Collective Action

Paul DiPerna has an interview with Howard Rheingold:

What is happening now has to do with not only the expanded capabilities of individuals, but the new forms of collective action that people will inevitably concoct with the technological platforms and the media that are built on those platforms. The action is on multiple levels simultaneously, just as it is in biology. Now, it’s the individual technology, the technical network, the application layer, the psychological, social, economic layers. In biology, it was the cellular, organ, organism, ecosystem layering.

Social Enterprise

Bambi Francisco discusses the future of the workplace in the context of the MySpace generation:

I imagine that this college student’s future corporate life will be as Web 2.0 as his consumer life is now — an egalitarian world in which everyone contributes, opines, votes, connects, shares and collaborates instantly.

For instance, by the time he starts receiving corporate memos, he may feel it’s his right to immediately post a comment or edit every one he reads, even if it’s an internal memo to employees from his CEO. He may also think that he has a say in voting on whether the memo should receive a thumbs up or thumbs down. Imagine a note to employees from future CEOs with links at the bottom that says “comments” and “ratings,” and, dare I say, “edit.” Talk about making higher-ups feel accountable, and out of control.

Widgets Future

Erick Schonfeld writes:

Since widgets are applications, they can be more than simple messages. Instead of a banner ad for the Gap, for instance, why not push a little piece of the Gap store right to a consumer’s browser at the point when she is thinking about buying a new sweater? Again, sounds good in theory. But getting people to opt into those types of marketing widgets will be no easy trick.

There are other potential widget business models also being explored, such as transactional widgets that kick back a percentage of any resulting Amazon/iTunes/eBay purchase or Google search. If they ever do take off, widgets also could be sponsored by advertisers, or even licensed outright by large media companies desperate to do anything to keep their shrinking audiences engaged. And then, of course, there is always the possibility of mini-advertisements in the widgets themselves. In the end, ads are like ants. They find their way into everything.

Carnival of the Mobilists – Khosla Post of the Year

Russell Buckley picks his top 10 posts:

1. Casual Mobile Snacks for Everyone
2. Mobile Gaming Blog
3. WAP 2006 Review
4. Murder of the iPod
5. Mobile Youth interviews
6.Qualcomm’s legal shenanigans
7.Pay Per Click advertising for the physical world
8. Current and future mobile applications
9.Problems with Coltan, the magic dust
10. A mobile phone better than the $100 laptop?

TECH TALK: A Tale of Two Covers: Newsweek

I have reproduced below a few paragraphs from the Newsweek story:

Entrepreneurs, philanthropists and established computer firms have for the better part of a decade invested millions of dollars to lower the cost of a desktop PC and develop cheaper alternatives. Intel has made its Eduwise laptop; AMD, a Personal Internet Communicator; Microsoft, the FonePlus. MIT computer guru Nicholas Negroponte’s Children’s Machine, now called the XO, is the most publicized recent attempt at converting the poor into computer users. But Negroponte’s idea is to spread computers to the poor, with the help of heavy subsidies from private and public philanthropy. His price is still about $140, too high for India. Indeed India rejected Negroponte’s offer of a million for cost reasons. Jain’s motive is different: he wants to make money.

And he knows India. Despite the country’s rise as an outsourcing hub, PCs are selling slowlyfar more slowly than mobile phones or motorbikesbecause they are too expensive, too complicated to use and too difficult to maintain. What people have been waiting for, some experts think, is a new approach to computing that boils the essence of Internet access down to its lowest costand lowest risk. Jain plans to offer all this in lease deals that include easy-to-use hardware, Internet connection, application software and servicefor $10 a month.

Jain makes an unusual agent for such sweeping change. He has none of the bombast of Oracle’s Larry Ellison. He lives more like a monk than a millionairethough he sold his first successful venture, IndiaWorld, for more than $100 million in 1999. Jain first got the idea to build a low-cost computer alternative back in 2000, when he realized Western PCs weren’t getting cheap enough fast enough to serve India’s needs. He considered buying secondhand computers from abroad, or opening cybercafs. Then he read about Oracle CEO Ellison’s plans for the so-called network computer. Maintenance and management costs for the PC were untenable, Ellison proclaimed, and businesses would soon save millions of dollars by putting software and data back onto their network servers. Ellison’s idea hadn’t taken off, Jain decided, because so many users in Western markets already had PCs and resisted the change. Jain realized that India would be a better target for the idea.

Tomorrow: Looking Ahead

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