How Ideas Spread

Guy Kawasaki quotes Seth Godin (from his new book “Small is the New Big”):

For an idea to be spread, it needs to be sent and received.

No one sends an idea unless:

1. They understand it.
2. They want it to spread.
3. They believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their peace of mind.
4. The effort to send the idea is less than the benefits.

No one gets an idea unless:

1. The first impression demands further investigation.
2. They already understand the foundation ideas necessary to get the new idea.
3. They trust or respect the sender enough to invest the time.

Notice that ideas never spread because they are important to the originator.

Notice, too, that a key element in the spreading of the idea is the capsule that contains it. If its easy to swallow, tempting, and complete, its far more likely to get a good start.

All Advertising

Om Malik writes about the rise of online ad networks:

that there are some other problems which these networks will have to contend with: the availability of crack sales teams with deep relationships with the advertising community, that typically moves at a pace slower than the Silicon Valley. The shortage of advertising sales talent is the Achilles heel of the new Web 2.0 ecosystem. (Ironically, the old media has a built in advantage here.)

Think about it this way desktop applications that were once sold as shrink-wrap is now advertising supported. 411 services that cost as much as $1.99 a minute are being replaced by ad-supported services, and well even AOL is kissing a multi-billion dollar access business goodbye and replacing it with an ad-only model. Even Bill Gates has espoused a future where many of Microsofts services will be bolstered by advertisements.

3D Printers

WSJ writes:

In the past four years, designers of a variety of products, including shoes and cellphones, have been buying specialized office printers costing $20,000 to $50,000 that can quickly produce a plastic model using computer-aided-design, or CAD, software.

Though they resemble typical office copiers on the outside, these are not ink-on-paper printers. Rapid prototyping machines were pioneered by 3D Systems Corp., of Valencia, Calif., nearly 20 years ago. They work by taking computer-aided-design data and using it to build a device layer by layer. Inside a 3D printer, either a print head shoots out plastic particles and glue, or an ultraviolet or laser beam passes over a liquid resin bath, hardening a layer of plastic, 3/100ths of an inch thick, in a computer-generated shape. Then the machine builds layer upon layer until the full model is completed, one to four hours later.

Internet’s Disprutive Effects

Tom Foremski writes:

The disruption is happening in the media sector because the Internet is a media technology, it enables publishing and distribution. Google, Yahoo, Ebay, Amazon, etc, are all media companies, they publish pages of content and advertising.

This realization has become important in my thinking and analysis of trends. And now, with this next stage, what I call Internet 2.0 (not web 2.0 because it is more than just web) the disruptive effect will be even larger.

And this time around, every company is a media company to a greater or lesser degree. Because every company tells stories, it publishes to its customers, to its staff, to its new hires. We now have two-way media technologies and those that can adapt and master those technologies, and become technology-enabled media companies, will survive.

SMS and MMS Opportunities

VentureWoods has a very insightful commentary by Ashish Tomar of Nokia. Here is his take on SMS:

SMS is a 15-year-old technology, and many advanced IP-based messaging technologies have been available for several years. But still, SMS heavily dominates the messaging traffic in mobile networks. I believe, operators have so far failed to exploit the messaging technologies.

In terms of functionality, SMS is a fairly limited technology. Messages can contain only plain text, up to a maximum of 140-160 single-byte characters, and session/dialogue features such as threads or buddy lists are not supported.

Challenges:
Lack of local-language input handsets: This means customized handsets to support local market requirements, resulting in costly handsets. As a consequence, most SMS are sent in English, confining the active text market to a small group of educated users, primarily based in the cities. Although SMS in China is a different story, thanks to Chinas economies of scale.

Relatively high pricing of SMS compared with voice tariffs.

lack of interconnect: Interconnection of SMS messages is a pre-requisite for growth.

TECH TALK: Mobile Internet: A Pyramid

For much of my Internet life, I have been a PC person. Access to the Internet has been from the computer either at home or at work. About twenty months ago, I first started using the mobile Internet and it was a revelation. At that time, the ability to read my Bloglines RSS feeds on the move was extremely exhilarating. Suddenly, I could make use of lifes empty moments. That was the start of a journey an exploration of how the mobile Internet experience can be made better. This is the story of that journey.

My interest in the mobile internet is an anomaly. I have a PC person all my life. For much of the mobile era, I ended up using phones mostly for talk and a little for SMS. I preferred emailing to SMSing. Over the past couple years, though, I started using the mobile a lot more and that has made me understand the device and its potential a lot more. This has caused me to rethink my notions of the PC-based Internet in the context of emerging markets like India.

I think of the device-using India as being split into three. The top of the pyramid has about 10 million users for whom the desktop computer with a reasonably good Internet connection is the link to the connected world. Their access is from home or work, or both. Their digital life is built around their computer. They all have mobile phones but usage is somewhat limited to its use as a phone and texting device. At times, the mobile serves as a modem on the go to be connected with the laptop. This segment is akin to most users in the developed markets. Think of this as a PC First segment.

The middle of the pyramid has about 30 million users for whom Internet access is primarily via cybercafes. Access is, on average, limited to a few minutes a day. Because of the lack of continuity in access, usage of the Internet is limited email, chat, jobs, matrimonial sites being the primary destinations. This audience is much younger than the top of the pyramid. They all have mobile phones. The consumption of mobile content (ringtones, wallpapers, games, ringback tones) is high in this segment. For this segment, the mobile is the key to the digital life. The buddy list resides not on Yahoo or Microsofts IM services, but on their phone. SMS, rather than email, is the preferred way to interact with buddies. Think of this as a Mobiles First segment.

The bottom of the pyramid is about 60 million in India. For this segment, there is no access to a computer in some cases by choice (like my parents), but in most cases, because of economic reasons. They cannot afford to own or access a computer. For them, voice communications via the mobile is their primary way to connect to the world. SMS usage is still limited because of language barriers. This is the segment which is now growing rapidly in India as the mobile user base grows. This segment is almost entirely pre-paid. Think of this as a Mobiles Only segment.

Tomorrow: The Middle

Continue reading TECH TALK: Mobile Internet: A Pyramid