dinsdag 23 december 2003

Four stages of going offshore

"Offshore governance changes dramatically, as companies migrate through the four stages of the offshore journey. What starts as an administrative function evolves over three or more years into a program management and development discipline. Forrester recently attended a panel on 'offshoring' in the insurance industry, at which offshore users revealed divergent levels of insight and experiences. These companies represent a reality that the move offshore is not a simple six-month project businesses can dial up instantly. As we have observed in our research, there is a four-stage migration companies go through over a period of 24 to 60 or more months."

maandag 22 december 2003

What is Google worth?

"Grand visions aside, how sound is Google's business model in the face of its partners turning into possible competitors? While Google still powers portal giant Yahoo's Internet search results, Yahoo's acquisitions of Inktomi (search technology) and Overture (paid search listings) signal a coming change in strategy. Even Amazon has entered the fray, announcing the creation of a new group to work on achieving best-in-class shopping search tools, which could put it in competition with Google's 'Froogle' product finder as well as Yahoo's Search Products function."

Digital Hubris

"High-tech is relentlessly optimistic and for good reason: the good times -- ALL the good times -- are caused by product transitions. New stuff costs more, has higher profit margins, and occasionally leads to changes in market leadership. A year or two later, these products will have been commoditized, the profit sucked out of them by intense competition, and it will be time to move on to the next big thing. Four years ago, the cheapest 802.11b access point you could buy cost $299. This week, I saw one advertised that with rebates brought the final cost down to zero, nothing, nada, zilch. Time to move on. So high-tech is always looking forward, never back, and taking a gamble on something new isn't perceived so much as a gamble but as a way of life."

Consumption of Information Goods and Services in the United States

"Technology elites in the United States have more than just a lot of technology, although they have plenty of that. For this group, the Internet, cell phone, digital videodisc player, and personal digital assistant are commonplace; many of them access the Internet wirelessly and are starting to pay for online content. What is distinctive about them is that new electronic communications technologies come first. They would rather do without their wireline telephone than their computer. For the Young Tech Elites, the cell phone is more important than the wireline phone, and email is as important as telephonic communication. For the Young Tech Elites, the Internet is a regular source for daily news and an indispensable element of their entertainment experience."


"Thanks to Nick Usborne for a great link: THE MEATRIX. It's hard to catalog how many things this site does right (not to mention the Moopheus cow imagery, but that's personal). You don't have to agree with the message (though I do) to be in awe of how well executed the strategy and tactics of the campaign are. What's happening here? I think that as advertising stops being about cash for media and starts being about ideas worth spreading, we're going to see more vivid and effective work from organizations with a point of view."

Early Word on Amazon 'Stores'

"When customers make purchases on Amazon.com from another merchant, Amazon.com sends the order to the merchant, which then ships the items. In exchange for offering their goods to Amazon.com's shoppers - more than 15 million visitors a week during the holiday season, according to Media Metrix - merchants typically pay Amazon.com a commission of 7 percent to 15 percent on each sale, according to Forrester. If an item fails to satisfy a customer, it is the responsibility of the merchant that shipped the product to receive the customer service call."

donderdag 18 december 2003

Google Here, There, and Everywhere

"As the search giant keeps expanding into new services, it's becoming a rival to just about every other Net company out there. I woke up this morning and Googled my dry cleaner to see if my shirts were done. Then I Googled the weather to see what to wear to work. Before breakfast, I Googled my stocks to see how they did yesterday, and then I Googled the supermarket for sale prices and to schedule a delivery, right from Google. I Googled the movies playing at theaters near my house, and then I told Google to e-mail me with travel itineraries to Paris from June 24 through June 31. In short, it's just another good Google day here in 2006, in an all-Google world."

zondag 14 december 2003

Nurses Use Web To Choose Shifts And Pay

"Here's how shift bidding works: Nurses log onto a hospital's Web site, view all empty shifts in units like cardiac, intensive care, or critical care, and make an offer to work for a rate within a specified range posted by the hospital. The lowest bidder wins with skill level and other factors being equal."

Raking muck in "The Sims Online"

"In the real world, Peter Ludlow is an academic, a professor of philosophy and linguistics at the University of Michigan whose books go by sober titles like 'Readings in the Philosophy of Language,' and 'Semantics, Tense and Time: An Essay in the Metaphysics of Natural Language.' He's well-regarded in his field and engaging enough on the phone, but Ludlow is, even by his own admission, not a very interesting person. That is to say, Peter Ludlow is nothing like Urizenus, Ludlow's alter ego in the virtual world of 'The Sims Online.'"

zondag 30 november 2003

E-Shoppers Are Now E-Spenders

"It seems that the virtual world's top retailers are succeeding because they've learned the simple and time-honored tradition of keeping their customers satisfied. The idea is straightforward -- at least in concept: Provide a good experience consistently, and buyers will keep coming back. 'What defines a retailer is how well it serves a meaningful group of customers,' says Ken Seiff, chief executive of online fashion retailer Bluefly."

woensdag 26 november 2003

Tech Bloom in full flower

"When the markets crashed and the money steamed from high-tech like coolant from a blown radiator, most of us made a logical assumption: The engine of technological innovation was shot and things would settle down and act normal. If this is normal, I don't want to meet weird. In basements, garages and the empty warehouses that once held the Next Big Thing, tech-savvy folks are huddled over their laptops, working together online to give away the future. The result? We're seeing a surge of technological creativity that easily trumps anything we dreamed of with the dot-com PR guys crooning in our ears."

Fiber to the People

"Burlington, Vermont, is building a network. Like many municipalities across North America, it has decided to construct an advanced fiber network on its own. The AFN is being deployed first to support city services. Then, as part of the four-phase project, this municipality of just 40,000 will extend blazingly fast Internet service to businesses and residences. To many, this just looks like more socialism from Vermont. Why should government be in the business of providing high-speed networks? Isn't that what free markets are for? Haven't we all learned that the market is more efficient at supplying goods and services? Do we really need to rediscover the failings of Karl Marx at 100 megabits per second?

The answer, as Cornell economist Alan McAdams argues, has nothing to do with Karl Marx and everything to do with basic economics. AFNs are natural monopolies. That doesn't mean that there can be only one, but rather that if there is one, then it is far cheaper to simply add customers to the one than to build another. The electricity grid in a local neighborhood is a good example of a natural monopoly. Sure, we could run four wires to every home, but do we really need four electricity companies serving every home?"

Bill Gates: Unplugged

"At the semantic level, we actually now have standards. That's been a holy grail for over 20 years. People spent a lot of time futzing around getting the bits to flow between machines and now that we have that, you think, 'Well I can point a browser at any Web site. Why can't I do a query about all the sellers?' The reason you can't is because that's at a higher semantic level than just how to put the stuff on the screen. And it's far more complex. Only Web services give us a foundation for us to do that, so in a sense, a lot of the dreams of the '90s, like true e-commerce, had to wait for this industry standard infrastructure and the tools to be put in place."

The Triumph of Good Enough

"The rise of converged devices will have a huge impact on operators. More functionality in devices at the edge of the network makes it harder to monetize the network in the middle. My Treo is technically a SprintPCS phone, but I don't view it that way any more than I think my laptop belongs to Comcast, my home broadband provider. With voice-over-IP, WiFi, number portability and the inevitable unbundling of phones and wireless networks, operators will get retain even less control. Multi-year contracts and SIM locks will only hold back the tide so long.

Where the Money Will Be

In the new world, the money will be in applications on the edge devices, hardware sales, and of all things, dumb connectivity. The first wireless operator to execute the Dell/Wal-Mart model -- being the efficient commodity provider, with a great brand -- will make a killing. (Partly because they will kill their competitors.) Not that this is an easy task. Legacy billing systems and legacy culture are huge hurdles to overcome, and the ideas of 'owning the customer' and 'delivering value-added services' are deeply embedded in operator DNA."

dinsdag 18 november 2003

We've had Napster since 1909, and the sky still hasn't fallen

"In 1909, residents of Wilmington, DE, were able to subscribe to an online music service that piped phonograph recordings over their telephone lines and through loudspeakers. 1909 was one year after the sheet music publishers were told to get bent by Congress: see, they'd grown alarmed at the prevalance of unauthorized piano rolls and had asked the Congress for a Broadcast-Flag-like regime that would let them veto any new music tech that would endanger their business (like online music delivery), making it illegal. Congress told them to get lost. Good thing we rescued those idiots from themselves back in 1908 -- can you imagine a music industry where the most lucrative product in the market was sheet music?"


"The next generation of hirees is the Net Generation, and they may force companies to rethink the relationship between employer and employee. Companies will have to plug into flexibility and openness if they want to tap the talents of the best and the brightest of the Net Generation. Young people who have grown up with the Internet balk at curbs on the free flow of information and that, experts believe, means companies will have to rethink how they treat their employees."

Laying Down the Virtual Law

"You're a dwarf in a virtual world, and that troll over there has just defamed you in front of everyone. So can you sue, or is it all just fun and games? That's what a collection of the brightest thinkers and best designers of games like EverQuest, and metaverses like There and Second Life, will be talking about in New York starting Thursday. They're gathering for the first State of Play: Law, Games and Virtual Worlds conference. A host of questions are on everyone's minds: Are virtual worlds the new Wild West or a legitimate province of the courts? Is game play equivalent to speech as defined in the First Amendment? Is there such a thing as fraud in a metaverse?"

vrijdag 14 november 2003

Open Source Everywhere

"ThinkCycle's collaborative approach is modeled on a method that for more than a decade has been closely associated with software development: open source. It's called that because the collaboration is open to all and the source code is freely shared. Open source harnesses the distributive powers of the Internet, parcels the work out to thousands, and uses their piecework to build a better whole - putting informal networks of volunteer coders in direct competition with big corporations. It works like an ant colony, where the collective intelligence of the network supersedes any single contributor."

maandag 10 november 2003

BigChampagne is Watching You

"In fact, they're tracking every download and selling the data to the music industry. How one company is turning file-sharing networks into the world's biggest focus group. Joe Fleischer twists restlessly in his Aeron chair and nods at the voice on the other end of the telephone. Tapping his fingers on his computer's mouse, he stares out the window of his Beverly Hills office at the new BMWs and battered Celicas inching down Wilshire Boulevard. 'Uh-huh, uh-huh,' he says. 'Got it.' Fleischer is talking to a client, an executive at one of the major labels who's working a band he's sure could go platinum, if only radio would give the group a chance. The band's first two albums earned it a fervent fan base, but to get bigger, its new single needs airplay, the all-important spark of sales. 'Give me a story I can take to radio,' the executive on the other end of the line tells him. Fleischer hangs up, turns to his computer, and clicks through an online database. On his screen, he can see in astonishing detail when, where, and what Internet users are sharing on peer-to-peer file-swapping services like Kazaa, Morpheus, and Grokster. He searches for cities where downloads of the band's single are outpacing its exposure on radio. He likes what he sees. In Atlanta, sharing of the group's new album is up more than 1,200 percent over the previous week; in Houston and New York, 300 percent. So Fleischer"

The Fast-Forward, On-Demand, Network-Smashing Future of Television

"A New York marketing entrepreneur named Frank Zazza claims to have the answer. Zazza has come up with a scheme that grades placements by 10 levels of impact, from having the product in the background to naming an entire episode after it. Mix this in with his carefully calibrated "awareness scale" plus a couple of other factors, and you get the dollar value of a placement. For $300,000 you could buy, say, 3 seconds of "verbal" (talk about the product) or 90 seconds of background. "This has the ability to completely change the dynamic of television and the way it's bought," says Peter Gardiner, chief media officer of Deutsch, one of New York's hottest ad agencies.

Zazza has his eye on an even bigger prize. He's working with a company that inserts virtual billboards into sports broadcasts to apply the same technology to product integration. Instead of having an actual Coke can on the set of Friends, the producers could digitally insert it before the show airs. If Pepsi offered more for the DVD version of the series, they could replace the Coke with a Pepsi. It's product integration without the product. What this means for the networks is unclear; the important thing, Zazza says, is to keep the advertisers happy: "Unilever, Procter & Gamble - they're going to be around a long time after CSI is kicking up daisies."

vrijdag 7 november 2003

The Blog of Things To Come

"The history of the Internet has been about people trying to get the same things they already get, but cheaper, faster, or more easily. Banner ads are just online billboards. Email is just an online fax. Search engines are just a better, faster library. We didn't change our lives--we just used the Net to make our lives faster and more flexible. That's where Joi Ito comes in. Joi is one of the preeminent bloggers working today. (A blog is an electronic Weblog, a diary filled with quick posts and links.) But Joi isn't doing what almost everyone else is doing with their blogs. The typical blog contains uninformed opinion about world events, or overlong posts about the weather or your uncle Bob. The typical blog is narcissistic and often focused on how to get other people to link their blogs to your blog, so that both blogs will rank higher in Google searches."

Lara Croft to hit the catwalk

"Next week sees the launch of the so-called 'Miss Digital World' competition - a chance for designers and programmers to win a virtual beauty contest by sending their computer-generated e-Babes down the online catwalk. Franz Cerami is the man with the plan and the artistic vision: 'Every age has its ideal of beauty, and every age produces its visual incarnation of that ideal from the Venus de Milo in ancient Greece to Marilyn Monroe in the 1960s. Miss Digital World is the search for a contemporary ideal of beauty, seen through virtual reality,' he expounds."

My Pop-Up, My Friend

"I hate pop-ups! Seriously, I do. But the other day I found myself playing with one for nearly 20 minutes. As the senior executive producer of this Web site, I spend a good part of the day (and night) surfing our site and others—doing research, checking links, seeing how the other guys do things, getting the overall daily temperature of the Web—you name it. So I've seen my share of pop-ups, and while I do not employ a pop-up blocker (I think it's important for me to experience the Web in its unvarnished form), I'm also a darn fast pop-up zapper. Or I was."

donderdag 6 november 2003

Everyone's a Programmer

"Software is collapsing under the weight of its own complexity. Charles Simonyi’s solution? Programming tools that are so simple that even laypeople can use them. Few software experts have had as revolutionary an influence on the development of computing as Charles Simonyi, and few have been so richly rewarded for their efforts. As a scientist at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center in the 1970s, Simonyi invented Bravo, the first word-processing program that showed on-screen exactly how a document would look in print—a concept commonly referred to as “what you see is what you get.” Simonyi then joined Microsoft, when it was still a startup with three dozen employees. There he became the company’s chief architect, piloting the development of both Word and Excel. Along the way, he also became a billionaire: Forbes recently listed him as the 209th richest person in the United States."

How good is Google? - The next hot internet stock

Google is now more than a business: it is a cultural phenomenon. But where will it be in a few years? If the ultimate measure of impact is to have one's name become a new verb in the world's main languages, Google has reason to be proud. When they founded the company five years ago, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, friends at Stanford University, chose a word play on “googol”—the number 1 followed by 100 zeros—because their ambition was to organise the information overload of the internet in a transparent and superior way. These days, singles “google” suitors before agreeing to a date, housewives “google” recipes before cooking, and patients “google” their ailments before visiting doctors. Dave Gorman, a comedian, even has a popular show, the “Googlewhack Adventure”—a Googlewhack being what happens when two words are entered into Google and it comes back with exactly one match."

Acquiring goods and services via the Internet

"The Internet is transforming communication, collaboration, and commerce. This research focuses on the commerce function and examines the nature of Internet transactions, in terms of the consumer needs fulfilled, the Internet as a contact vehicle (in purchasing) and the Internet’s acquisition function. A questionnaire is administered to undergraduate students to capture their perceptions on the above issues. The findings indicate that the largest number of items being purchased via the Internet is to fill love and affiliation needs, with physical needs being second. The Internet is also considered to be convenient and flexible, but less reliable and secure. Finally, the Internet is perceived to be least similar to purchasing from a store. These findings will help organizations conducting business via the Internet to better address the needs and wants of consumers, and system designers, marketers, managers, etc. can use these findings when assessing their organization’s Web transaction activity."

woensdag 5 november 2003

Second Sight

"It's great being a music fan online. There are endless tools, legal and illegal, to improve your listening experience. But people who want to engage with civil society aren't so lucky. Music fans get Napster and KaZaA. But what tools are there for people who want to make civic life better? All they have is the ill fitting cast-offs of the business world, such as Outlook. Why don't they have Napsters? Many people, myself included, believe such tools aren't appearing as often as they should or could. So, we are setting up an organisation you might think of as a charitable incubator for those who want to develop software to make society better, and who want to pay the bills while doing it. We're calling it MySociety.org. And we need your help."

Wanna Bet? Online Biz a Winner

"The traditional British betting shop fancies itself a social institution, a convivial place where people can wager a few pounds on a horse race or soccer game. But that's not how Andrew Black sees it. The Internet entrepreneur considers bookmakers financial parasites who build a fat profit into all the odds they offer. Inspired by the way shares trade hands on the New York Stock Exchange, Black designed a way to match both sides of a bet on the Internet, bypassing the bookmaker. By acting as a broker, his company Betfair has rocked the hidebound world of sports betting."

Info Overload! Billions of Bytes Born

"Telephone networks account for the largest percentage of information flow. [Ed. note: I already knew this, because I have a teenage daughter.] Worldwide telephone calls would have contained 17.3 exabytes of data if stored in digital form, representing 98 percent of information flowing through electronic channels."

Looking Toward a Networked World

"O'Reilly, a longtime industry watcher who runs tech book publisher O'Reilly & Associates, cited Apple's iTunes, iPhoto and iChat as applications that all reach out to the Internet and devices like Bluetooth phones to extend their functions. In iPhoto, for example, users can publish their photo collections on the Web or go online to order prints or a bound book of their pictures. O'Reilly said the old idea of stand-alone software -- the unconnected word processor or spreadsheet -- is becoming passé. Even the idea of making a distinction between software platforms -- Mac, Windows and Linux -- is starting to no longer make sense."

Can Cable Fast-Forward Past TiVo?

"TiVo, the best-known maker of digital video recorders, may need to worry about people like Peter S. Palermo. But Mr. Palermo may also represent just what the cable television industry has been looking for.

A few weeks before the P.G.A. Championship golf tournament in Rochester in August, Mr. Palermo, a real estate broker, was trying to figure out how he would record the broadcast. Mr. Palermo thought about buying a TiVo, the digital video recorder, or DVR. Using a computer hard drive and advanced software, a DVR lets the user pause, rewind and fast-forward even with live television programs. It also provides a much easier way to automatically record programs than is possible with videocassette recorders."

What You Don't Know About Dell

"It's this combination -- reaching for the heights of perfection while burrowing down into every last data point -- that no rival has been able to imitate. 'It's like watching Michael Jordan stuff the basketball,' says Merrill Lynch & Co. technology strategist Steven Milunovich. 'I see it. I understand it. But I can't do it.'"

dinsdag 4 november 2003

Why PVR technology is good for marketers

"All the sturm und drang around personal video recorders should come as no surprise to readers of this column, who were warned more than three years ago that PVRs meant 'treacherous times ahead for programmers and the marketers that depend on them.' But let's parse the warning a little more carefully. In fact, TiVo and other PVRs are a boon to marketers. It's only the broadcast networks that are in trouble."

A Dud in Cupid's Online Quiver?

"That's all well and good, but the Friendster froth could be a classic case of Valley disconnect with the vox populi. Essentially, it's an attempt to apply the economic theory behind eBay -- bringing buyers and sellers together to create commerce -- to a far more complex social phenomenon. And in that context, the Friendster model for dating, while fun, has a number of flaws that don't plague the personal-ad approach favored by most successful dating sites."

The Emperor's New Broadcast Season

"Most disturbing to the networks is an apparent complete disappearance of young male viewers, a segment coveted by advertisers. Nielsen reports a 12 percent viewership decline among men 18-34, and a more worrisome 20 percent drop among men 18-24. Nielsen's evaluating a variety of explanations for this precipitous drop. According to The Times, high on the list of possibilities are increases in video game play and DVD viewing."

Unorthodox Brand Alliances

"Why is this development so relevant? Most likely you control an online business. If there's one business arena that can benefit from a brand alliance strategy via links, co-branding and general brand alliances, it's the interactive sector."

The Industrialized Revolution

"Clay Christensen's idea of 'disruptive innovation' made him the unintended mascot of the dotcom boom. So what's he thinking now?

A Motel 6 on a nondescript stretch of First Street near the San Jose airport holds a special place in the history of management thinking. It was there, nearly 13 years ago, in the no-frills accommodations he could afford on a doctoral student's stipend, that 39-year-old Clayton Christensen hatched his powerfully unsettling idea. A onetime White House Fellow, a former assistant to two U.S. secretaries of transportation and Rhodes Scholar, Christensen had just bailed out of the high-tech-materials manufacturing company he cofounded. A question had taken hold in his mind, and he couldn't help but follow its trail. As the chairman and president of a company that served the then-booming minicomputer industry clustered around Boston's Route 128, Christensen had watched a familiar pattern play out. The novel solutions, rapid growth, and marketplace wins of these companies were invariably credited to the management team's extraordinary vision, capabilities, and tactics. And when those same companies, those once-celebrated executives were blasted for ineptitude."

zaterdag 1 november 2003

Web Redesigns for the Holidays

"After any redesign, Mr. George said, companies typically see a drop in conversion rates as consumers become familiar with the new setup. 'But in the week and a half we've been live with the new site, we're not seeing that,' he said. 'And we're absolutely getting more interest and traffic to key areas we were trying to emphasize'' - like the home wireless installations - 'and the conversion in those parts has increased noticeably.'"

Two Companies at Odds Over the Internet's Future

"One year ago, almost to the day, Samuel J. Palmisano, the chief executive of I.B.M., delivered a speech in New York that sketched his company's vision of the future of computing, which he called 'on-demand computing.' Today in Los Angeles, Bill Gates, the chairman of the Microsoft Corporation, will present his company's notion of where things are headed, which the software maker calls 'seamless computing.'"

woensdag 29 oktober 2003

How Wireless Carriers Will Make Mobile Data Pay

"In the integrated service model, mobile operators don’t simply provide a connection. They’re positioned to directly influence and profit from the customer’s total wireless experience."

How Microsoft's Misunderstanding of Open Source Hurts Us All

"This week, speaking at a Gartner conference in Orlando, Florida, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said some fascinating things about Linux and about Open Source software in general. And thanks to those remarks and the blinding realization they caused for me, I finally understand exactly why Microsoft doesn't understand Open Source."

dinsdag 28 oktober 2003

The Great Library of Amazonia

"The fondest dream of the information age is to create an archive of all knowledge. You might call it the Alexandrian fantasy, after the great library founded by Ptolemy I in 286 BC. Through centuries of aggressive acquisition, the librarians of Alexandria, Egypt, collected hundreds of thousands of texts. None survives. During a final wave of destruction, in AD 641, invaders fed the bound volumes and papyrus scrolls into the furnaces of the public baths, where they are said to have burned for six months. 'The lesson,' says Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, 'is to keep more than one copy."

Ubiquity Breeds Utility

"The wireless revolution is possibly over-hyped, but don't tell that to the good folks at Dartmouth. They have gained wireless ubiquity, and are completely re-thinking how they use cellphones, PDAs, computers, newspapers, instant messenger, printers, power outlets, and most importantly, their time."

vrijdag 24 oktober 2003

Sim Soars as Learning Tool

"So, you want to learn how to fly a plane? No problem -- just find yourself a flight instructor and get ready to spend about $7,000 to get your private pilot certificate. Or you can go out and buy a copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator and a specialized controller for about $150, and learn on your PC. Even though it's marketed as an entertainment title, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight is a highly effective tool to help student pilots learn how to fly."

Free hot spots pay dividends

"At first glance, it might not make sense for profit-making businesses to give away, rather than charge for, wireless Internet access. But a growing number of hotels and restaurants have found that it pays to offer free Wi-Fi Internet access. This perk attracts customers and provides a real bottom-line payback for a relatively small capital investment, according to free-Wi-Fi pioneers."

donderdag 23 oktober 2003

Amazon moves to front line of shaping 'Web services'

"What Amazon is doing could redirect how Web services moves into the mainstream and reorder which tech companies get rich in the process, analysts say. Suddenly, Amazon has emerged as 'a model for leveraging the benefits that Web services promise,' says Yankee Group analyst Paul Ritter. Over the past 16 months, Amazon has inspired about 30,000 developers to invent myriad ways to extend Amazon's visibility on the Web. 'Amazon basically hired the entire world to create Web services for them,' says Calin Uioreanu, a Romanian tech engineer who in his spare time runs several online stores he created to funnel sales to Amazon."

dinsdag 21 oktober 2003

Are Web Services Really the Answer?

"Most large enterprises have paid billions of dollars to get to where they are today and they still can’t get answers to simple questions. This is pathetic. Enterprises try to do most anything. They try to reorganize; they try to change business policies or practices; they try to acquire a new company or move into a new market sector. And with all this, the number one challenge they have is IT. They’re told by the IT department, "Well, we just can’t do that now. You have to wait a couple of years." So it is not a pleasing experience when everything in the organization reacts except for IT. If you’re a CEO, you have every department business function with different technology that has different standards, different data definitions, different ERP methods, different semantics, different automation competencies. So when you try to do something that is cross-departmental or cross-functional, it is extremely hard to do. So the CEO has a right to say "If I paid billions, why can’t I get something that’s more reactive on a timely basis? Because I’m heavily dependent and I don’t have the option of going back to the 1970’s or going back to doing it manually."

A Connection in Every Spot

"If you spend enough time observing people near schools like MIT and Georgia Tech, you'll probably note a few solitary nerds roaming around campus, sniffing out wireless hotspots with their handheld PCs. Chances are that many of those loners are not Wi-Fi junkies on warchalking sorties, but students of 'ubiquitous computing,' a field that aims to free us from our gloomy, workaday PCs by weaving millions of tiny wireless nodes into private and public spaces. Engineers meeting this week at UbiComp 2003, a ubiquitous-computing conference in Seattle, believe that technology -- rather than isolating people within virtual spaces -- should be forming real-world connections amongst flesh-and-blood human beings."

maandag 20 oktober 2003

Text generation growing up online

"The prophets of the online world did not dream it up, the Jesuits did, but as mottos go it is hard to top: 'Give me the child until he is seven and I will show you the man.' And how true it is. With almost every girl and boy in Australia using the internet - 93 per cent, according to the latest reckoning - a new 'kid society' is blooming. Internet messenger services, email, text and mobile phones are broadening children's social networks and making them virtually inseparable from one another."

Web fosters prolific product reviewers

"After four years of telling the world what he thinks about beer, Mexico vacation spots and Latin music, Mark Stevens of Houston recently experienced an epiphany. 'I'm rethinking things,' says the prolific 43-year-old Epinions.com free-lance writer. 'I've written 664 reviews. It's a book, and I didn't really get paid for producing it. I should really be getting royalties for all that work.' But Stevens and thousands of other Net denizens seem addicted to sharing their thoughts with the world."

zondag 12 oktober 2003

Hub Media Strategy

"....But the research results were specific to media multitasking. Now I was interested. What they (Yahoo) essentially did was provide a name (not a bad one at that) for what a lot of us have already been thinking: The Web can (and sometimes should) be at the center of a communications plan. The name is Hub Media. Hub Media is the notion most or all non-digital communications in a plan should drive a person to the Web for a larger payoff. It's supported in this research by data suggesting the Millennial Generation multitasks at extraordinarily high levels. The one medium almost always present in the multitasking equation is the Internet. If they want more information about the clothes they saw in the magazine ad, they go online. If they want to tell their friends the referee blew the call on the last play, they IM or e-mail. It's the pervasiveness of the Internet for the Millenial Generation that makes Hub Media viable."

The New Communities

"For e-marketers, probably the most interesting phenomenon of the current political season has been the astounding success of Howard Dean's fundraising effort. His site, DeanForAmerica, has allowed a previously unknown former governor to raise millions of dollars, much of it in small donations. While this is a pretty major accomplishment, most of the media have missed the real Dean campaign story. His success doesn't stem from raising money online. That's relatively easy to do from a technical standpoint. Rather, he's used the Internet for what it's really good for: connecting and organizing people. Lessons from Dean (and others, like John Kerry) about using the Internet to bring people together are ones all marketers should pay attention to."

Misunderstanding Micropayments

"The following is a response to Clay Shirky's new article Fame versus Fortune (a follow-up to his 2000 essay The Case Against Micropayments) which takes aim at the 9-week-old BitPass payment system. I'm a long-time advocate of micropayments, an advisor to BitPass, and my online comic The Right Number is mentioned in his first paragraph, so I'm hardly a disinterested party. Still, I hope my arguments will help illuminate why I think that Shirky's logic is flawed, and why his caricature of the idea of micropayments bears little resemblance to the reality being created right now."

The Wireless Challenge

"Since the days of Alexander Graham Bell, Finland's national phone company has provided service for customers from the shores of the Baltic Sea to the upper reaches of Lapland. But last summer the Helsinki-based telco, now part of $9 billion Swedish-Finnish TeliaSonera, did something remarkable: It ran radio and newspaper ads urging its own customers to drop fixed-line voice service and switch to wireless. Huh? A phone company asking its customers to cut the cord?"

zaterdag 11 oktober 2003

The Internet Generation

"The reason you can’t stop file-trading has nothing to do with the law or ethics. When you live on the network, you use one device to buy music, get music, store music, and hear music. You’re not driving to get a one-hour CD, packing its jewel case in a stack somewhere, then reloading every hour. The experience must be more organic than that."

woensdag 8 oktober 2003

The Blogger Revolt!

"The bottom line as I see it is the original blogging community represents
the early-adopters of a movement that will eventually radicalize the entire
media industry. Some time off in the future, if major media brands do not
open up their content to more participation, readers will just not trust
them, and they will go elsewhere."

maandag 6 oktober 2003

Jeff Bezos: Fixated on the Customer

On webservices:

Q (Business Week): Amazon.com now runs sites and online operations for retailers such as Target and Toys 'R' Us. What's the future for that services business?

A: It's a rapidly growing part of our business. And that goes from [large] companies that are customers of that all the way down to individuals using our Web services to tap into the fundamental platform that is Amazon.com. They can build their own applications very effectively. It's almost closer to an ecosystem.

Q: So Amazon is becoming a kind of software platform a bit like Microsoft?

A: People are building stuff that surprises us. That's what's so interesting about this. We've built this big base of technology to serve ourselves, and now we're opening it up and letting people access it. They're taking these fundamental pieces and building completely new things that not only would we have never gotten around to but in some cases maybe never even have thought of. There are thousands of developers who are building applications using Amazon Web services. The sky's the limit on their creativity.

The New Marketing Order: How to be Chosen

"Call it the new marketing order. It's a philosophical shift in the marketplace that has everything to do with intrusive techniques like spam and telemarketing. It's fueled by the rise of a marketing-saturated (and -savvy) generation, and is underpinned by the technology revolution that raises consumers' expectations of how companies can interact with them. While customer acquisition techniques are under the heaviest fire, the new order also demands changes in how companies conduct relationships with existing customers."

Small Spending, Big Branding

"I remember hearing information technologists would never be fired for choosing IBM. I suppose you could once could have said the same of marketers who combined the traditional media channels in their plans. But things are changing. The IT guys probably still won't be fired for recommending IBM, but marketers with plans based on traditional channels and old school thinking shouldn't get too comfortable."

vrijdag 3 oktober 2003

Joint Service From Reuters and Microsoft

"The Reuters Group, the information services company, said yesterday that it would announce today a deal with Microsoft to connect the companies' instant messaging systems as an offering for financial services companies."

dinsdag 30 september 2003

Seth Godin's Blog: Why Web Ads Don't Work

"A long time ago, pundits started declaring the death of the banner ad. By and large they were right--banner ads now get clickthroughs that peak at .1%, the cost per thousand is close to zero and Google and others have demonstrated that contextual text ads are far more effective."

maandag 29 september 2003

Net guru peers into web's future

"The inventor of the web, Tim Berners-Lee, outlines his ideas for a more 'intelligent' web in an interview with the BBC programme, Go Digital. "

dinsdag 23 september 2003

ITV Case Study: The View

"It's been nearly ten years since the advent of interactive television. Things are finally starting to look up. Recently, I worked on a case study about interactive TV advertising. I'll share some of the highlights here to illustrate a point: this is not your mother's 30-second spot.

First, some background. iTV advertising revenue will grow from $25 million in 2003 to $2.3 billion in 2007. Ad revenue will represent $39 per iTV household in 2007 -- about six percent of total TV ad revenue per TV household. Participation by brand advertisers is starting to gain momentum as ad spend on emerging platforms makes its way back into the mix."

maandag 22 september 2003

Uncovering the Napster Kitty Ads

"On the eve of its relaunch, the infamous file-trading company Napster appears to be defacing other companies' billboards with stickers of its distinctive kitty logo.

The stickers -- showing a cat wearing headphones -- are appearing on street-level billboards, the kind that feature blocks of identical posters plastered to the sides of buildings or construction sites."

If Walls Could Talk, Streets Might Join In

That companies like Vodafone and others are willing to think about the mobile phone as more than a person-to-person voice communicator and are building spaces to reflect that suggests that interactive environments are starting to be viewed seriously.

"Till now the industry hasn't spent enough time thinking about how the mobile phone and location-based content can be exploited," said Colin Burns, the head of Ideo's London operations.

donderdag 18 september 2003

A Complaint Box

"While staying at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco this spring, Mark Hurst was annoyed when he learned that it charged guests $2 to make a toll-free call and $1.50 for a local call. As an Internet consultant who specializes in improving the 'customer experience' of corporate and commercial Web sites, he found the charges akin to getting a dead fish on his pillow. When he vented his annoyance in a weekly e-mail newsletter he publishes that deals with a range of consumer experiences, he struck a chord with readers."

zondag 14 september 2003

BBC NEWS | Technology | Digital TV beats 'red button blues'

BBC NEWS | Technology | Digital TV beats 'red button blues'

"The last five years of digital TV in the UK have transformed viewing from a passive experience to one where viewers have far greater control over what they watch and when.

Interactive TV gives viewers more control

A lot of this is due to interactive television and the enhanced programming and advertising it offers. "

dinsdag 9 september 2003

BW Online | September 8, 2003 | Time to Rewrite the Rules of Telecom

Time to Rewrite the Rules of Telecom

"Now that voice calls can be sent over the Net, existing phone regulations are becoming irrelevant. The FCC has to make some tough choices. Since its launch in April, 2002, Internet telephony company Vonage has been a rip-roaring success. Over the last year, the Edison (N.J.) company signed up 45,000 customers, who pay a flat rate of $39.99 a month for unlimited local and long-distance calling, plus caller ID, voice mail, call waiting, and a bevy of other services."

donderdag 4 september 2003

Video: The Future of Online Advertising?

Video: The Future of Online Advertising?

"There may be hope for bored online media planners and buyers yet. A number of companies are working to add some life to the somewhat stagnant pool of media offerings from which we currently draw our ad placements. They're developing technology that could fuel the creation of some pretty appealing new ad units."

Whipping Up Supper, Mouse in Hand

Whipping Up Supper, Mouse in Hand

"Instead of trying to conquer the world, for now FreshDirect limits service to Manhattan (with plans to expand gradually into other boroughs and the New York suburbs). With 3,000 orders a week, the upscale products (the picholine-packed pizzas also feature aged parmesan reggiano, fresh mozzarella and slow-cooked tomato sauce) clearly appeal to time-stressed food sophisticates who have rude friends and no off-street parking (or even cars) available for unloading their own grocery bags."

zaterdag 30 augustus 2003

The Dawn of Information Markets

The Dawn of Information Markets

"The stillbirth of Vice Admiral John M. Poindexter's proposal for a market in terrorism futures could have a chilling effect on one of the Internet's most important potentials -- the use of information markets to aggregate and codify distributed intelligence.

Historically, most markets have been created to make money with information as a byproduct. In large part enabled by the Internet, markets in recent years have been created for the express purpose of ferreting out and organizing information.

The best known is the Iowa Electronic Markets at the University of Iowa, especially its Presidential Election Vote-Share Market. Since its inception in 1988, this pre-Internet information market has successfully predicted the outcome of every U.S. presidential election. It's more accurate than traditional polling techniques in predicting the outcome of U.S. and foreign elections, primaries, and other political events. In fact, in tight elections, professional bond traders, who often have millions of dollars riding on post-election economic policies, monitor the Iowa political stock market as a leading indicator."

dinsdag 26 augustus 2003

How to Budget for Internet Advertising

How to Budget for Internet Advertising

"A persistent challenge in this business is determining how much money our clients should allocate to this medium. Given online's relative youth, it has no established standards and practices, like our colleagues on the traditional side enjoy. That shouldn't stop us from thinking critically and creatively about counseling clients on appropriate spending levels.

I'll cover planning inputs important to smart budget decisions below. But first, here's a more unrefined, straightforward approach that will suffice if absolutely necessary."

maandag 25 augustus 2003

Brand Building on the Internet

Brand Building on the Internet

Web sites for packaged foods and drinks make unlikely candidates for popular online destinations, since consumers cannot buy anything on the site and may not need much guidance on how to pour Planters Peanuts into their mouths or Ragu sauce onto their pasta.

But consumer packaged foods companies are drawing many more customers to their Web sites than in the past. And analysts say the sites are keeping those visitors in place long enough to etch their logos in the consumers' consciousness, to 'brand' them, in packaged foods parlance. Certainly, the image of Mr. Peanut in a barbecue apron, using a Weber grill, makes at least a partial impression (www.candystand.com/planters/grill")

maandag 11 augustus 2003

Wired News: Commerce Drives Virtual World

"About once a week, Michelle Valentine visits a favorite online auction site and either places a bid or puts something up for sale. But she's not visiting eBay. In fact, she's not even dealing in physical goods.

Valentine is a regular user of the auction feature in There Inc.'s online virtual world, or 'metaverse.' The feature helps thousands of There members move all manner of virtual goods they've created and is a prime driver in the development of a new and exploding economy."

dinsdag 5 augustus 2003

Online Dating -- for Brands

Online Dating -- for Brands

"....What's this got to do with online branding? Brand alliances, as we know them, are in the midst of an interesting change. Some years ago, most brand builders would have been aghast at the thought of their brands being seen alongside other brands. Brands should be perceived in exclusivity, they believed. That theory is no longer applicable. It's impossible to be the best in each and every way. That's why complementary companies need each other. Brand builders must identify the best companies within fields/disciplines/product categories that are complementary to their own and team up with them."

maandag 4 augustus 2003

Marketing the eBay Way

A couple years ago, eBay stopped being the place to sell your unwanted trinkets and started being the place to sell anything. Looking for a $169,000 Ferrari 550? Someone's selling one right now on eBay. Want to buy a single-engine Cessna airplane, sight unseen? Yours for $28,000. Think you'd make a great NASCAR columnist for FOX Sports? For a bid of about $300, you can write for the network.

Yes, FOX Sports has run several auctions on eBay, offering the opportunity to write a column for its Web site about an upcoming NASCAR race (the most recent auction is here The more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became.
"From the WSJ - no, not the Wall Street Journal, but the Wisconsin State Journal - we find an article about the growing trend for local municipalities to take on the job of supplying broadband, often via a wireless link. Private companies are increasingly upset with the fact that they're competing with publicly funded organizations, but in many cases, private companies are slow to offer such services to rural communities, and having public utilities come in is the only way they're going to get access in a reasonable time-frame. Some states are looking at banning municipal utility firms from offering broadband, and the article points out that it's a situation that is likely to end up before the Supreme Court in the near future. While I can understand both sides of the issue, it seems like it should be up to the taxpayers. If they're willing to have their tax dollars go towards supplying broadband, then let it go. However, if they would prefer their tax dollars be spent elsewhere (or not at all), then let them vote in favor of that"

donderdag 31 juli 2003

PC Rivals TV at Home

The PC has clearly become more ingrained in the home, as half of Americans say that their PC is their primary communication vehicle,' says Doug Adams, director of marketing for InsightExpress. 'But its becoming much more than just a tool to check email and surf the Web, as consumers are clamoring for new applications once thought to be reserved for the early adopter.

A Drawing Board for Multimedia E-Mail

A Drawing Board for Multimedia E-Mail: "Netomat allows users to compose and exchange messages containing typed and handwritten text, photographs, hand-drawn graphics, simple animations, sound and other multimedia elements. A beta version of the program was put online last week at www.netomat.net."

dinsdag 29 juli 2003

Blown Away by RSS Feeds & Blogs

"Its been quite a while since a technology 'blew me away' but last Friday I had one of those Eureka moments while riding the bus from downtown Vancouver to White Rock where I live - all because of RSS feeds & blogs. I'm still exploring and digging deeper into RSS but let me share the chronicle so far."

Wired News: Iraqis Log On to Voice Chat

Wired News: Iraqis Log On to Voice Chat: "Baghdad resident Usama Kamil Al-Sharqi paid a taxi driver $50 in 2001 to smuggle him a copy of Yahoo Instant Messenger on a CD-ROM from a friend in Jordan. It was a high price to pay for a program that has been downloaded for free by millions of people around the world. But Al-Sharqi says he would have paid an even steeper price had the regime of Saddam Hussein, which banned the use of instant messaging software, found out about it. 'If the government knew what I was doing, I am sure they would kill me, because they would think I was a spy,' says Al-Sharqi. "

Tim O'Reilly interview: Digital Rights Management is a Non-starter (and other topics)

At last year's Apple World Wide Developer Conference (2002) I was lucky enough to attend a very informative talk by Tim O'Reilly (of O'Reilly Publishing) in which he spelt out his theory of watching 'alpha geeks' in order to spot future trends and how web services, open standards and always on connectivity mean that the internet is replacing the desktop operating system. Just over a year on from that talk, Tim was kind enough to answer a few of our questions here on stage4.

zaterdag 26 juli 2003

No Complaints in the Online Ad Biz

Snazzier ads and better technology are luring more marketers to the Web, providing nice, steady growth for DoubleClick and aQuantive. DoubleClick CEO Kevin Ryan says he always seems to get the same reaction whenever he sees old friends: They'll offer a sympathetic handshake and cautiously whisper, "Times must be tough." Well, they were. But after two lean years, life is looking up again for Ryan and the online ad business.

Verizon's Gutsy Bet

Business Week interview with  Seidenberg, Verizon's CEO. He has a vision I share. Broadband everywhere, everything over broadband, and one company providing all services to customers. However, his execution is not necessarily the only possible model nor the best.

vrijdag 25 juli 2003

Web Supplants TV as Teen Media Hub

The Internet has surpassed television in overall time usage to become the primary medium of choice among teens and young adults. That was one finding from a research study commissioned by Yahoo! and Carat North America to determine media consumption among consumers ages 13-24. The survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive and Teenage Research Unlimited, also found that the younger generation uses the Internet as its media "hub" and feels empowered by the available media choices.
When I mentioned in last week's column that I would this week be writing about a legal way to do a successful music downloading business -- a business that would threaten the Recording Industry Association of America and its hegemony -- dozens of readers wrote to me trying to predict what I would write.  Some readers came at the problem from a purely technical perspective, ignoring the fact that the real issues here aren't technical but legal.  Some readers took a legal approach, but they tended to ignore the business model.  Some were looking solely for the business model.  Interestingly, nobody even came close to my idea, which makes me either a total loon or a diabolical genius.  Truth be told, I'm probably more of a diabolical loon.
Interactive television -- or enhanced TV, as many developers now prefer to call it -- may seem too young an industry for clich�s. But these hypothetical chestnuts of next-generation broadcasting are as overused as they are outdated, said TV producers at the American Film Institute's sixth annual eTV workshop Wednesday in Los Angeles. "Look, we don't want people clicking all over our shirts or sofas, and we don't want seven endings -- we just want the right one," said Todd Stevens, co-executive producer of NBC's Friends.
Angela Valaine had a problem. The 25-year-old Atlantan was spending so much time building websites that she had nearly forgotten what sunlight was like. But in a classic lemons-into-lemonade move, she decided that rather than get lost in her computer, she would get creative, and find new friends in the process. So she started a clique. A clique is traditionally defined as a group of mostly teens who spend a lot of time together, control who hangs out with them and talk about a few specific subjects. But these days, another definition of a clique is a website that serves as a virtual gathering place, where the site's owner picks the topic of discussion, sets rules for joining and vets whose on-topic sites can be linked.

Contrary to what you might have heard, American businesses are buying more high tech equipment and computer software than ever. So far this year the pace of investment is faster than during the heroic phase of the 1990s boom, and even faster than at the prime of the dotcom bubble in early 2000. Yes, the notable exception is purchases of fiber-optic cables and network gear. Telecom companies are not buying to increase their systems' capacity. But everybody else is. Economists forecast that the inflation-adjusted amount of computer equipment being bought by businesses this year adds up to more than $300 billion. That's more than one-fifth higher than the summer 2000 peak. High tech investments have been growing at an average rate of more than 20 percent per year since the recession's low point in the summer of 2001.

donderdag 24 juli 2003

In the Lecture Hall, a Geek Chorus

At the University of Maryland, it started as an innocent question posed in an e-mail message to those attending WebShop, a three-week lecture series about the Internet.

"Does anyone else think it would be a good idea if we all had IM available to us during these lectures?" asked Sinan Aral, a doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management, referring to instant messaging. "Several times after questions, I wanted to 'whisper' to someone across the room or send a relevant link."

woensdag 23 juli 2003

'Blogs' shake the political discourse

"Oliver Willis, 25, doesn't match the old-school profile of political influence. He's not a rich man or a player in Democratic circles; in the 2000 presidential campaign, the most he did was purchase a Gore/Lieberman hat.

But he has a political platform of his own, a website called oliverwillis.com, which he runs from his sparsely furnished apartment in Dedham. And when he posted an essay there, promoting former Vermont governor Howard Dean for Democratic nominee, he drew a flood of comments from people he had never met. When Oliver Willis talks, it turns out, the blogosphere cares."

Your Permanent Record

My 81-year-old mother - until recently a computer-phobe - is living the future. Not so long ago, whenever I would visit her, the first question she'd ask was "Which pictures did you bring?" And, as she is a Jewish mother, whichever pictures I brought were, somehow, the wrong ones - until one day I said, "All of them. All the pictures I have taken since the last time I saw you." I had my laptop with me. We went through the photos, and when we got to the last one, my mother said, "I want that." I assumed she meant the image on the screen and offered to print it. But no, she wanted the computer itself. I bought her one and loaded it up with pictures.

vrijdag 18 juli 2003


Korea's Weird Wired World

Strange things happen when an entire country is hooked on high-speed Internet. Dear Abby has yet to receive a letter on this one. Last September Han Sang, a 14-year-old boy in Seoul, stole $35 from his parents to buy sunglasses and other accessories. The petty thievery was bad enough, but what really irked his dad, Kim Sung Bae, was that none of the stuff he bought was real. They were for the animated character, or avatar, the boy used as a stand-in for himself on the Internet. Han was spending four hours each night hanging out online with his friends and wanted his virtual stand-in to look as cool as possible. Kim punished his son with an Internet curfew: No more surfing after midnight. Every Sunday afternoon would be Internet-free family time, and Han Sang would have to watch TV with his parents for a few hours a week. His parents, in return, promised to visit Han's virtual worlds with him. South Korea has gone gaga over broadband. This nation of 46 million people, packed into an area smaller than Virginia, has quickly become the world's most wired nation. Politics, entertainment, sex, mass media, crime and commerce are being reshaped by a population as online as it is offline. Some 11 million homes, or 70% of the total, have broadband accounts, and at peak times just about all of those homes are online. Nearly two-thirds of Korean mobile phone users have shifted to so-called third-generation handsets that offer speeds up to ten times that of mobiles in the U.S. Here, residential broadband isn't expected to enter 50% of homes until late 2004.

donderdag 17 juli 2003


Cell Phones, Billboards Play Tag

Point and click your mobile phone at a poster in London movie theaters this July and you'll be able to directly access the movie's Web page. Due to be launched in 20 cinemas in mid-July, the Hypertag technology will enable mobile-phone and PDA users one-click access to Web pages by pointing and clicking at advertising posters. The real-world equivalent of hyperlinks, the small battery-powered electronic tags use infrared signals to send Web links to mobile phones. Developed by the Cambridge, U.K.-based company Hypertag, these smart tags can be discreetly attached to any information display surface, such as advertising panels, billboards or walls, enabling any mobile-phone user with an infrared port or Bluetooth to access digital content by downloading a small software application.
The Wall Street Journal

Rising Clout of Google Prompts Rush by Internet Rivals to Adapt

Google, a clever online search service with a silly name, has already transformed the way people use the Internet. Now it's shaking up the strategies of companies all over the Web business, from Microsoft Corp. to Yahoo Inc. To its rivals, Google is gaining a strategic position that could give it too much influence over Internet commerce. Its dominance of online searches means it can reach Web users from the moment they start browsing, and steer them to anyone with a product to sell or advertise. Of roughly four billion Internet searches conducted in May, 32% were conducted directly through Google, compared with 25% for Yahoo and 19% from AOL Time Warner Inc., according to comScore Networks, an Internet market-research firm. Google long ago realized something that is only dawning on many other companies: Searching isn't a Web sideline -- it's the Web's strategic heart. While Amazon and other sites try to position themselves as the central place for online shopping, thousands of shoppers are simply Googling for sandals or curtains and whatever else they want.

The software that hunts low fares

America West�s online site, like most of its rivals, used to ask prospective passengers when they wanted to travel and returned a price quote accordingly. Unlike most of its rivals, however, America West relies heavily on leisure travelers. So when customers said they wanted an easier way to search by price, the airline listened. Price-consious customers were frustrated by how long it took on traditional systems to hunt for low fares. So the airline offered a different method: Choose your fare, then browse the available dates. �Before, when you picked a market you�d have to go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth to pick a lowest price,� says Chris Stanley, America West�s director of Internet distribution. �This essentially allows you to search by price.�

woensdag 16 juli 2003

New York Times

The Lure of Data: Is It Addictive?

This is Charles Lax's brain on speed. Mr. Lax, a 44-year-old venture capitalist, is sitting in a conference for telecommunications executives at a hotel near Los Angeles, but he is not all here. Out of one ear, he listens to a live presentation about cable television technology; simultaneously, he surfs the Net on a laptop with a wireless connection, while occasionally checking his mobile device � part phone, part pager and part Internet gadget � for e-mail. Mr. Lax flew from Boston and paid $2,000 to attend the conference, called Vortex. But he cannot unwire himself long enough to give the presenters his complete focus. If he did, he would face a fate worse than lack of productivity: he would become bored. "It's hard to concentrate on one thing," he said, adding: "I think I have a condition."

dinsdag 1 juli 2003


The free research movement

The Public Library of Science aims to break the stranglehold that expensive academic journals have over federally funded research -- and start a scientific revolution. Michael Eisen, a biologist at UC-Berkeley, once spent a summer working as a play-by-play announcer for the minor league Columbia Mules, and when he talks about the sorry state of scientific publishing, he has a tendency to slip into an announcer's voice -- quick, high-pitched, loud, intense.

zondag 29 juni 2003

New York Times

Harry Crushes the Hulk

Here's what's wrong with kids in the digital age. They live in front of their TV and PC screens. They steal music online. Their attention span is zilch. They multitask on everything and concentrate on nothing except video games. They will buy any trashy product that the media goliaths can sell them, then drop it as soon as the next big hype comes along. That's merely the short list of hard-wired assumptions that were short-circuited by last weekend's publication of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." On Saturday alone, J. K. Rowling's fifth novel sold five million copies nationwide. In a culture where little registers until it's measured in dollars, just do the math. Figure an average price of $20 a "Harry" (allowing for widely varying discounts on the $29.99 list price), and you have a one-day gross, as Variety would say, of $100 million. That's more money than the competing Hollywood fantasy, "The Hulk," brought in for its entire opening weekend ($62 million), and, assuming a very conservative average of two readers per book, a larger audience as well.

zaterdag 28 juni 2003

Business Week

Coming Soon: A Horror Show for TV Ads

TiVo's digital recorders indicate that viewers don't necessarily watch the ads, even on hit shows. Agencies and networks are still in denial. "I know that 50% of my advertising is wasted. I just don't know which half," retail guru John Wanamaker famously quipped in 1886. Things haven't improved much since then. Magazines and newspapers still sell ads based on circulation, and TV networks have sold ads based on viewer ratings for the last 50 years, even though no one knows whether anyone actually watches commercials. More than a century after Wanamaker's lament, advertising remains as much an art as a science.

RFID Chips Are Here

RFID chips are being embedded in everything from jeans to paper money, and your privacy is at stake. Bar codes are something most of us never think about. We go to the grocery store to buy dog food, the checkout person runs our selection over the scanner, there's an audible beep or boop, and then we're told how much money we owe. Bar codes in that sense are an invisible technology that we see all the time, but without thinking about what's in front of our eyes.

vrijdag 27 juni 2003


The Revolution Will (Finally) Be Televised

When you hear the following terms, which medium comes to mind? Interactive. Clicks. Links. Lead generation. Portals. User data. Tracking. Opt-in (and -out). Real-time data. Brand metrics. Accountability. Cookies. CPM. Keyword search. Home network. Streaming. Broadband. Dial-up. Precision geotargeting. Retention. Acquisition. User control. Did you answer, "the Internet"? You've got some catching up to do. It's high time all you Luddite marketers out there became familiar with a radical new advertising medium: television.

woensdag 25 juni 2003

Business Week

How Amazon Opens Up and Cleans Up

By allowing friendly hackers to access its data and feeds, the e-commerce giant is creating a fast-growing ecosystem where buying and selling thrive. When Paul Bausch goes to the bookstore or mall, he brings along his cell phone -- but not to chat with friends about his purchases. Bausch, a programmer and Web developer by trade, has written a simple piece of software that lets him download onto his handset lists of favorite items on Amazon.com. If Bausch wants to check out a cooking gadget before he buys it at a store, he can pull up his wish list and make sure he's looking at the right model. He can also check the store price against Amazon's. Or, he says, "I can click through right on Amazon if I want to have it delivered."

dinsdag 24 juni 2003

Business 2.0

Downloading the Future of TV Advertising

With a plink and a plunk and 86 moving parts, Honda reminds the ad world of the value of great content -- and teaches it something about the power of interactivity. Through the simple act of releasing a remarkable television commercial onto the Web, the U.K. wing of automobile giant Honda (HMC) has unleashed something of a typhoon in the advertising business. Though it has yet to fully play out, Honda's ad proves the value of content and could stand as a turning point in the history of the television spot -- proof that interactivity won't kill television advertising, as many are now predicting, but may instead be instrumental in saving it.

maandag 23 juni 2003

New York Times

More Companies Pay Heed to Their 'Word of Mouse' Reputation

Early this year, the wrath of the World Wide Web rained down on Intuit when its TurboTax software programs displeased some customers, who then promptly posted their grievances all over Internet forums. The velocity in the spread of those critical remarks created a crisis for the company and a colorful case study for the budding academic field that examines the dynamic of online reputations. In January, soon after TurboTax's release, angry customer reviews flooded Extremetech.com, CNET.com, Slashdot.org and many other sites that allow the public to contribute product reviews. Much of the criticism was aimed at antipiracy features in the software that made it hard for a customer to install the program on more than one computer and created the impression with some that Intuit was tracking users surreptitiously. On Amazon.com one reviewer wrote, "This reeks to high heaven!" Comments descended from there.

zaterdag 21 juni 2003


E-Mail Mob Takes Manhattan

There were no peasants waving torches or pitchforks in this crowd, no procession up a winding, eerie mountain road to flush out the monster who'd been terrorizing their town. The mob that gathered in Manhattan on Tuesday night was looking for something they referred to (without explanation) as a "Love Rug." Or at least that's what the couple of hundred people who gathered in Macy's department store told a bemused salesman, who may or may not have believed he was dealing with a commune of carpet-craving eccentrics. The crowd of people was participating in the Mob Project, an e-mail-driven experiment in organizing groups of people who suddenly materialize in public places, interact with others according to a loose script and then dissipate just as suddenly as they appeared.

woensdag 18 juni 2003


The New Pet Craze: Robovacs

Just as owners of robot pets like Sony's Aibo develop emotional attachments to their mechanical companions, people are acquiring similar feelings for their robot vacuum cleaners. The two leading robovac manufacturers -- iRobot and Electrolux -- report that owners treat their robovacs somewhat like pets. More than half the owners of iRobot's Roomba name their device, claims the Burlington, Massachussetts, company. Owners often talk to their machines, and many treat them as though they were alive, or semi-sentient, anyway. Some even take them on holiday, unwilling to leave them at home alone.

vrijdag 13 juni 2003

The New York Times

Voyager to a Strange Planet

In the year 29477, at the distant end of a strife-torn galaxy, one of the most famous residents of the planet Rubi-Ka is a genetically engineered mutant called Thedeacon. He is an ugly mutant, prideful and lewd. The spectacle of his wealth is surpassed by the vulgarity of his tongue. He sexually accosts strangers - be they female, male or neuter - and is renowned for his undying fetish for feet. Thedeacon is also a kind mutant, a leader and beacon. Among Rubi-Ka's weaker citizens, he is revered for his generosity of mind, for sharing the information others need to prosper. Among the planet's elite, he is respected for his generosity of spirit, for comforting the lovesick and the lonely. Thedeacon does not physically exist, of course. In the year 2003, at the blue-collar end of Madison, Wis., he is a struggling, frustrated 27-year-old computer repairman called Richard L. Stenlund.
Business Week

At Last, the Web Hits 100 MPH

The spread of broadband may finally allow the Net to reach its full commercial potential -- and change the way people live. Jon Nordmark has been through the e-tail bust, so the CEO of eBags Inc. has learned that the next cool thing is rarely what it seems. Yet he increasingly thinks broadband will be boffo. The evidence: In tests, customers who watch videos about the luggage he sells are 19% more likely to buy than customers who just look at pictures on his site. "We don't go hog-wild on any new idea until we have proven its effectiveness," Nordmark says. "Now we have."

dinsdag 10 juni 2003


The music biz in a Pearl Jam

Bands come and go from record labels in a revolving door of euphoria and dejection, so when the news came out that Pearl Jam had fulfilled its contract and was leaving Epic after 12 years, many in the industry shrugged and went back to their Mocha Malt Frappucinos. But this is more than just another band leaving just another label. This is one institution leaving another, the most popular and important American rock band of the �90s voluntarily rejecting the grandest label heritage � the longtime home of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Santana, Miles Davis and Tony Bennett � because the band may no long require the services of a major label.
Strategy + Business

Cybertrust: An Economic Imperative

Trust may be the most underestimated asset in commerce. Almost all transactions involve some potential for misrepresentation, noncompliance, or fraud. To deal with those risks, parties to commercial transactions rely upon elaborate contracts, arrange to monitor performance, or turn to litigation. These methods all work, but they are all costly. Mutual trust, when it exists, is a far better and more efficient alternative; it substantially lowers transaction costs, and it can offer a big competitive advantage. One World Bank study, using a regression analysis covering the 1980s, suggests that a 10 percent difference in the degree of generic trust among the citizens of a nation is reflected in a 0.8 percent variance in that country�s rate of economic growth. With average annual growth worldwide in the range of 1 to 3 percent during the same period, it is easy to see the payback in building trust.

maandag 9 juni 2003

Tecnology Review

Convergence Is Reality

Who would have anticipated that reality television would turn out to be the killer app of media convergence? Imagine Survivor as a giant cat and mouse game being played between producers and consumers. The producers plant clues, foreshadow results, and offer hints in interviews, trying to create enormous public interest they can harvest for their advertisers. Week by week, the eagerly anticipated results are fodder for water cooler discussions and get reported as news�even on rival networks.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

Imagine you woke up one day and Walt Disney had taken over the world. Not only that, but money's been abolished and somebody's developed the Cure for Death. Welcome to the Bitchun Society and make sure you're strapped in tight, because it's going to be a wild ride. In a world where everyone's wishes can come true, one man returns to the original, crumbling city of dreams Disney World. Here in the spiritual center of the Bitchun Society he struggles to find and preserve the original, human face of the Magic Kingdom against the young, post-human and increasingly alien inheritors of the Earth. Now that any experience can be simulated, human relationships become ever more fragile; and to Julius, the corny, mechanical ghosts of the Haunted Mansion have come to seem like a precious link to a past when we could tell the real from the simulated, the true from the false. Cory Doctorow cultural critic, Disneyphile, and ultimate Early Adopter uses language with the reckless confidence of the Beat poets. Yet behind the dazzling prose and vibrant characters lie ideas we should all pay heed to. The future rushes on like a plummeting roller coaster, and it's hard to see where we're going. But at least with this book Doctorow has given us a map of the park.
The Observer

If you really want to know, ask a blogger

Assiduous students of the print media will have noticed its practitioners becoming increasingly exercised about 'blogging' - the practice of publishing web-logs or online journals. On 18 May, for example, one Geoffrey Nunberg fulminated in the New York Times about the fact that whenever one does a Google search on any topical issue, the top page rankings often go to blogs rather than established media sources (such as the New York Times ).

zondag 8 juni 2003

Business 2.0

It's All About Who You Know

Social networking software is intriguing. But does it really replace the old-fashioned method of making connections? Today's column got its start when Kevin Werbach, another tech commentator, sent me a request to join his "network" at the new site LinkedIn. I was curious about LinkedIn, so Werbach helped me contact its founder, Reid Hoffman -- even though Werbach doesn't know Hoffman personally (the two just "have friends in common"). Werbach helped me meet someone useful to my work. And this is just what Hoffman is trying to systematize with his service.
Business Week

Phone Companies Find Bundles of Joy

Packages that combine wireless, Web, and other services could be just what the telecoms need to boost revenues and retain customers. Way back in 1998, AT&T; introduced its Digital One Rate plan, which promised the same per-minute charge for long-distance and local calls made via cell phone -- and it was a huge financial hit. That year, the plan got credit for a third-quarter increase of 19%, to $1.42 billion, in the revenues of AT&T; Wireless, which hadn't yet been spun off from AT&T; (T ). The division's subscriber list grew 74% in that quarter alone, to 325,000. "The Digital One rate has turned out to be a home run," Michael Armstrong, AT&T;'s chairman, said at the time.

vrijdag 6 juni 2003

Mercury News

Hey Tony, outta the way, mob moves on `Sims Online'

Tony Soprano can keep Jersey (who wants it, anyways?) A new family is movin' in on unclaimed turf -- online. An underground group known as the Sims Shadow Government has taken over the fantasy world that is ``The Sims Online,'' meting out mob justice. It's a violent twist for ``The Sims,'' the dollhouse-inspired computer game that has long been portrayed as the antithesis to guns-'n-gore bestsellers like ``Grand Theft Auto.'' The emergence of a seedy underbelly in the online game may reveal more about the dark fantasies of middle-aged suburbanites than anyone suspected.

What's In A Pipe?

When the telephone was first invented and marketed, the people behind this "new" technology saw it as another way of getting content to people. It was seen to be a wired form of media, like radio, having the ability to deliver, weather, news, music, stock quotes and entertainment. Sure some of these telephone services are around today, but they are hardly the reason why the majority uses the humble fixed line phone. The explosion of the telephone came from point-to-point usage, a way to facilitate communication between individuals and essentially it remains true to this today.

So why do Telco's continue to push down the content path with the lessons of the past so clearly written on the wall?

woensdag 4 juni 2003


Building a TiVo, a Step at a Time

Forget TiVo and ReplayTV. If you want a really super-duper digital video recorder, you have to build your own. All you need is knowledge of Linux, plenty of cash for hardware and, if anything goes wrong, hundreds of hours to troubleshoot the device. Thanks to several open-source projects, you can build your own digital video recorder that will blow boxes from TiVo and ReplayTV right off the shelf. About a dozen collaborative software projects are in the works that will transform a spare computer, or one built from off-the-shelf parts, into a homemade digital video recorder, or DVR.
Business 2.0

Putting Online Ads in Context

Overture and Google have figured out how to sell the Web. Paid search has already saved Yahoo -- and your business might be next. The long-awaited "30-second spot for the Web" -- a way for ads to finally work online -- may well be at hand. Overture (OVER), the company some say saved Yahoo's (YHOO) bacon, will shortly roll out a service that opens up the entire Web to a new form of advertising. "It's potentially revolutionary," says Scott Moore, who oversees Slate and MSNBC.com for Microsoft (MSFT). How revolutionary? Moore says using Overture's new service, or one like it, could well push his sites to sustained profitability.

zaterdag 31 mei 2003

Business 2.0

Don't Believe the Hype About Strategy

The best way to build a company for the future is to cut back on meetings and get to work. There I sit, at yet another board meeting, listening to an executive drone on about sales strategy and product strategy as he points to slick overheads filled with analyses of potential markets and buzzwords about competitive positioning. Then it dawns on me -- almost no one in the room, including the person talking, has visited a customer or, for that matter, even used the company's product in their own work. Unable to contain myself, I blurt out, "How about this for a sales strategy: Instead of sitting around talking about customers, why not call on them? Why not try to sell to them and, at the same time, find out what they want so we can improve?"

Under almost all conditions, fast learners are going to outperform even the most brilliant planners.

vrijdag 30 mei 2003

The Economist

Prime clicking time

At last, internet advertising that works but does not annoy. Surfing the web, like the waters, is supposed to be a smooth and speedy experience. But these days, it is more a case of dodging obstacles: advertising windows pop up all over the screen. In reaction, many computer users have installed programs to block the ads. AOL, the leading online service, is distributing software that lets its 35m subscribers suppress pesky pop-ups (except its own, of course). Fortunately, this irritating online marketing could be the last gasp of a doomed attempt to advertise on the web in basically the same way as print. A less annoying alternative has been found that is more effective than banner ads, which are now mostly ignored by surfers. These are simple, text-based ads that are directly linked to what people are doing online.

The third era starts here

The programmable web will fundamentally change how we use information stored on the internet. Jack Schofield explains how. Google doesn't own the web, according to its director of technology, Craig Silverstein. The competition is just a click away. Thousands of programmers are now devoting their own time to developing things that could change that. What used to be a search engine is turning into a platform for applications. Of course, it's not just Google that is changing. Amazon and eBay are doing the same thing, but much more seriously. As a result, some people think that the web is now entering its third era. After static web pages and dynamic web pages, we are now developing what some are calling "the programmable web," though whether it is still the web remains open to doubt.

woensdag 28 mei 2003


Online music on verge of revolution

A generation from now, historians may look back at 2003 as a year that redefined popular music. Although the significance of Apple Computer's recently announced iTunes music service is debatable, it underscores an undeniable trend toward bringing digital music to the masses. This three-day special report examines myriad elements of the music universe that were unthinkable only a few years ago.

zondag 25 mei 2003

Business Week

Yahoo! Act Two

After leading a gritty turnaround, CEO Terry Semel is thinking big. So is the competition. When Terry S. Semel walked into the Sunnyvale (Calif.) headquarters of Yahoo! (YHOO ) Inc. for his first day as chief executive on May 1, 2001, he faced an unenviable task. Ad sales at the Internet icon were plummeting, and the new CEO was replacing the well-liked Timothy Koogle, who had been pushed aside by the company's board. Worse, leery employees quickly saw that Semel, a retired Hollywood exec, didn't know Internet technology and looked stiffly out of place at Yahoo's playful, egalitarian headquarters. Would this guy tour the Valley in the purple Yahoo car, as Koogle did, or play a Yahoo kazoo? Fat chance. And instead of bunking in nearby Atherton or Palo Alto, like other Silicon Valley execs, he rode off every evening in a chauffeured SUV to a luxury suite at San Francisco's Four Seasons Hotel.

"If We Run Out of Batteries, This War is Screwed."

It's early April, days before the fall of Baghdad, and a convoy of trucks from the 11th Signal Brigade is rolling through southern Iraq. The mission: establish a digital beachhead in central Iraq. Without this advance node and a handful like it, the Army's Third Infantry Division cannot receive the precise targeting information it needs to fight its way into the capital. About 9 am, soldiers in the convoy see something that fills them with dread: four dead sheep by the side of the dusty road. Within a mile, they spot two more and quickly pull the convoy to a halt. What many had feared since arriving in the Middle East now looks to be a reality: chemical attack. The convoy leader does two things, one in keeping with well-established military protocol and one entirely new. First, he makes a lot of noise. He lets out three long blasts on the horn - the low tech signal for a chemical attack. Then, after donning his own protective gear, he turns to a computer terminal bolted to the dash of his vehicle.

zaterdag 24 mei 2003


A Matrix in every medium

Anime, video games, movies: The synergistic storytelling frenzy of the Wachowski brothers is like nothing we've seen before. Four years of waiting are finally over for "Matrix" fans. This Thursday will mark the simultaneous release of "The Matrix Reloaded," the first of two sequels set to hit movie screens this year, and "Enter the Matrix," a companion video game. The second wave will arrive on June 3, with the release of a DVD titled "The Animatrix," containing a series of nine animated film shorts set in the world of the Matrix. The DVD of "Reloaded" is expected to follow in late October, clearing the way for the release of "The Matrix Revolutions," the third and final installment of the "Matrix" saga, in early November.

Make cheats, not war

The US army's foray into violent PC games has been hailed a success. But, says David McCandless, it didn't allow for one thing - cheaters. Christopher has been killed in action many times: 305 to be exact. But his most recent death was the last straw. Defending an Alaskan pipeline from terrorist attack, he and his nine-man squad came under fire from a sniper who picked them off, one by one, in just under a minute. "We were lying on the ground, prone, in thick fog," he says. "There's no way he should have been able to shoot us, let alone see us. He must've been cheating."

woensdag 21 mei 2003

USA Today

Sound technology turns the way you hear on its ear

Rarely is an invention so unique, so visceral and so simple that in 15 seconds most people who experience it realize it could alter everyday life. But that's what happens to just about anyone who steps out to the back parking lot of American Technology Corp. (ATC) here for a demonstration of its invention called HyperSonic Sound (HSS). Essentially, HSS for the first time does for sound what the laser did for light � intensely focuses and channels it so it can travel great distances without dispersing. In the demo, a technician points a speaker the size of a cereal box at someone standing 100 yards away. Amid the din of the nearby freeway, the technician plays a recording of ice cubes clinking into a glass.

dinsdag 20 mei 2003

The New York Times

Business Is Toying With a Web Tool

Is there a role for wikis in the workplace? The wiki, a quirky software technology that has been kicking around the Web since the mid-90's, is starting to gain respectability. But will the business world embrace a tool that until recently has been used mainly by techies and Internet free spirits? A wiki � the Hawaiian word for fast � is similar to a Web log in that the software makes it extremely easy for anyone to publish on the Internet. But unlike a Web log, which is typically the work of a single author making diary-style entries in chronological order, a wiki is the collective work of many authors.

A new brand of journalism is taking root in South Korea

Lee Bong-Ryul has a day job as an engineer at a semiconductor company. In his spare time, he's helping to shape tomorrow's journalism. Lee is an active ``citizen-reporter'' for OhmyNews, an online news service. Only 4 years old, the publication has already shaken up the South Korean journalism and political establishments while attracting an enormous audience. OhmyNews is transforming the 20th century's journalism-as-lecture model, where organizations tell the audience what the news is and the audience either buys it or doesn't, into something vastly more bottom-up, interactive and democratic.

maandag 19 mei 2003


Growing up wired

In the coming weeks, the first wave in a generation of teens unlike any other will graduate from Silicon Valley high schools: The vast majority of them will remember an adolescence lived to an astonishing degree on the Internet. These teens, some of whom have been online nearly a decade, are among the Internet's first natives, at home in the wired world to a degree their parents may never wholly understand.

zaterdag 17 mei 2003

Washington Post

Middle Schoolers, Letting Their Fingers Do the Talking

A shy 10-year-old girl who has trouble talking face-to-face with other kids has dozens of online friends and spends hours every day sending them instant messages. A 10-year-old boy communicates with his cousins across the country through regular IMs, never even considering a phone call. An 11-year-old girl, looking for a friend to take to the movies, goes first to the computer to see who's free, and only later -- reluctantly -- agrees to pick up the phone to find someone. Parents of children this age say they have been waiting for their preteens to talk over the phone line and buzz away, but it's not happening and it looks as if it may not happen at all. The land line, it seems, is just so last century.
The New York Times

Film Rentals, Downloaded to Your PC

Decades ago, a Mad magazine cartoonist, Dave Berg, offered a vision of how the Soviet Union might win the cold war. Here in America, a never-ending succession of labor-saving devices - escalators, cars, remote controls and so on - had already created the most sedentary society on earth. All the Soviets had to do was wait until we evolved into living Weebles, complete with tippy, round bases and vestigial leg sprouts. Then they would just knock us over with the butts of their rifles.

How cell phones are changing our social habits

We're ruder. We're later. We're more spontaneous, less hamstrung by geography and at least semi-willing to accept rules of conduct created by children. Mobile phones may be smaller than ever, but they're changing us in big ways. Context, a Baltimore company that uses anthropologists to study consumer trends, says as much in its latest study of cell phone users, a report called ``The Mobiles.''

vrijdag 9 mei 2003

Clay Shirky's Writings About the Internet

Customer-owned Networks: ZapMail and the Telecommunications Industry

To understand what's going to happen to the telephone companies this year thanks to WiFi (otherwise known as 802.11b) and Voice over IP (VoIP) you only need to know one story: ZapMail. The story goes like this. In 1984, flush from the success of their overnight delivery business, Federal Express announced a new service called ZapMail, which guaranteed document delivery in 2 hours. They built this service not by replacing their planes with rockets, but with fax machines. This was CEO Fred Smith's next big idea after the original delivery business. Putting a fax machine in every FedEx office would radically reconfigure the center of their network, thus slashing costs: toner would replace jet fuel, bike messenger's hourly rates would replace pilot's salaries, and so on. With a much less expensive network, FedEx could attract customers with a discount on regular delivery rates, but with the dramatically lower costs, profit margins would be huge compared to actually moving packages point to point. Lower prices, higher margins, and to top it all off, the customer would get their documents in 2 hours instead of 24. What's not to love? Abject failure was not to love, as it turned out. Two years and hundreds of millions of dollars later, FedEx pulled the plug on ZapMail, allowing it to vanish without a trace. And the story of ZapMail's collapse holds a crucial lesson for the telephone companies today.

donderdag 8 mei 2003


Blogger: Catch Me If You Can

A mysterious weblog purporting to be the journal of an anonymous heiress on the run from her wealthy family appears to be a hoax. But the site and offline elements supporting it are so elaborate and so well executed that many bloggers suspect the whole thing just might be true. The Flight Risk weblog tells the incredible story of Isabella V., a wealthy young woman who claims she went into hiding in early March to avoid an arranged marriage.

Your TV is watching you

Advertisers want to use new technology to monitor your every click -- and prevent you from tuning out their ads. And don't even think of trying to escape. Several years ago, Predictive Networks, a software company based in Cambridge, Mass., set out to determine what it could tell about a person based on how he or she used a television remote control.