The latest issue of Business Today has a cover story on the Indian Internet. It also features an article by me. I will publish it here on Monday.
Matthew Hurst writes about an event at UC, Berkeley.
Currently, the main stream search engines are doing a poor job of integrating social media in their results. Conversely, blog search engines take no advantage of the main stream web to analyse the influence and content of blogs. Social media may be thought of as an annotation stream on the main stream web. This model suggests some interesting ways to get leverage out of the differences between these two areas of the web. Main stream web can be used to rank social media content, and social media (blog) content could be used to rank the main stream web.
David Beisel writes:
Much of the technology press attention on the digital media space (both mainstream and blog) has covered consumers consumption inside the home (web, digital audio and video) or on their own devices when they leave the home. Yet the availability of digital media has the opportunity to spread to the entire real estate of public life.
Is there a day in the future when property owners with public space, like shopping malls, become media companies focusing on selling not just physical store inventory but also ad inventory?
Nancy Broden writes about a Punchcut study. “Analysis of our results showed that social networking activities form an ecosystem that crosses device or channel. All methods were brought into service in order to meet the goal of creating and maintaining relationships, but those methods were not interchangeable. Study participants used all of the tools available to them in performing their social networking activities and chose a method – mobile phone or PC – based on the context and the appropriateness of the tool to the activity in question. In fact, most our participants networked via PC and mobile phone at the same time, but for different purposes. The PC was chosen most often by study participants for content creation and access but their mobile phones were more suitable for keeping them abreast of real-time developments in their network. The most compelling social networking experiences were those that supported the use of a variety of tools on the mobile phone and PC yet took advantage of the strengths of each.”
Thomas has an amazingly detailed study on mobile use in Kenya.
VentureBeat has a post by Igor Shoifot about “the ingredients to success in todays brutal Web 2.0 world.”
1. Work: get customers by resolving real pains, listen to them, create what they really want/enjoy, more importantly – co-create with them, address technological issues of scalable growth, build multiple revenue streams, greedily capture the key distribution channels by being valuable to the channels, incentivize, put low cost at the foundation of your growth and assure that growth brings business, not just eyeballs (that is, unless you are in a magnificent real estate business a la Youtube/Skype/Myspace).
2. Play: give customers real and compelling reasons to come back, and often, get their creativity going, make them enjoy (better: compete) expressing themselves, turn them into your best marketers by honestly serving them better than anyone and by passing as much value onto them as you can (or even more!), build viral growth mechanisms (and, no, incessant daily emails reminding your users to buy something are not a viral growth channel).
3. Shut up: If you really-really want to succeed for sure, then forget about everything else in life and concentrate on what youre building, that is, yes on #1 (working) and #2 (playing).
Let us summarise the key points so far. My contention is that the next Internet what I call the Emerging Internet — will be built around mobiles, rather than PCs. It will be a window to the Live Web, rather than the Reference Web. Subscriptions, rather than Search, will be the way we will interface with the Live Web. Invertising, and not Advertising will be dominant business model in the Emerging Internet. And to take it one step further, the company that will dominate this new Internet will not be Google or one of the existing players.
If one looks at a bit of history, it is hard to find the leader of one era continue to dominate the next one. IBM dominated mainframes. Its leadership was usurped by Intel and Microsoft as the game shifted to personal computers. Yahoo first, and then Google, have dominated the landscape in the Internet era.
As the scene shifts to mobiles, its more than a change of screen sizes. How the device gets used changes. And so do business models. Microsoft makes its money from software which Google now gives away free. Google makes its money from advertising which helps in new customer acquisition for businesses. But as businesses build relationships with customers, the repeat business for companies like Google will lessen giving rise to new intermediaries, almost the anti-Google (just as Google is in many ways the anti-Microsoft which itself was the anti-IBM).
This may be hard to believe now given Googles dominance. But just 6-7 years ago, Googles current domination would have been impossible to believe. So, times change, and so does market leadership. For a new leader to emerge, many things have to go right and have plenty of luck. It also needs the courage to stand alone and not be tempted to sell out, however attractive the offers. It also needs to create an environment where it creates an ecosystem around itself thus making it a hub for new business activity.
I believe that emerging markets like India offer a great opportunity for giving rise to the new leader because they are where this new world built around mobiles, the Live Web, subscriptions and invertising will first emerge. Because shifts are going to happen on multiple dimensions, it will be hard for the existing leaders to match. Exciting times lie ahead as they have always! Innovation and entrepreneurship-led change is the only constant.