Things and that is lesson number six: the need to have backups for the weak links. When one is running a business, one doesnt always tend to create fallback plans. At times, the constraint is resources. At other times, one is just too optimistic. Nevertheless, there is a very strong need for entrepreneurs to think about what are the weak links in the chain, and what is needed to create backup options for these. The alternatives may not be perfect but at least they will give the entrepreneur some time to think in a calm and composed manner when calamity strikes.

Tomorrow: Looking Ahead

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