Web Apps

Michael Mace writes:

I think the three most important developments we’re seeing in the web apps world are:

1. We’re learning how to create new communities rapidly and focus them on useful tasks.
2. The Web is spawning new forms of media at an unprecedented rate.
3. The Web apps platform is starting to evolve exponentially.

I know the Web apps world is overhyped, so I say this very carefully and very sincerely: I think any one of those trends would be enough to drive major changes in the tech industry and the world beyond. The fact that all three are happening at once is, to me, quite remarkable, and I think it’s going to have an enormous effect on our lives in the next 20 years.

Social Software

Fred Wilson writes:

Clay Shirky once said that social nets are like parties. When they are small, they are really great, when they get big and crowded, they cease to be useful. Again I can’t find that post, or I’d link to it.

Clay’s right. But a huge social net that’s made up of millions of smaller social nets is likely to be even more useful than anything that we currrently have.

I think the web has to become a social net. It’s on its way, but we don’t have a single profile (my blog is mine) that we can use everywhere. Not all software is social. Not all social software can handle a single distributed profile. I could go on and on. Marc and I did yesterday at lunch.

Brad Stone is right. Open and distributed networks are the future of social networks. They will be everywhere. But we can’t and won’t have hundreds of profiles. We need a single “name space” for profiles. That’s going to happen. MySpace and Facebook will fight it just like AOL and Prodigy didn’t embrace the web. But it’s unstoppable because the value that will accrue to the entire social web will be incredible when we get there.

Mobile Web 2.0 Ecosystem

Ajit Jaokar writes:

Currently, an Operators core asset is voice. I believe that VOIP and other technologies will cannibalise the Voice revenue. This is already happening. Hence, the core assets of a Telco will shift from Voice(current) to others like Identity, Location(which will power location based advertising), customer history(datamining complex customer segmentation) , billing etc. All of these new assets will be sold to third parties i.e. independent applications developers through APIs(Application programming Interfaces). Services themselves will be Plug and Play and the Operator will be the orchestrator of services(and not a pipe).

I believe that the answer lies not in a killer application but in a killer ecosystem if that phrase can be used. If we take this line of thinking to its logical conclusion, we are talking of a global, flat, process driven organization(or a federation of collaborating organizations) interlinked at the service layer.

SMS Servers vs PCs

O’Reilly Radar writes:

Sean Blagsvedt and Rajesh Veeraraghavan of Microsoft Research India presented at ETel last week. They told us about some amazing work they have been doing with mobile phones and SMS servers.

The SMS servers are being used to power an MSR project designed to test replacing PCs with SMS servers in the village of Warana (map). Mobile phones are used by farmers to access their data. In their system mobile phones become the client and SMS is used to communicate with the server.

The project is named Warana Unwired. Since the project has gone live it has processed 6000 SMS from 1238 different farmers (80% were data requests about sugarcane output). The time for farmers to get their data has dropped from 15 days originally, 2 days with a PC to immediate.

TECH TALK: Good Books: Buying Books

I cannot stay away from buying books. The small diary that I carry with me has a list of books that Id like to buy. Of course, I could also go and order them from Amazon but I like to see a book before I buy it. So, I prefer buying from a local bookshop if I can find it there. I like to buy only one or two books at a time so there is time to read them before I get the next couple.

I dont tend to read a book cover to cove. I tend to go through it rapidly, and then focus on the sections which help me think through the current set of challenges that I am facing. A book spurs thought. I find books a great source for new ideas. I tend to apply what I am reading to what I am thinking. So, even as a book has its own themes, while reading a book I create sub-themes of my own, which help in lateral thinking.

I come across new books while reading blog posts, reviews or recommendations from friends. I also tend to track some key people and look out for their new books. An example is Nassim Talebs forthcoming book The BlackSwan. When I come across a new book, I will do a quick check on Amazon. And then, if I think I should buy the book. I will add to the shopping cart and make an entry in my diary.

I also like to pick up books from a bookstore for another reason. One always finds something else which is interesting and something which no recommendation engine would have figured out! Bookshops are a favourite timepass place for me. So, I dont miss an opportunity to visit one.

And so it was, last Sunday, that I made my way to Oxford Book Store (near Churchgate in Mumbai) along with Abhishek. We had not started with that as the destination. But the Crossword Bookshop near my house at Kemps Corner now opens an hour later at 11 am. I discovered this when we reached there. We then took a bus and made our way to Oxford.

I left with three books in hand The Strategy Paradox by Michael Raynor, The Marketing Gurus by Chris Murray, and Know-How by Ram Charan. The first and third were on my list of books to check; the second was not.

Tomorrow: The Strategy Paradox

Continue reading