woensdag 21 december 2005

Downfall of paid-listing websites

Very interesting analysis from Bill Burnham on the impact Google Base, and future similar services, will have on vertical businesses like monster.com, ebay.com, match.com, and basically any other paid-listing website. These services use a "Walled Garden" approach, a model that will soon be made obsolete because of the open character of the web, and the way it can be indexed, structured and searched. With Google Base as a potential king of vertical search.

"Google base is essentially the world’s largest XML database. If you take the time to read through the XML schema you will see that Google has essentially already built all of the components that it needs to enter the vertical search space in a big way; all it needs to do now is refine a few algorithms and flip a switch. If and when it does so, it will undoubtedly not only the have the largest collection of listings in all major categories overnight but will also have arguably the best distribution channel for those listings on the Internet. This is not good news if you are currently charging to either to display or to access similar listings (or if you are a vertical search start-up)."

De ondergang van betaalde advertentie websites

Zeer interessante analyse van Bill Burnham over de impact die Google Base, en vergelijkbare diensten, zal hebben op de business van verticaal georienteerde websites als monster.com, ebay.com, match.com, maar eigenlijk op elke website waar je moet betalen om te kunnen 'adverteren'. Dit soort diensten hebben een zogenaamd "Walled Garden" model. Een model dat snel achterhaald zal worden als gevolg van de openheid, indexeer- en structuureerbaarheid en doorzoekbaarheid van het internet. Met Google Base als een voorbeeld van een dienst die de koning van het 'verticale zoeken' zou kunnen worden.

"Google base is essentially the world’s largest XML database. If you take the time to read through the XML schema you will see that Google has essentially already built all of the components that it needs to enter the vertical search space in a big way; all it needs to do now is refine a few algorithms and flip a switch. If and when it does so, it will undoubtedly not only the have the largest collection of listings in all major categories overnight but will also have arguably the best distribution channel for those listings on the Internet. This is not good news if you are currently charging to either to display or to access similar listings (or if you are a vertical search start-up)."

dinsdag 20 december 2005

1 billion internet users

These statistics and Jakob Nielsen's analysis say it all.

"According to Morgan Stanley estimates, 36% of Internet users are now in Asia and 24% are in Europe. Only 23% of users are in North America, where it all started in 1969 when two computers -- one in Los Angeles, the other in Palo Alto -- were networked together."

1 miljard internet gebruikers

De cijfers en Jakob Nielsen's analyse spreken voor zich.

"According to Morgan Stanley estimates, 36% of Internet users are now in Asia and 24% are in Europe. Only 23% of users are in North America, where it all started in 1969 when two computers -- one in Los Angeles, the other in Palo Alto -- were networked together."

maandag 19 december 2005

The probabilistic age

Chris Anderson has a post on a topic I find myself thinking about a lot lately. He calls it the probabilistic age.

"When professionals--editors, academics, journalists--are running the show, we at least know that it's someone's job to look out for such things as accuracy. But now we're depending more and more on systems where nobody's in charge; the intelligence is simply emergent. These probabilistic systems aren't perfect, but they are statistically optimized to excel over time and large numbers. They're designed to scale, and to improve with size. And a little slop at the microscale is the price of such efficiency at the macroscale."

In the comments Chris makes a very important remark on Wikipedia, saying it is a mix of authority and statistics that make it work. I think that mix is something we will see happening everywhere in order to make sure that certain problems are fixed...

"In the popular entries with many eyes watching, Wikipedia becomes closer to the statistical average of the views of the participants, weighted by such factors the authority of each as defined by the others (frequent contributors to any entry tend to win any vote-offs). Studies have shown that for such entries, the mean time to repair vandalism of the sort you describe is measured in minutes. As Wikipeida grows that rapid self-repairing property will spread to more entries."

Statistieken en authoriteit

Chris Anderson heeft een stuk geschreven over een onderwerp dat mij de laatste tijd ook erg bezig houdt. Hij noemt het "the probabilistic age".

"When professionals--editors, academics, journalists--are running the show, we at least know that it's someone's job to look out for such things as accuracy. But now we're depending more and more on systems where nobody's in charge; the intelligence is simply emergent. These probabilistic systems aren't perfect, but they are statistically optimized to excel over time and large numbers. They're designed to scale, and to improve with size. And a little slop at the microscale is the price of such efficiency at the macroscale."

In de reacties doet Chris nog een belangrijke toevoeging wanneer hij over Wikipedia zegt dat het een mix van statistieken en authoriteit is die deze dienst goed laat werken. En dat is iets wat we denk ik op heel veel plekken zullen gaan terug zien om ervoor te zorgen dat sommige problemen snel verdwijnen...

"In the popular entries with many eyes watching, Wikipedia becomes closer to the statistical average of the views of the participants, weighted by such factors the authority of each as defined by the others (frequent contributors to any entry tend to win any vote-offs). Studies have shown that for such entries, the mean time to repair vandalism of the sort you describe is measured in minutes. As Wikipeida grows that rapid self-repairing property will spread to more entries."

zaterdag 17 december 2005

Guilt-free easy money

Tim Harford raises a lot of good questions on the Xbox 360 shortage.

"Microsoft has got it wrong, too, but they have missed out on a far more obvious opportunity. Why didn't they sell their initial supply of Xbox consoles, packaged as a "limited edition," using online auctions? All the while they would promise $300 consoles as soon as stocks were available. Since at an auction the price is set by the buyers, not the seller, Microsoft could have made a killing, absolutely guilt-free, and created no more annoyed, empty-handed customers than they have with their current strategy."

Tekort = prijs te laag

Tim Harford stelt een aantal terechte vragen over de Xbox 360 tekorten.

"Microsoft has got it wrong, too, but they have missed out on a far more obvious opportunity. Why didn't they sell their initial supply of Xbox consoles, packaged as a "limited edition," using online auctions? All the while they would promise $300 consoles as soon as stocks were available. Since at an auction the price is set by the buyers, not the seller, Microsoft could have made a killing, absolutely guilt-free, and created no more annoyed, empty-handed customers than they have with their current strategy."

maandag 12 december 2005

Gepatenteerde McDownload's?

Op Marketingfacts krijg ik net het advies om het artikel in FEM over de "Hype 2.0" niet te lezen. Aangezien het niet online staat zou ik dat zowieso al niet doen, maar na het lezen van dit bericht op de FEM Business Weblog weet ik zeker dat ik weinig mis.

"Disney heeft een patentaanvraag ingediend voor het aanbieden van downloads als klantenlokkertje in restaurants. Eventueel in combinatie met een draagbare mediaspeler, die de films via een wifi-verbinding binnenhaalt. Goed plan. Zo gaan die wifi-hotspots waar McDonald's ook in Nederland mee is uitgerust, eindelijk eens wat data verstoken."

Een goed plan...?!?! Een patent voor het aanbieden van downloads als klantenlokkertje in restaurants? Dat er belasting geld besteed moet worden om z'n patentaanvraag uberhaupt in behandeling te nemen is al te absurd voor woorden.

zaterdag 10 december 2005

Sell Google shares

Besides the question of whether Google's strategy and assets have more potential than for instance Yahoo!'s (I don't think so), there are some other reasons why Google is being overvalued on the stock exchange. Nicholas Carr sums it up after an interesting remark made by Bill Gates. My conclusion would be: sell Google shares.

"The online ad market is going to become more efficient. Much of the profit that now goes to the operators of the ad-serving technology will be redistributed. Some will go to the advertisers, in the form of lower rates, and some will go to the publishers, in the form of higher commissions. And if Gates is serious - and I'm betting he is - some will go to the internet users themselves, whose clicks, after all, make the whole system work. In the battle for eyeballs, bribery can be a powerful weapon."

The more fundamental reason for the fact that the current situation is not sustainable is that it won't take long before we understand that our individual 'attention' has worth and that we are increasingly able to exploit it.

Google aandelen verkopen

Los van de vraag of de strategie en assets van Google echt daadwerkelijk beter zijn dan die van bijvoorbeeld Yahoo! (ik denk van niet), zijn er nog een aantal redenen waarom Google zwaar overgewaardeerd wordt (op de beurs). Nicholas Carr vat e.e.a. samen naar aanleiding van een opmerking van Bill Gates. Mijn conclusie zou zijn: verkopen die aandelen.

"The online ad market is going to become more efficient. Much of the profit that now goes to the operators of the ad-serving technology will be redistributed. Some will go to the advertisers, in the form of lower rates, and some will go to the publishers, in the form of higher commissions. And if Gates is serious - and I'm betting he is - some will go to the internet users themselves, whose clicks, after all, make the whole system work. In the battle for eyeballs, bribery can be a powerful weapon."

De fundamentele reden waarom de huidige situatie onhoudbaar zal blijken te zijn is dat het niet lang zal duren voordat wij doorhebben dat onze individuele 'aandacht' geld waard is en steeds beter geëxploiteerd kan worden.

Iedereeen praat met iedereen

Vaak wanneer mensen het hebben over weblogs wordt geclaimed dat er eigenlijk niets nieuws onder de zon is. "10 jaar geleden had ik ook al een pagina op het web" zeggen ze dan. Maar wat weblogs fundamenteel anders maakt is syndicatie. Syndicatie zorgt ervoor dat het statische web veranderd in een levend web. Lees deze twee (1, 2) artikelen in het Linux Journal geschreven door Doc Searls om dit alles beter te bergijpen.

"Blogging predated syndication, but it was syndication that began to give form to the live Web. Syndication provided a way for people, and the tools they use, to pay attention (through subscription) to feeds from syndicated sources. At first these sources were blogs and publications, but later they came to include searches for topics of conversation, including the names of authors, URLs and permalinks for particular blog posts or news stories. Many of those sources were not the blogs themselves, but search engines reporting the results of keyword and URL searches."

Everyone is talking to everyone

Often when people speak about blogs, they miss the point when claiming it's nothing new. "I had a personal homepage 10 years ago" is what they say. But what makes blogging different is syndication. Syndication has turned the static web into a live web. Read these two (1, 2) articles in Linux Journal by Doc Searls in order to better understand this.

"Blogging predated syndication, but it was syndication that began to give form to the live Web. Syndication provided a way for people, and the tools they use, to pay attention (through subscription) to feeds from syndicated sources. At first these sources were blogs and publications, but later they came to include searches for topics of conversation, including the names of authors, URLs and permalinks for particular blog posts or news stories. Many of those sources were not the blogs themselves, but search engines reporting the results of keyword and URL searches."

donderdag 8 december 2005

Social search

Interesting new social search service from Yahoo! that allows people to ask and answers questions in a community environment. Contextual advertising could prove to be an interesting revenue model for both Yahoo! and answering users.... And who knows, it might even solve other problems as well.

"Yahoo today rolled out a very Web 2,0-ey and potentially powerful new beta product, Yahoo Answers, that helps you connect with other users who can answer your questions. You can ask a question; answer a question; or browse already-answered questions. There are rating, participation points and ratting systems to help keep the community helpful and useful. If it works, it will provide a powerful catalog of useful user-generated content in such advertiser-attractive areas as consumer electronics, stay-at-home moms, health, etc. Time, as they say in Cliche Corner, will tell if Yahoo can control the scammers, spammers and marketers from taking over the joint."

Sociale zoekdienst

Interessante nieuwe sociale zoekdienst van Yahoo! welke mensen in staat stelt om vragen te stellen en te beantwoorden in een community omgeving. Contextueel relevante advertenties zouden wel eens een prima inkomstenmodel kunnen worden voor deze dienst, voor Yahoo!, maar ook voor de antwoordende gebruikers... En wie weet, andere problemen zouden er tegelijkertijd wel eens door opgelost kunnen worden.

"Yahoo today rolled out a very Web 2,0-ey and potentially powerful new beta product, Yahoo Answers, that helps you connect with other users who can answer your questions. You can ask a question; answer a question; or browse already-answered questions. There are rating, participation points and ratting systems to help keep the community helpful and useful. If it works, it will provide a powerful catalog of useful user-generated content in such advertiser-attractive areas as consumer electronics, stay-at-home moms, health, etc. Time, as they say in Cliche Corner, will tell if Yahoo can control the scammers, spammers and marketers from taking over the joint."

dinsdag 6 december 2005

Marc Canter

We just had another Marc Canter show at Les Blogs 2.0. I'm not going to repeat or analyze what he said, because I've blogged about it before when he wrote an article, "Breaking the web wide open", a short while ago. It is a must read for anyone interested in Web 2.0, Les Blogs 2.0, Identity 2.0 etc, etc. I just noticed I'll be speaking at a conference with him next year, let's see if I can keep him awake;-)

"Today's incumbents will have to adapt to the new openness of the Web 2.0. If they stick to their proprietary standards, code, and content, they'll become the new walled gardens—places users visit briefly to retrieve data and content from enclosed data silos, but not where users "live." The incumbents' revenue models will have to change. Instead of "owning" their users, users will know they own themselves, and will expect a return on their valuable identity and attention. Instead of being locked into incompatible media formats, users will expect easy access to digital content across many platforms."

Marc Canter

We hebben net weer een Marc Canter show gehad bij Les Blogs 2.0. Ik ga niet herhalen of analyseren wat hij net allemaal zei aangezien ik daar eerder een bericht over geplaatst heb toen zijn artikel, "Breaking the web wide open", een tijdje terug verscheen. Een 'must read' voor iedereen geinteresseerd in Web 2.0, Les Blogs 2.0, Identity 2.0 etc, etc. Ik kwam er net ook achter dat ik samen met hem zal spreken op een congres volgend jaar, benieuwd of ik hem wel wakker kan houden;-)

"Today's incumbents will have to adapt to the new openness of the Web 2.0. If they stick to their proprietary standards, code, and content, they'll become the new walled gardens—places users visit briefly to retrieve data and content from enclosed data silos, but not where users "live." The incumbents' revenue models will have to change. Instead of "owning" their users, users will know they own themselves, and will expect a return on their valuable identity and attention. Instead of being locked into incompatible media formats, users will expect easy access to digital content across many platforms."

Relevance of the wrong

Mena Trott jus gave an opening speech at the second day of the Les Blogs conference in Paris that ignited a heated discussion. She mentioned a case where famous blogger (and Yahoo! employee) Jeremy Zawodny wrote a post on a PR firm, Krause Taylor Associates. He accusses them of spamming him, but deep down in the comments he sort of admits being wrong about that. The problem for Krause Taylor Associates is not over however. If you Google them, hit number 2 is about the 'spam-incident'. The result is they're tainted because Google says this is the second most relevant piece of information publicly available on the web about Krause Taylor Associates. Most people Googling the firm will not read all the way down to Jeremy's 'apology' however.

Most present at Les Blogs agree this is a problem. But how do we solve this? Try to influence blogger behavior? Not likely to work well, but most speakers seem to be looking for a 'cultural' solution. But wouldn't it be great if there was a solution (facilitated by technology) that allows us, as a collective, to decrease the relevance of something that is wrong, assuming the wrong is undisputed by the ones who should/could know? Some sort of reputation management system may be? Should/could search engines present search results differently?

Relevantie van het verkeerde

Mena Trott hield net de openingsspeech op de tweede dag van de Les Blogs conferentie in Parijs en dit resulteerde in een verhitte discussie. Ze sprak over een geval waarbij de bekende blogger (en Yahoo! werknemer), Jeremy Zawodny, een bericht plaatste over een PR bureau, Krause Taylor Associates. Hij beschuldigt hun ervan hem te spammen, maar helemaal beneden in de reacties geeft hij toe het aan het verkeerde eind te hebben. Het probleem voor Krause Taylor Associates is echter niet over. Wanneer je ze Googled, dan is resultaat nummer 2 dit 'spam-incident'. Het gevolg is dat dit PR bureau duidelijk beschadigt is aangezien Google zegt dat dit bericht van Jeremy het op een na relevantste stukje informatie is op het publieke web. En aangezien de meeste mensen niet alle comments zullen gaan lezen....

De meeste mensen aanwezig bij Les Blogs zijn het er over eens dat dit een probleem is. Maar hoe kunnen we dit oplossen? Het gedrag van bloggers beinvloeden? Niet erg waarschijnlijk dat dit gaat helpen, maar de meeste sprekers denken wel in die richting. Zou het echter niet mooi zijn wanneer er een (door technologie gefaciliteerde) oplossing is welke ons, als collectief, in staat stelt om de relevantie van iets dat verkeerd is omlaag te brengen? Ervan uitgaande dat deze mening gedeeld wordt door de mensen die het kunnen/moeten weten? Een soort van reputatiemanagement systeem bijvoorbeeld? Zouden zoekmachines hun resultaten vervolgens misschien anders moeten/kunnen presenteren?

zondag 4 december 2005

Innovation according to Etsy

Sometimes you just need to forget about how and why things work the way they've always worked. Innovation might be the result, and Etsy is a nice example. A quote from the article (Yuri, do you have a link to the full article?):

"What is interesting about Etsy is the way Robert Kalin and his three co-founders have introduced some new ideas to the way shoppers can look for things. Don't know what you're looking for exactly, but know what color you're after? Move your mouse over a "Shop by Color" grid and see dozens of bubbles of color float under the cursor. Click on a color you like and small boxes will appear, each one a different product that matches your chosen color. Click on the box you like the look of and details of the product will pop up including price tag, the retailer in question, and a link where you can get more information. It isn't a revolution, but it's different -- and an improvement on bricks and mortar. Ever tried saying to a shop assistant "I don't know exactly what I'm looking for, but please line up all the products that are this shade of turquoise?" Expect a blank look at best, a surly brushoff, or a "We're closing now. Bye!"

Innovatie volgens Etsy

Soms moet je gewoon maar even vergeten hoe het komt dat sommige dingen werken zoals ze werken omdat ze altijd al zo gewerkt hebben... Innovatie kan het resultaat zijn, en Etsy is een mooi voorbeeld. (Yuri, heb je een link naar het hele artikel?)

"What is interesting about Etsy is the way Robert Kalin and his three co-founders have introduced some new ideas to the way shoppers can look for things. Don't know what you're looking for exactly, but know what color you're after? Move your mouse over a "Shop by Color" grid and see dozens of bubbles of color float under the cursor. Click on a color you like and small boxes will appear, each one a different product that matches your chosen color. Click on the box you like the look of and details of the product will pop up including price tag, the retailer in question, and a link where you can get more information. It isn't a revolution, but it's different -- and an improvement on bricks and mortar. Ever tried saying to a shop assistant "I don't know exactly what I'm looking for, but please line up all the products that are this shade of turquoise?" Expect a blank look at best, a surly brushoff, or a "We're closing now. Bye!"

zaterdag 3 december 2005

The MySpace generation

Nice article in BusinessWeek on the success of social networks like MySpace. A nice startingpoint for marketeers that do not really understand what's happening....

"Although networks are still in their infancy, experts think they're already creating new forms of social behavior that blur the distinctions between online and real-world interactions. In fact, today's young generation largely ignores the difference. Most adults see the Web as a supplement to their daily lives. They tap into information, buy books or send flowers, exchange apartments, or link up with others who share passions for dogs, say, or opera. But for the most part, their social lives remain rooted in the traditional phone call and face-to-face interaction."

De MySpace generatie

Aardig artikel in BusinessWeek over het succes van social networks als MySpace. Voor marketeers die weinig begrijpen van deze ontwikkeling is het een mooi startpunt.

"Although networks are still in their infancy, experts think they're already creating new forms of social behavior that blur the distinctions between online and real-world interactions. In fact, today's young generation largely ignores the difference. Most adults see the Web as a supplement to their daily lives. They tap into information, buy books or send flowers, exchange apartments, or link up with others who share passions for dogs, say, or opera. But for the most part, their social lives remain rooted in the traditional phone call and face-to-face interaction."

woensdag 30 november 2005

De krant lezen via weblogs

De manier waarop ik navigeer door al het nieuws is vergelijkbaar met hoe Chris Anderson het hier beschrijft. Maar wat gebeurt er met de MSM (Mainstream Media) wanneer iedereen maar aanneemt dat iemand anders het wel laat weten wanneer er 'in de krant' iets interessants staat?

"Aside from a few purely information feeds, such as new Netflix releases, most of what I read online is blogs. (You can see my current subscriptions here.) I don't visit any mainstream media sites directly (and in print, I only read the Sunday New York Times and a load of magazines). If there's something relevant to my interests in the Wall Street Journal, the daily NYT or some other news site, I assume one of the blogs I read will point me to it."

Content distributie strategieën

Goed advies voor diegenen die actief zijn in de content business, en wie is dat niet tegenwoordig...

"Assuming you buy into this vision, which you probably should, there are some tangible ways that publishers could shift their business to aim into the center of that world. There are some strategic decisions that will help publishers become more competitive in a world of "feed ubiquity", and there are some specific operational changes that will make your content accessible for different tools and technologies."

zondag 27 november 2005

Content distribution strategies

Some sound advice if you are in the content business, and who isn't these days....

"Assuming you buy into this vision, which you probably should, there are some tangible ways that publishers could shift their business to aim into the center of that world. There are some strategic decisions that will help publishers become more competitive in a world of "feed ubiquity", and there are some specific operational changes that will make your content accessible for different tools and technologies."

Reading the paper through blogs

The way I navigate the news is comparable to how Chris Anderson does it. But what happens when everyone will just assume that someone else will write about it when there's something interesting to be read in the the MSM (MainStream Media)?

"Aside from a few purely information feeds, such as new Netflix releases, most of what I read online is blogs. (You can see my current subscriptions here.) I don't visit any mainstream media sites directly (and in print, I only read the Sunday New York Times and a load of magazines). If there's something relevant to my interests in the Wall Street Journal, the daily NYT or some other news site, I assume one of the blogs I read will point me to it."

zaterdag 26 november 2005

Comments to the editor

Joi Ito on CNN. The remark on the International Herald Tribune is one that should make you think.

"Rebecca talked about global voices and I talked about blogs being conversations. Nothing new to readers here, but felt good having a chance to say it on CNN. I also quoted Thomas Crampton's post about how the IHT only gets 30 letters to the editor while we often get more comments on blog posts."

Bloggers vrij laten?

Een lijstje marketingtrends voor 2006 op fris_licht.

"2. Weblogs worden een standaardinstrument
De merken die correct met blogs omgaan, krijgen respect van consumenten en hiermee een stukje 'street-credibility'. Zeker als merken de bloggers vrij laten te schrijven wat ze willen."


Hebben ze een keus dan....?

Reacties voor de hoofdredacteur

Joi Ito op CNN. De opmerking over de International Herald Tribune is er eentje die velen aan het denken zou moeten zetten.

"Rebecca talked about global voices and I talked about blogs being conversations. Nothing new to readers here, but felt good having a chance to say it on CNN. I also quoted Thomas Crampton's post about how the IHT only gets 30 letters to the editor while we often get more comments on blog posts."

Making money in music

For now they are still exceptions, but the rise of substitute revenue sources for artists is getting stronger. Illegal filesharing will soon be a thing of the past since many are beginning to understand that freely distributed music is good for (almost...) all.

"A little-known band from Scotland has given up on selling its music to consumers after making 500,000 pounds from one of its songs being used in TV ads and movies. The band, Looper, says they've made enough from the song to support themselves for the past four years, and can now just give their music away to fans rather than worry about selling it. So while labels try to make money by distributing rootkits, some bands are pursuing alternate business models."

Geld verdienen met muziek

Het zijn nu nog uitzonderingen, maar de opkomst van vervangende inkomstenbronnen voor muzikanten zet sterk door. Het probleem van illegaal downloaden lost zich daarmee vanzelf op... Nog even en men begrijpt dat het in ieders voordeel is dat muziek vrijelijk uitgewisseld kan worden via internet.

"A little-known band from Scotland has given up on selling its music to consumers after making 500,000 pounds from one of its songs being used in TV ads and movies. The band, Looper, says they've made enough from the song to support themselves for the past four years, and can now just give their music away to fans rather than worry about selling it. So while labels try to make money by distributing rootkits, some bands are pursuing alternate business models."

donderdag 24 november 2005

Fusion 2005: nog veel te leren....

Ben vandaag even op bezoek geweest bij Fusion 2005. Het fascinerende van de meeste congressen en seminars die ik in Nederland bijwoon, die gaan over technologie, innovatie een nieuwe media, is dat ze zelf (de organisatoren) te weinig van deze onderwerpen begrijpen. Ik zit in een zaal zonder stopcontacten voor mijn laptop, zonder GSM/UMTS dekking, en de WiFi-toegang kost, speciaal voor dit congres, 15 euro per 30 minuten! Snappen deze mensen niet dat er mensen in de zaal zitten die (willen) multitasken, en zelfs willen schrijven over het (inhoudelijk leuke) congres? De weblog werd in elke sessie genoemd als een groeiend fenomeen, maar geen blogger die iets kon publiceren. Gemiste kans voor de organisatie (PR!) en veel gefrustreerde bezoekers. Twee keer slecht. Onbegrijpelijk.

Vergelijk dit met de Les Blogs conferenties in Parijs waar ik nu (5 en 6 December) voor de tweede keer heen ga. De eerste keer was echt fascinerend. Inhoudelijk, maar met name de dynamiek er omheen, gefaciliteerd door connectiviteit. 300 mensen met een laptop op hun schoot en camera in de hand die 2 dagen lang continue alles registeren, publiceren en becommentarieren. Een veelvoud van de participanten van het congres was daardoor niet eens fysiek aanwezig, maar ze interacteerden toch met zowel de sprekers als bezoekers. Hoe? Via reacties op de weblogs die real-time verlag deden, maar ook via live chat ruimte op het web die geprojecteerd werd op een groot scherm achter de sprekers! Publiek, binnen en buiten, bediscussieerden de presentatie, wisselden relevante links en kennis uit, allemaal terwijl de sprekers hun praatje hielden of het panel een discussie voerde. Maar die praatjes en discussies werden ook beinvloed door die live chat achter hun. Ze keken regelmatig om en reageerden direct op vragen en opmerkingen uit die chat. Al met al zorgde dit voor een zeer levendige en inhoudelijk erg interessante dynamiek. Een congres met vele sprekers en net zoveel luisteraars, niet 1 spreker en 300 luisteraars.

Xbox 360 TV

Microsoft heeft de nieuwe Xbox 360 gelanceerd. Van sommige features kan ik me zelfs voorstellen dat ze de basis voor een (commercieel) interessant TV format zouden kunnen vormen...

"Ook interessant is de mogelijkheid toeschouwer te zijn bij een game tussen twee andere gamers. Je kunt zelfs plaatsnemen in de auto van iemand elders op internet die een racespel speelt. Dat kan overigens alleen als je in het bezit bent van de bewuste game. Duizenden mensen kunnen tegelijkertijd in zo'n auto zitten! Wie een headset opheeft kan converseren met ander gamers."

woensdag 23 november 2005

Eigenaar zijn van een idee

Een essay in The Guardian bediscussieert de lastige vraagstukken rondom het eigendom van ideeën, iets waarvan ik geloof dat het überhaupt niet mogelijk zou moeten zijn. Het is goed om te zien dat er steeds meer aandacht komt voor deze problematiek, het staat vooruitgang in de weg.

"This is madness. Ideas aren't things. They're much more valuable than that. Intellectual property - treating some ideas as if they were in some circumstances things that can be owned and traded - is itself no more than an idea that can be copied, modified and improved. It is this process of freely copying them and changing them that has given us the world of material abundance in which we live. If our ideas of intellectual property are wrong, we must change them, improve them and return them to their original purpose. When intellectual property rules diminish the supply of new ideas, they steal from all of us."

dinsdag 22 november 2005

Lang houdbare bubbels

Mijn advies aan aandeelhouders van TomTom om deze aandelen niet al te lang vast te houden heeft al voor de nodige discussie gezorgd. Het lezen Michael Parekh's stukje over 'lang houdbare bubbels' (Long Lasting Bubbles of LLB) zal je er hopelijk ook van weerhouden om met een lange termijn perspectief aandelen van telecom, media en marketing bedrijven te kopen.

"1. The local and long-distance telephone markets were an LLB, held together by decades of regulation-coddled oligopolies. They made sense at a time when communications were a matter of laying out expensive physical networks. But those times are passing, but the Bubble is still with us.

2. The media industries globally, be they broadcast, cable, movies, publishing, radio or satellite, have all enjoyed the long-lasting bubble of pricing and distribution protection that is slowly being attacked by technology. Spectrum regulation made sense when spectrum was truly scarce due to the limitations of our technology, but inreasingly is abundant as those limitations are overcome.

3. The global advertising and direct marketing industries have enjoyed their own LLB for decades that is rapidly going to change. Umair over at the aptly named Bubblegeneration eloquently answers the question "Why?":

"Because attention becomes scarce at the margin. Attention used to be like water for the media industry - cheap, plentiful, and available pretty much ubiquitously. Now, it's like oil - expensive, scarce, and subject to more and more severe shocks."

maandag 21 november 2005

Simple Sharing Extensions

Good to see a large company like Microsoft is able to combine innovation, speed and simplicity. And what about the endorsement given to the Creative Commons? This step by Microsoft, including its cooperation with Dave Winer, will be looked back upon many times...

"It's progress when Microsoft, Winer, Creative Commons and simple scenarios for making the Web more useful converge. I called attention obsessed Steve Gillmor to get his take. "SSE is the doorway to attention," he pronounced. "Adding namespaces to RSS and OPML brings us to the era of the integration of the Web and the crown jewels of [Lotus] Notes [created by Ozzie while at Lotus and now part of IBM]: Replication. Replication creates the timestamp to close the loop on the fundamentals of attention–who (a feed), what (an item) and for how long (time). From those three things you can infer 99 percent of the data that makes attention valuable."

Frisse wind door Microsoft

Mooi om te zien dat zo'n groot bedrijf als Microsoft toch in staat is om innovatie, snelheid en simpelheid te combineren, in dit geval in de vorm van Simple Sharing Extensions. Om nog maar niet te spreken over de endorsement die hiermee aan Creative Commons wordt gegeven. Deze stap van Microsoft, en ook de samenwerking met Dave Winer, is er zeker eentje waar nog vaak op terug gekeken zal worden.

"For example, SSE could be used to share your work calendar with your spouse. If your calendar were published to an SSE feed, changes to your work calendar could be replicated to your spouse's calendar, and vice versa. As a result, your spouse could see your work schedule and add new appointments, such as a parent-teacher meeting at the school, or a doctor's appointment."

zondag 20 november 2005

Owning ideas

An essay in The Guardian discusses the difficulties around the concept of owning ideas, something I believe should not be possible in the first place.

"This is madness. Ideas aren't things. They're much more valuable than that. Intellectual property - treating some ideas as if they were in some circumstances things that can be owned and traded - is itself no more than an idea that can be copied, modified and improved. It is this process of freely copying them and changing them that has given us the world of material abundance in which we live. If our ideas of intellectual property are wrong, we must change them, improve them and return them to their original purpose. When intellectual property rules diminish the supply of new ideas, they steal from all of us."

zaterdag 19 november 2005

Dood en levend(ig) op het web

Vorige week was een hele rare week. Binnen een paar dagen verloren twee jonge mensen het leven, Jani Kemppainen (31) en Jonathan van der Putten (25). De eerste was een collega van mij bij Lost Boys, en wiens broer Jarkko ook nog lang aan Eccky heeft meegwerkt, de tweede is mijn neef.

Nu gebeurt het vaker dat mensen die ik ken overlijden, maar zelden zijn ze zo jong. Wanneer dat dan toch gebeurt wordt je ineens op een rare manier geconfronteerd met de snelle integratie van het internet in ons dagelijks leven. En ook met de permanentie van sommige zaken op het web, in positieve en negatieve zin.

Jani staat in mijn MSN Messenger contactenlijst niet offline, ik kan hem nog via een bericht naar z'n mobieltje bereiken... En het voelt ook erg vreemd om zo'n contact te deleten wanneer deze net overleden is.

Jonathan was niet iemand die 'leefde op het web', maar omdat hij in zijn korte leven vele kunstwerken gemaakt heeft voelde ik de behoefte om Jonathan toch een permanente 'plek' te geven. Dat is www.jonathanvanderputten.com geworden. Nu ingericht om mensen hun medeleven te laten uiten, maar in de nabije toekomst bedoeld als permamente expositieruimte voor zijn werk en leven. Om te voorkomen dat dit een statische plek gaat worden wil ik gebruik maken van het 'levende web' zoals dat nu vorm krijgt via de Web 2.0 (r)evolutie. Jonathan overleed in Phuket, Thailand. Zijn paradijs zoals hij het noemde. Dus staat er nu op de website een Flickr-badge via welke de laatste 10 door willekeurige gebruikers geuploade foto's met de tag Phuket weergegeven zijn. Daar heb ik echter wel zo m'n bedenkingen bij. De meeste mensen die op Flickr aangeven dat hun foto's public zijn beseffen zich waarschijnlijk niet dat dit betekent dat hun vrolijke vakantiefoto's ineens op een condoleance website kunnen komen te staan. En toch wil ik de komende tijd meer van dit soort dingen toevoegen omdat Jonathan's plekje op het web daarmee levend(ig) wordt.

Ik ben benieuwd naar jullie mening over, en ervaringen met, dit soort vraagstukken.

Sharing data on me

There's an interesting new company called Root Markets that enables consumers to grap, store and exploit data about themselves. I don't have enough details on how it works exactly, but it's also an interesting initiative in the context of what's being called Identity 2.0.

"The consumer piece of the puzzle is especially intriguing. Root Markets plans to tap into the AttentionTrust concept, which believes consumers own their own data -- be it click-stream data, del.icio.us tags, credit reports, or something as fundamental as name and address. In the ideal Root Markets world, consumers who want a chance to win a free iPod or want a mortgage quote would simply allow a selective peek into his Root Vault -- a central, individually managed repository for consumer data. Currently, users can begin collecting data (click-stream data only, for now) for their Root Vault via a Firefox plug-in. Eventually, Seth envisions a multitude of ways data will enter the vault. It will only be shared when consumers explicitly allow it and accept the value exchange; my credit report in exchange for a lower interest rate on a loan, for example. Helping Root Markets make that data valuable is former Amazon Chief Scientist Andreas Weigend, who told me his mission is to "understand the data, interpret the data, and, more importantly, create products of the data that create value."

Long lasting bubbles

My 'sell' advice to TomTom shareholders raised a fierce discussion on my Dutch weblog. Reading Michael Parekh's post on 'Long Lasting Bubbles' (LLB) will hopefully prevent you from buying shares in telecom, media or marketing companies as well. At least when you do so with a long term perspective.

"1. The local and long-distance telephone markets were an LLB, held together by decades of regulation-coddled oligopolies. They made sense at a time when communications were a matter of laying out expensive physical networks. But those times are passing, but the Bubble is still with us.

2. The media industries globally, be they broadcast, cable, movies, publishing, radio or satellite, have all enjoyed the long-lasting bubble of pricing and distribution protection that is slowly being attacked by technology. Spectrum regulation made sense when spectrum was truly scarce due to the limitations of our technology, but inreasingly is abundant as those limitations are overcome.

3. The global advertising and direct marketing industries have enjoyed their own LLB for decades that is rapidly going to change. Umair over at the aptly named Bubblegeneration eloquently answers the question "Why?":

"Because attention becomes scarce at the margin. Attention used to be like water for the media industry - cheap, plentiful, and available pretty much ubiquitously. Now, it's like oil - expensive, scarce, and subject to more and more severe shocks."

Delen van data over mij

Er is een interessant nieuw bedrijf gestart genaamd Root Markets dat consumenten in staat stelt om data over zichzelf te verzamelen, op te slaan en te exploiteren. Ik heb nog niet goed genoeg kunnen kijken naar e.e.a. exact werkt, maar het is zeker een interessant initiatief in de context van wat ook wel Identity 2.0 genoemd wordt.

"The consumer piece of the puzzle is especially intriguing. Root Markets plans to tap into the AttentionTrust concept, which believes consumers own their own data -- be it click-stream data, del.icio.us tags, credit reports, or something as fundamental as name and address. In the ideal Root Markets world, consumers who want a chance to win a free iPod or want a mortgage quote would simply allow a selective peek into his Root Vault -- a central, individually managed repository for consumer data. Currently, users can begin collecting data (click-stream data only, for now) for their Root Vault via a Firefox plug-in. Eventually, Seth envisions a multitude of ways data will enter the vault. It will only be shared when consumers explicitly allow it and accept the value exchange; my credit report in exchange for a lower interest rate on a loan, for example. Helping Root Markets make that data valuable is former Amazon Chief Scientist Andreas Weigend, who told me his mission is to "understand the data, interpret the data, and, more importantly, create products of the data that create value."

Building a better boom

John Battelle's analysis of why this (Web 2.0) boom is better then the first (Web 1.0) one does not offer any new or spectacular insights, but he does a good job of explaining why this is an exciting time for both entrepeneurs and users.

"First, this time the Web is ready for the dreams of both its innovators and its public. The first version of the Internet - call it Web 1.0 - was long on vision but short on execution and audience. The technology was rudimentary, precious few had broadband connections and starting a business that "scaled" - one that could deal with success and the traffic it brought - was extremely expensive."

Bouwen aan een betere boom

John Battelle's analyse van waarom de (Web 2.0) boom een betere is dan de eerste (Web 1.0) levert niet heel veel nieuwe of spectaculaire inzichten op, maar hij legt goed uit waarom deze tijd een hele interessante is voor zowel ondernemers als gebruikers.

"First, this time the Web is ready for the dreams of both its innovators and its public. The first version of the Internet - call it Web 1.0 - was long on vision but short on execution and audience. The technology was rudimentary, precious few had broadband connections and starting a business that "scaled" - one that could deal with success and the traffic it brought - was extremely expensive."

maandag 14 november 2005

Web 2.0 in de praktijk: TomTom

Vorige week schreef ik een kort stukje over de sombere toekomst van TomTom naar aanleiding van wat nieuwe Google Maps diensten. Ik zag onmiddelijk al aan de statistieken dat TomTom nauw gevolgd wordt door vele mensen. De discussie die ontstond is wat mij betreft een goed voorbeeld van de impact die 'Web 2.0' gaat hebben, in dit geval op de (huidige) produkten van TomTom. Hoe zei Gandhi het ook alweer....? "First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win." Volgens mij zitten we in de tweede fase....

"Leuk dat je de enige succcesvolle Nederlandse IPO toko afzeikt, maar op de lange termijn zal blijken dat TT een goede player in de nav markt blijft, al was het inderdaad alleen maar vanwege hun branding."

woensdag 9 november 2005

The internet services disruption

It's very interesting to read Ray Ozzie's memo on how the world is changing and how Microsoft should adapt to it in order to take advantage of it. I assume this 'leak' was an orchestrated PR-effort, but nevertheless it's an extremely valuable read for anyone involved in, or somehow affected by, Microsoft's business. And who isn't...;-)

Bill Gates sums it all up if you don't want to read the whole thing, although I think you should.

"Today, the opportunity is to utilize the Internet to make software far more powerful by incorporating a services model which will simplify the work that IT departments and developers have to do while providing new capabilities."

De internet services omslag

Het is zeer interessant om Ray Ozzie's memo te lezen over hoe de wereld veranderd en wat Microsoft moet doen om zich aan te passen zodanig dat ze er maximaal van kunnen profiteren. Ik ga ervan uit dat dit 'lek' een geregisseerde PR-effort is, maar desalniettemin is het meer dan de moeite waard om dit te lezen voor iedereen die betrokken is bij, of op een of andere manier beinvloed wordt door, Microsoft's business. En voor wie geldt dat niet...;-)

Bill Gates vat het allemaal kort samen wanneer je geen zin hebt om alles te lezen, al denk ik dat je dat wel moet doen.

"Today, the opportunity is to utilize the Internet to make software far more powerful by incorporating a services model which will simplify the work that IT departments and developers have to do while providing new capabilities."

zondag 6 november 2005

Sober future for TomTom

Why people invest, with a long term perspective, in a company like TomTom has always always surprised me. Especially when applications like these are being developed so easily... A cellphone, location data, Google Maps and two good programmers are all that's needed. And no, Mologogo is not navigation software, but that's not the point....

"Mologogo is a free service that will track a friends GPS enabled cell phone from another phone or on the web. Mologogo also serves as a dirt-cheap tracking system, so go ahead and fauxjack something."

Human brain as the platform

I could not agree more with Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto when he says that "software makers want games to be so realistic, but first and foremost they should evoke emotions." And he knows what he's talking about being responsible for the success of Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario 64 and Nintendogs.

The most powerful platform to develop games on is not the Nintendo Revolution, Sony's PlayStation3, Microsoft's Xbox 360 or the PC. It's the human brain.

Een sombere toekomst voor TomTom

Waarom mensen zouden investeren, met een lange termijn perspectief, in een bedrijf als TomTom is mij (altijd al) een raadsel (geweest) wanneer je dit soort applicaties ontwikkeld ziet worden. Een mobieltje, lokatiegegevens, Google Maps (voor de mobiel) en twee goede programmeurs doen wonderen. Nee, Mologogo is inderdaad geen routeplanner, maar daar gaat het nu even niet om....

"Mologogo is a free service that will track a friends GPS enabled cell phone from another phone or on the web. Mologogo also serves as a dirt-cheap tracking system, so go ahead and fauxjack something."

Menselijk brein als het platform

Ik kan niet anders dan het heel erg eens zijn met Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto wanneer hij zegt dat "software makers want games to be so realistic, but first and foremost they should evoke emotions." En hij weet waar hij over praat als verantwoordelijke voor het succes van Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario 64 en Nintendogs.

Het meest krachtige platform om games voor te ontwikkelen is niet de Nintendo Revolution, Sony's PlayStation3, Microsoft's Xbox 360 of de PC. Het is het menselijk brein.

Scary Google?

The New York Times has published an article saying that large retail companies and telcos should be scared of Google. But I don't think it's Google they should be scared of, they should be scared of not having the right people working for them. The ones that understand the impact the internet in general is having on their respective businesses and how to take advantage of that.

"Google, then, may turn out to have a more far-reaching impact than earlier Web winners like Amazon and eBay. "Google is the realization of everything that we thought the Internet was going to be about but really wasn't until Google," said David B. Yoffie, a professor at Harvard Business School."

Bang zijn voor Google?

The New York Times zegt in dit artikel dat retail bedrijven en telco's bang (zouden moeten) zijn voor Google. Maar ik denk niet dat het Google is waarvoor ze bang moeten zijn. Het probleem van dergelijke bedrijven is dat ze niet de mensen voor zich hebben werken die snappen wat de impact van internet op hun respectievelijke industrieen is en hoe ze daar gebruik van zouden kunnen maken.

"Google, then, may turn out to have a more far-reaching impact than earlier Web winners like Amazon and eBay. "Google is the realization of everything that we thought the Internet was going to be about but really wasn't until Google," said David B. Yoffie, a professor at Harvard Business School."

vrijdag 4 november 2005

Onafhankelijke merkenweblogs

Weblogs worden steeds belangrijker wanneer het gaat om het managen van merken. Er komen dan ook steeds meer merkenweblogs, alleen worden die meestal niet gerund door de merkeigenaren zelf.... En dat is een van de redenen dat ze het zo goed doen.

"Consumers are skeptical of things told to them by companies," Mr. Kozinets said. Most consumers are searching for unbiased opinions, a niche that blogs can fill. A testimonial from one blogger can speak directly to readers in a way advertising does not."

Een wereld gecontroleerd door ons

Er is een interessante discussie bezig over de vraag wie eigenaar is en mag profiteren van de 'the wisdom of the crowd'. Jeff Jarvis heeft een lange post waarin de meest interessante dimensies uit deze discussie toegelicht worden. Zeker lezen...

"This is no longer a centralized world, a world controlled by those institutions. This is a decentralized world, a world controlled by us. And if you try to take control away from us, you will lose. It used to be that you could take control away from us and we had nowhere to go. But in this post-scarcity world, we can always go somewhere else for content or information or service. There’s always another news story, always another email service, always another search engine. Thus my first law, once again: Give us control and we will use it. Don’t and you will lose us."

donderdag 3 november 2005

Open het web

Ik heb weinig toe te voegen aan wat Marc Canter te zeggen heeft... Eens.
Als je wilt begrijpen wat al dat gepraat over openheid en een open web allemaal betekent, lees het artikel en klik op de verschillende links die Marc je voorschotelt. Erg eenvoudig...

"Today's incumbents will have to adapt to the new openness of the Web 2.0. If they stick to their proprietary standards, code, and content, they'll become the new walled gardens—places users visit briefly to retrieve data and content from enclosed data silos, but not where users "live." The incumbents' revenue models will have to change. Instead of "owning" their users, users will know they own themselves, and will expect a return on their valuable identity and attention. Instead of being locked into incompatible media formats, users will expect easy access to digital content across many platforms."

Reclame wordt volwassen

Erg interessant om te lezen hoe Google's advertentiediensten evolueren.

"Google isn't quite pursuing that sort of deal, but it is trying to have big retailers link their inventory systems directly to its advertising auction. That way, a toy store chain, for example, could respond to a search for dolls with an ad for either Barbies or Bratz, depending on which were overstocked in the store near the user's home. "Most retailers only advertise 5 percent of their products," said Tim Armstrong, Google's vice president for ad sales. "We can let them advertise all of them."

woensdag 2 november 2005

Microsoft's Live Software

Microsoft kondigde vannacht een aantal dingen aan, waaronder Live Windows. Benieuwd naar hoe het allemaal in de realiteit zal gaan werken, maar het klinkt veelbelovend. Zeker ook als het gaat om Windows Live Messenger, al mis ik hier vooralsnog een referentie naar het werk van Kim Cameron's team aan de InfoCard en het Identity Meta System.

"Windows Live Messenger another new offering. Nice: "This isn't just an IM list any more." We show all your contacts, not just your buddies. (They've increased the number of buddies from 300 to 600 - not sure how to reconcile these two comments.) Integration of social networking, looking at the "friend's list" exposed by ANY contact on the list. Very nice. Users given control over how much info is shared, even there. Also mentions "LiveContact" -- Plaxo-like services built in."

dinsdag 1 november 2005

Amateurs versus experts

Techdirt's Mike legt uit waarom amateurs zo belangrijk (kunnen) zijn naast experts. E.e.a. naar aanleiding van de kritiek van Nicholas Carr op de Web 2.0 hype met Wikipedia als expliciet voorbeeld om z'n punt te maken.

"While it's absolutely true that experts are important -- hell, we've based our entire business on that very concept -- what Carr and others agreeing with him seem to be (conveniently) forgetting is that amateurs and experts are not mutually exclusive. Combined, they actually create a much better solution. The experts are still necessary and useful, but the amateurs help bring out more info and raise new and important questions and ideas. The amateurs aren't "taking down" the experts -- they're just making them even more necessary. The problem is that too many experts are frightened of these amateurs, rather than looking at ways to embrace and encourage the amateurs in a productive way. Embracing the amateurs opens up new and exciting possibilities for the experts -- it lets them turn that amateur content into something much more useful and valuable than either the experts or the amateurs could have done alone."

De toekomst van Internet TV

Jeremy Allaire, Brightcove's CEO en voormalig CTO van Macromedia, ontvouwt zijn visie op de toekomst van TV kijken via internet. De datails rondom zijn bedrijf zijn nog wat vaag, dus daar kan ik nog weinig over zeggen.

"This will be a world where content can flow freely over the open Internet, in a manner that is geographically—and thus carrier and operator—independent. In much the same way a consumer finds and uses any Web site, at any end-point in the world, they will discover, use, and self-program video and television across the vast ocean that is the Internet, unfettered by walled gardens and closed networks. Just as consumers flocked to the Internet despite the hiccups of dial-up modems and clunky Web pages, they will flock to this new medium that empowers them in ways that no single company or industry can replicate."

zondag 30 oktober 2005

Breaking the web wide open

Not much to add to what Marc Canter has to say... I agree.
If you'd like to understand what all this talk about openness really means, read it and click on the links he presents. It's that easy;-)

"Today's incumbents will have to adapt to the new openness of the Web 2.0. If they stick to their proprietary standards, code, and content, they'll become the new walled gardens—places users visit briefly to retrieve data and content from enclosed data silos, but not where users "live." The incumbents' revenue models will have to change. Instead of "owning" their users, users will know they own themselves, and will expect a return on their valuable identity and attention. Instead of being locked into incompatible media formats, users will expect easy access to digital content across many platforms."

Independent brand blogs

Weblogs are becoming more important in the context of managing brands. More brand blogs are indeed appearing, however, they are not run by the companies that own these brands... Which is one of the reasons some of them are so succesful.

"Consumers are skeptical of things told to them by companies," Mr. Kozinets said. Most consumers are searching for unbiased opinions, a niche that blogs can fill. A testimonial from one blogger can speak directly to readers in a way advertising does not."

A world controlled by us

There's an interesting discussion going on who owns and profits from the wisdom of the crowd. Jeff Jarvis has a long post that touches upon most of the interesting themes, a must read...

"This is no longer a centralized world, a world controlled by those institutions. This is a decentralized world, a world controlled by us. And if you try to take control away from us, you will lose. It used to be that you could take control away from us and we had nowhere to go. But in this post-scarcity world, we can always go somewhere else for content or information or service. There’s always another news story, always another email service, always another search engine. Thus my first law, once again: Give us control and we will use it. Don’t and you will lose us."

Advertising's opportunities

Very interesting to read about how Google's advertising business is evolving.

"Google isn't quite pursuing that sort of deal, but it is trying to have big retailers link their inventory systems directly to its advertising auction. That way, a toy store chain, for example, could respond to a search for dolls with an ad for either Barbies or Bratz, depending on which were overstocked in the store near the user's home. "Most retailers only advertise 5 percent of their products," said Tim Armstrong, Google's vice president for ad sales. "We can let them advertise all of them."

Intellectueel eigendom kost mensenlevens

Ik heb al eerder aangegeven dat ik niet geloof in intellectueel eigendom en dat ik denk dat het patent- en auteursrechtsysteem afgeschaft zou moeten worden. Het is achterhaald en remt innovatie nu eerder dan dat het deze bevordert, zowel op het culturele als industriële vlak. Om nog maar niet te spreken over de vele idiote voorbeelden van patenten op software zoals deze in de VS vergeven en geëxploiteerd worden. De enige vorm van intellectueel eigendom waar dit alles misschien (nog) niet voor geldt is het merkenrecht.

Het voorbeeld dat altijd als tegenargument gebruikt wordt is dat van de farmaceutische industrie. Waarom zouden zij miljarden investeren in de ontwikkeling van nieuwe geneesmiddelen wanneer deze vervolgens vrijelijk door ieder ander bedrijf (na)gemaakt kunnen worden? Goede vraag, en er is inderdaad geen eenvoudig antwoord op. Maar ik denk echt dat we als samenleving (op globaal niveau) andere instrumenten hebben om innovatie in een dergelijke industrie te stimuleren. Waarom zou een organisatie als de Verenigde Naties, namens ons als wereldbevolking, niet de pijngebieden in kaart kunnen brengen en de noodzakelijke financiering kunnen verstrekken om onderzoek en ontwikkeling te doen? Om daarna eventuele innovaties te publiceren en ze patentvrij te laten exploiteren door een ieder die er een markt voor ziet. Concurrentie, altijd goed om innovatie te bevorderen, zou in zo'n (financierings)model zeker niet hoeven te ontbreken. Laat voorbeelden als de X-Prize, Darpa's Grand Challenge, het 'betaalde-pitch-model', universitair onderzoek, 'beauty-contests', etc. ons wat dat betreft inspireren.

En waarom zouden we dan gelijk niet de lessen en methodieken uit de open source wereld meenemen in een dergelijk systeem om verdere innovatie te stimuleren en waar mogelijk beschikbaar te maken voor anderen zodat er op doorontwikkeld kan worden?

Het geven van een monopolie om voor een bepaalde periode beschermd winst te kunnen maken en daarmee tegelijkertijd innovatie te remmen kan toch serieus niet de beste oplossing zijn in de wereld van vandaag? Dat kost zelfs levens.

"In fact, it's been said for years that, especially in developing nations, it's often important to ignore intellectual property issues from developed nations in order to protect citizens. Of course, the counter argument is that none of these drugs would have been developed in the first place if there weren't these patent laws around. While that may be debatable, it is true that the cost of developing these drugs often requires a high expected payout at the end. So what are ways to align these two issues? How can companies expect to get paid for saving lives -- and still make the products affordable enough that they actually can save lives?"

Intellectual property is costing lives

I've said before that I don't believe in the concept of intellectual property and that I think existing patent and copyright systems should be removed. They no longer make economic sense and are blocking, instead of stimulating, innovation. Both in the cultural and industrial parts of society. With the many ridiculous cases of granting software patents in the US as a perfect example. The only form of intellectual property that probably (still) makes sense is trademarks.

An example that is always being used as a counter argument in this case is the pharmaceutical industry. Why would they still invest billions in the development of new drugs when anyone is allowed to copy these innovations and market them? A good question for which there is no easy answer. But I do think that as a society (on a global level) we have alternative means to stimulate innovation in these kinds of industries. Why should a new form of public-private cooperation involving an organization like the United Nations, on behalf of all of us, not be able to map all problem areas (lack of innovation due to high economic risks) and provide necessary funding for research and development? Innovations should be published and allowed to be used, patent free, by anyone who thinks there is a market for them. Competition, always a good driver for innovation, should definitely have a place in such a (financing) model. Let examples like X-Prize, Darpa's Grand Challenge, the 'paid-pitch-model', scientific research, 'beauty-contests', etcetera, inspire us.

And, at the same time, why not integrate the lessons and methods from the succesful open source communities in such a system in order to make sure innovations are being made accessible so that they can be further build upon?

Granting monopolies for a certain period of time in order to protect profits, with the risk of slowing down innovation, can not seriously be the best possible answer in today's world. It's even costing lives.

"In fact, it's been said for years that, especially in developing nations, it's often important to ignore intellectual property issues from developed nations in order to protect citizens. Of course, the counter argument is that none of these drugs would have been developed in the first place if there weren't these patent laws around. While that may be debatable, it is true that the cost of developing these drugs often requires a high expected payout at the end. So what are ways to align these two issues? How can companies expect to get paid for saving lives -- and still make the products affordable enough that they actually can save lives?"

Amateurs versus experts

Techdirt's Mike explains why amateurs are (or can be) so important alongside experts. He responds to Nicholas Carr's critisism on the Web 2.0 hype where Carr uses Wikipedia as a perfect example to make his point.

"While it's absolutely true that experts are important -- hell, we've based our entire business on that very concept -- what Carr and others agreeing with him seem to be (conveniently) forgetting is that amateurs and experts are not mutually exclusive. Combined, they actually create a much better solution. The experts are still necessary and useful, but the amateurs help bring out more info and raise new and important questions and ideas. The amateurs aren't "taking down" the experts -- they're just making them even more necessary. The problem is that too many experts are frightened of these amateurs, rather than looking at ways to embrace and encourage the amateurs in a productive way. Embracing the amateurs opens up new and exciting possibilities for the experts -- it lets them turn that amateur content into something much more useful and valuable than either the experts or the amateurs could have done alone."

Internet TV's future

Jeremy Allaire, CEO of Brightcove and former CTO of Macromedia, lays down his vision on how internet TV will come of age. The details on his company are a bit vague so I won't (yet) comment on that.

"This will be a world where content can flow freely over the open Internet, in a manner that is geographically—and thus carrier and operator—independent. In much the same way a consumer finds and uses any Web site, at any end-point in the world, they will discover, use, and self-program video and television across the vast ocean that is the Internet, unfettered by walled gardens and closed networks. Just as consumers flocked to the Internet despite the hiccups of dial-up modems and clunky Web pages, they will flock to this new medium that empowers them in ways that no single company or industry can replicate."

zaterdag 29 oktober 2005

Eccky has launched

Eleven months ago I wrote about Eccky when we presented the concept to the outside world for the first time. Last wednesday we launched Eccky officially, Poynter's Monique Van Dusseldorp writes about it.

"That's where the ingenuity of the thing comes into play: The Eccky chatbot can respond to chat lines with some 45,000 different answers around 3,500 recognized topics. The first 10,000 users that bought an Eccky generated 15 million chats during the six days of the game, and bought 250,000 different virtual articles. The chatbot in fact does such a good job in understanding the natural-language lines it receives that many of its young players never realize it is not a person they are spending time with. (Eccky is scheduled for an international launch in 2006, but already can chat in English now.)"

Programming your ears

I guess we are still somewhere in the stone ages when it comes to bionics, which makes it even more interesting to read about the latest innovations.

"The implant was embedded in my head; it wasn't some flawed hearing aid I could just send back. But it was a computer. Which meant that, at least in theory, its effectiveness was limited only by the ingenuity of software engineers. As researchers learn more about how the ear works, they continually revise cochlear implant software. Users await new releases with all the anticipation of Apple zealots lining up for the latest Mac OS."

Je oren programmeren

Voor wat betreft bionics zijn we waarschijnlijk nog in het het stenen tijdperk, maar dat maakt het lezen over de laatste innovaties alleen maar interessanter.

"The implant was embedded in my head; it wasn't some flawed hearing aid I could just send back. But it was a computer. Which meant that, at least in theory, its effectiveness was limited only by the ingenuity of software engineers. As researchers learn more about how the ear works, they continually revise cochlear implant software. Users await new releases with all the anticipation of Apple zealots lining up for the latest Mac OS."

Outsourcing the teacher

Teachers in India are tutoring American students. It's great that online teaching is becoming a reality, but it also shows the inevitable shift of economic power in the world. Whereby India holds a huge advantage over the Chinese, they happen to speak English...

"The chitchat ends quickly and a geometry worksheet pops up on Princeton's computer screen. Teacher and pupil speak to one another, type messages and use digital "pencils" to work on problems, highlight graphs and erase mistakes. Princeton scrawls on something that looks like a hyped-up mouse pad and it shows up on Namitha's screen. He can also use a scanner to send copies of assignments or textbook pages he needs help understanding."

Living a Second Life

Two insightful articles on Second Life, one in The New York Times and one on the BBC News website. They both take a look at the economic and social drivers of why people are spending so much time living a 'second life'.

"Although many people keep in touch with their real-world loved ones in virtual worlds, some find relationships that develop in the opposite direction. Ms. McKenzie not long ago met a man in Second Life, lthen met him in real life and is now married to him. The couple were married in South Dakota, and plan to have another ceremony online. Although worlds like Second Life can be useful for staying in touch or even for forming new relationships, for most people they are simply a casual getaway. "I like meeting new people, but this is strictly a game for me," a member whose avatar is named Gina Fatale said of Second Life. "Plus, in Second Life I look better."

De leraar outsourcen

Leraren in India geven online (bij)les aan Amerikaanse studenten. Los van het feit dat het al mooi is dat dit (online lesgeven) kan, is het wat mij betreft ook symptomatisch voor de onafwendbare verschuiving van de economische macht in de wereld. Waarbij India een groot voordeel heeft ten opzicht van China, ze spreken er Engels...

"The chitchat ends quickly and a geometry worksheet pops up on Princeton's computer screen. Teacher and pupil speak to one another, type messages and use digital "pencils" to work on problems, highlight graphs and erase mistakes. Princeton scrawls on something that looks like a hyped-up mouse pad and it shows up on Namitha's screen. He can also use a scanner to send copies of assignments or textbook pages he needs help understanding."

Het leven van een Second Life

Twee interessante artikelen over Second Life, eentje in The New York Times en eentje op de BBC News website. Beide kijken vanuit economische en sociale perspectieven naar wat mensen motiveert om zoveel tijd te besteden aan het leven van een tweede leven.

"Although many people keep in touch with their real-world loved ones in virtual worlds, some find relationships that develop in the opposite direction. Ms. McKenzie not long ago met a man in Second Life, lthen met him in real life and is now married to him. The couple were married in South Dakota, and plan to have another ceremony online. Although worlds like Second Life can be useful for staying in touch or even for forming new relationships, for most people they are simply a casual getaway. "I like meeting new people, but this is strictly a game for me," a member whose avatar is named Gina Fatale said of Second Life. "Plus, in Second Life I look better."

zondag 23 oktober 2005

The rise of prediction markets

There's something fascinating about the (potential) of prediction markets. And I'm really curious to know about the results of Google's experiment with them.

"In the near future, prediction and decision markets are likely to extend their reach. At the University of Iowa, which created the Iowa Electronic Markets, researchers are developing a prediction market designed to forecast flu outbreaks, and their counterparts at the University of Miami have organized the Hurricane Futures Market, where you can place bets on where the spit will hit the fan. Corporations so far have tended to focus on relatively low-value projects like predicting the next quarter's sales. Google, for example, has been conducting an internal market to predict project-completion and product-launch dates. But given the market system's track record, corporations are about to move to bet-the-ranch-type decisions. "We're about to have a Cambrian explosion of the technology," says Servan- Schreiber."

IPTV versus TV over IP

When IPTV is mentioned, often what is meant is TV over IP. These are different things (or at least different approaches), Om Malik explains.

"Now compare this with Television over IP, or broadband video. Television over IP, on the other hand is the high quality streaming video, that is made available over the fast pipes, without a set-top box. This is a (comparatively) fairly low cost, and perhaps a simpler model. This simplicity is one of the reasons, it might actually gain traction in the market."

De opkomst van de voorspellingsmarkt

Voorspellingsmarkten hebben iets fascinerends en ik ben dan ook erg benieuwd naar de resultaten van de experimenten die Google nu doet.

"In the near future, prediction and decision markets are likely to extend their reach. At the University of Iowa, which created the Iowa Electronic Markets, researchers are developing a prediction market designed to forecast flu outbreaks, and their counterparts at the University of Miami have organized the Hurricane Futures Market, where you can place bets on where the spit will hit the fan. Corporations so far have tended to focus on relatively low-value projects like predicting the next quarter's sales. Google, for example, has been conducting an internal market to predict project-completion and product-launch dates. But given the market system's track record, corporations are about to move to bet-the-ranch-type decisions. "We're about to have a Cambrian explosion of the technology," says Servan- Schreiber."

Voice 2.0

With all this talk about Web 2.0 you easily forget that the possibilities of the most 'natural' interface to the web's content and services, voice, is developing fast and in inspiring ways. Here's an interesting post from Alec Saunders on what he calls Voice 2.0.

"The merger of talk with the web is the foundation of Voice 2.0. When Skype launched, and the price of minutes dropped to zero, social barriers to calling strangers disappeared, driving voice usage higher again. The merger of talk and the web is leading to web based conferencing, push to talk, application sharing, voice enabled e-commerce, and a multitude of other applications, all of which are driving voice usage higher. In the process this merger is redefining the staples of business — customer service, sales, and marketing — and impacting all of our lives as we move from the standard work day to 24/7 availability."

IPTV versus TV over IP

Wanneer IPTV ter sprake komt dan wordt daar meestal TV over IP mee bedoeld. Het zijn namelijk verschillende dingen (of op z'n minst verschillende benaderingen), Om Malik legt dat nog eens uit.

"Now compare this with Television over IP, or broadband video. Television over IP, on the other hand is the high quality streaming video, that is made available over the fast pipes, without a set-top box. This is a (comparatively) fairly low cost, and perhaps a simpler model. This simplicity is one of the reasons, it might actually gain traction in the market."

Spraak 2.0

Door al dat gepraat over Web 2.0 zou je bijna vergeten dat de mogelijkheden van de meest 'natuurlijke' toegang tot de diensten en content op het web, spraak, zich erg snel ontwikkelt. Dit is een interessant manifesto van Alec Saunders over wat hij Voice 2.0 noemt.

"The merger of talk with the web is the foundation of Voice 2.0. When Skype launched, and the price of minutes dropped to zero, social barriers to calling strangers disappeared, driving voice usage higher again. The merger of talk and the web is leading to web based conferencing, push to talk, application sharing, voice enabled e-commerce, and a multitude of other applications, all of which are driving voice usage higher. In the process this merger is redefining the staples of business — customer service, sales, and marketing — and impacting all of our lives as we move from the standard work day to 24/7 availability."

woensdag 19 oktober 2005

Web 2.0 freeriders(?)

Gelukkig is Nicholas Carr altijd scherp wanneer het gevaar van 'group-thinking' dreigt. Na zijn spraakmakende essay "IT Doesn’t Matter" heeft hij het nu gemunt op de Web 2.0 volgelingen. Om Malik reageert en quote daarbij Jeff Nolan:

"I wondered out loud, if this culture of participation was seemingly help build businesses on our collective backs. So if we tag, bookmark or share, and help del.icio.us or Technorati or Yahoo become better commercial entities, aren’t we seemingly commoditizing our most valuable asset - time. We become the outsourced workforce, the collective, though it is still unclear what is the pay-off. While we may (or may not) gain something from the collective efforts, the odds are whatever “the collective efforts” are, they are going to boost the economic value of those entities. Will they share in their upside? Not likely!"

Zeker de moeite waard om over deze vragen na te denken wanneer je afhankelijk bent van het 'collectief'...

dinsdag 18 oktober 2005

Web 2.0 freeriders(?)

Fortunately we can always count on Nicholas Carr to wake up a group-thinking crowd. After "IT Doesn’t Matter" he's now aiming for all Web 2.0 believers. Om Malik comments on it and quotes Jeff Nolan:

"I wondered out loud, if this culture of participation was seemingly help build businesses on our collective backs. So if we tag, bookmark or share, and help del.icio.us or Technorati or Yahoo become better commercial entities, aren’t we seemingly commoditizing our most valuable asset - time. We become the outsourced workforce, the collective, though it is still unclear what is the pay-off. While we may (or may not) gain something from the collective efforts, the odds are whatever “the collective efforts” are, they are going to boost the economic value of those entities. Will they share in their upside? Not likely!"

Worth thinking about if you're depending on the 'collective'.

Krant wordt gedrukte weblog

Al bijna een jaar houden we bij Media Republic voor het Eccky-project een weblog bij. Al eerder was duidelijk dat journalisten zo'n weblog als een ideale bron van informatie zien, een soort van dynamisch persbericht, maar over het algemeen werden artikelen over Eccky wel aangevuld met een interview of op z'n minst een paar vragen via email. Gister werd op de voorpagina van Het Parool een artikel over Eccky aangekondigd dat echter volledig gebaseerd was op de weblog. Helaas werden daarbij door de journalist een aantal zaken verkeerd geïnterpreteerd, een korte check bij ons had dat makkelijk kunnen voorkomen. Maar het verschil tussen werkmethodes van journalisten en de meeste bloggers is kennelijk aan het verdwijnen. De krant wordt steeds meer een gedrukte weblog...;-)

Geen cyberspace meer

Leuke quote...

"My personal theory is this: when the only way to use a computer was to sit still and look through a little window (the screen) into a virtual space, the cyberspace metaphor worked best for us. But with cell phones, PDAs and geographical applications such as store-finders and the proposed "taxi" key for cell phones (which simply summons the nearest cab when you press it), we're no longer staring through a window into cyberspace. The window's been broken, and the cyber world has spilled out into our own space."

Nieuw soort borst implantatie...

Niet zo ongeloofwaardig als je misschien zou denken...;-)

"Researchers at BT Laboratories say that within 15 years, women will be able to store MP3 players and their music collection in breast implants. "One boob could hold an MP3 player and the other the person's whole music collection," apparently. The implants would transmit sound and be controlled over Bluetooth, and could also work with sensors to detect heart murmurs, blood pressure increases, diabetes and breast cancer."

zondag 16 oktober 2005

Breast implants

Not as unlikely as you might think...;-)

"Researchers at BT Laboratories say that within 15 years, women will be able to store MP3 players and their music collection in breast implants. "One boob could hold an MP3 player and the other the person's whole music collection," apparently. The implants would transmit sound and be controlled over Bluetooth, and could also work with sensors to detect heart murmurs, blood pressure increases, diabetes and breast cancer."

Beyond browser and windows

Second Life is a favorite topic of mine since such a virtual world (or Metaverse) in 3D offers a lot of interesting possibilities. Second Life's 'problem' however is its business model. Second Life's creator Linden Labs does have an 'open' philosophy, but it's still, as Joi Ito says it, a for profit company controlling the platform (although that might change, reed comment 22). Joi points at Croquet, which has been under development for a while now, as an (Web 3.0...) example of how this could work differently in the future. Croquet is not just a 3D virtual gaming world, in essence it's an open source operating system. In this post I won't elaborate on what that means exactly, but one of the founders is Alan Kay who developed the 'windowing user interface' and he is also the man behind this oneliner: "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

"Croquet was built to answer a simple question. "If we were to create a new operating system and user interface knowing what we know today, how far could we go?" Further, what kinds of decisions would we make that we might have been unable to even consider 20 or 30 years ago, when the current operating systems were first created? We decided that it was time for an existence proof that innovation could still continue and succeed on the PC. We felt that the very definition of the PC and its role needed to be shifted from a single-user closed system to a next generation broadband communication device."

Na de browser en windows

Ik schrijf hier wel vaker over Second Life aangezien een dergelijke virtuele wereld (of Metaverse) in 3D vele interessante mogelijkheden met zich meebrengt. Het probleem van Second Life, en de meeste andere persistente 3D werelden, is echter het business model van de organisaties verantwoordelijk voor de exploitatie van deze werelden. Nou is de filosofie van Second Life maker Linden Labs vrij 'open', het blijft zoals Joi Ito het ook zegt een op winst gericht bedrijf dat een gesloten platform controleert (al lijkt daar verandering in te komen, zie comment 22). Joi wijst op het al een tijdje in ontwikkeling zijnde Croquet als een (Web 3.0...) voorbeeld van hoe dit in de nabije toekomst beter zou kunnen werken. Croquet is niet zomaar een 3D wereld in spelvorm, in essentie is het zelfs een open source besturingssysteem. Het gaat wat ver om hier uit te leggen wat ze daar exact mee bedoelen, maar de initiator ervan is Alan Kay, de man die de 'windowing user interface' ontwierp en ook befaamd werd vanwege deze uitspraak: "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

"Croquet was built to answer a simple question. "If we were to create a new operating system and user interface knowing what we know today, how far could we go?" Further, what kinds of decisions would we make that we might have been unable to even consider 20 or 30 years ago, when the current operating systems were first created? We decided that it was time for an existence proof that innovation could still continue and succeed on the PC. We felt that the very definition of the PC and its role needed to be shifted from a single-user closed system to a next generation broadband communication device."

No more cyberspace

Nice observation...

"My personal theory is this: when the only way to use a computer was to sit still and look through a little window (the screen) into a virtual space, the cyberspace metaphor worked best for us. But with cell phones, PDAs and geographical applications such as store-finders and the proposed "taxi" key for cell phones (which simply summons the nearest cab when you press it), we're no longer staring through a window into cyberspace. The window's been broken, and the cyber world has spilled out into our own space."