TECH TALK: A New Mass Market (Part 5)

The third of the W elements is perhaps the most interesting and at the same-time, open-ended. Weblogs are creating a new two-way web. This is a true example of grassroots user energy in action. Weblogs can also serve as the base for a new read-write environment within the enterprise. This opens up perhaps the most opportunities for innovation.

For example, think of a new digital dashboard on the desktop (thin client) built using instant outlining and weblogging for use within the organisation. This takes the idea of blogs (knowledge blogs, narratives, story-telling) to its logical conclusion in the context of the enterprise. This can be built using XML-RPC/SOAP, RSS, OPML as the building blocks.

Outlining helps people to write hierarchically. Instant Outlining takes what they have written and enables it to be shared with others. Most of the “new users” (new to computers) need a simple read-write environment. The Outliner is a good start. It needs to be placed it in a collaborative context. Weblogs are the next step. Outliners are good for short points, and are more likely to be arranged by task/person/project. Blogs complement outliners in that they are naturally suited for longer writing and doing so chronologically (organised by time). Taken together, Instant Outlining and Weblogs create a read-write environment which complements (or even reduces the need for) Mail and the Word Processor.

The Endor a New Beginning?

Once again, let us put these thoughts in context. We are not trying to displace the existing technologies. We are talking of making available a new set of products to open up new markets. (New products and new markets are often described as the suicide quadrant in marketing!) The new markets are in the worlds less developed countries. The new users are the ones who have not used computing before — the worlds computer base is only 500 million, which means at least a billion more users could do with computing.

The game set in place by Microsoft, Intel and Cisco has just begun. The options are very clear: we can either accept the Technology Raj of todays imperial superpowers and pay for dollar-denominated technology with lots of our rupees, or create our own version of the Independence movement and do for India and Indians what it did in 1947 herald a new dawn and a new beginning. The choice is ours.

Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 were published earlier in the week.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.