dinsdag 31 mei 2005

Bloggende politici

Ik hoop dat Job Cohen deze gedachte heeft kunnen vast houden... Zie 'Donderdag' in het reisverslag van de Amsterdam Area delegatie geschreven door Michiel Frackers.

"Daarna is de delegatie te gast bij weblogbedrijf Six Apart, waar een boeiend gesprek ontstaat over de voors en tegens van webloggen. ‘Er gebeurt iets vreselijks met me,’ fluistert burgemeester Cohen me in het oor; ‘ik vrees dat ik ook een weblog moet beginnen.'"

Business bloggers

Moet nog even wennen aan de term 'business blogger', maar goed. Ik zie veel positieve reacties op de het nieuws dat Emerce gaat samenwerken met een aantal weblogs waaronder deze. Maar ik zie ook een aantal opmerkingen en vragen omtrent het commerciële karakter ervan. Blijven we objectief, gaan we onze bankrekening spekken, gaan de blogs een reclamezuil worden, gezwicht voor het grote geld?

Voor Michiel, Frank en Erwin kan ik niet spreken, maar mijn motivatie om hieraan mee te werken is vooral gelegen in het experimentele karakter ervan in de bredere context van de ontwikkeling van Emerce. Voor wat betreft mijn andere 'commerciele' weblog, Panbo, is dit een heel ander verhaal. Daar gaat het mij er juist om te bekijken hoe een 'amateur' geld kan verdienen met een weblog. Alles op Yme.nl doe ik omdat ik het leuk, leerzaam en handig vind, ik stop er ook snel mee indien andere belangen daar een overhand in zouden krijgen.

Update: mooie quote gevonden in dit kader bij Gapingvoid:

"This is what the internet is really about- this is what causes the excitement. It's all about giving more people control over their own business models, not relying on third parties to supply them. This is true in publishing, retail, advertising, the law, you name it."

maandag 30 mei 2005

Even voorstellen

Bij deze even een snelle introductie voor degenen die hier komen naar aanleiding van de aankondiging in Emerce en mij nog niet kennen.

Voordat ik vorig jaar bij Media Republic ben gaan werken heb ik eerst 5 jaar bij Lost Boys gewerkt als strategie consultant. Op dit moment ben ik bij Media Republic verantwoordelijk voor Eccky, een uniek project dat (zeer binnenkort) mensen in staat zal stellen een virtueel kindje te maken en op te voeden via MSN Messenger en de mobiele telefoon...

Voor Lost Boys ben ik in 2002 begonnen met een corporate blog, nadat ik bij Media Republic ben gaan werken is dit yme.nl/thoughts geworden. Ik schrijf daar vooral over technologie, marketing en innovatie, iets wat ik hier op Ymerce ook zal blijven doen, maar dan in het Nederlands. Daarnaast heb ik ook al enkele jaren een fotoblog, yme.nl/photos/. Begin 2004 ben ik gestart met een blog over boten en gadgets, Panbo, om zelf te ervaren hoe weblogs de wereld van de traditionele media aan het veranderen zijn, en om (succesvol) te experimenteren met de verschillende verdienmodellen voor een weblog. En tot slot is de Eccky Weblog al bijna een jaar het gezicht van Eccky naar buiten toe, in onze ervaring is het een zeer waardevol instrument gebleken gedurende de ontwikkeling van dit project.

Maar goed, nu voor het eerst in het Nederlands bloggen, in samenwerking met Emerce. Ik heb daar erg veel zin in, vooral ook omdat het me in staat stelt meer in te haken op wat er in Nederland in dit vakgebied allemaal gebeurt, iets wat voorheen wat lastiger was vanwege het feit dat ik alles in het Engels schreef.

Het succes van Habbo Hotel

Aardig artikel over Habbo Hotel in de Volkskrant. Vanuit Eccky volgen we hun met meer dan gemiddelde interesse uiteraard, de aantalen zijn zeker inspirerend. Hyped vraag zich vandaag dan ook terecht af waar Eccky blijft. Nog heel eventjes geduld, duurt echt niet lang meer....

"Want het aanbod slaat aan: bijna twee miljoen Habbo’s hebben 1,6miljoen kamers aangemaakt. Per maand zoeken 600 duizend unieke bezoekers de site, die daar gemiddeld 32 minuten doorbrengen. Ouders met één of twee Habbootjes thuis weten dat zulke bezoeken zonder problemen ook uren kunnen duren."

Adverteerder niet centraal bij Talpa

Werk aan de winkel voor Edwin en Marcel....

"Ze hebben zich voornamelijk geconcentreerd op het aannemen van talent, zich beziggehouden met formats, het management en met overnames (Radio 538). Daardoor hebben ze de adverteerder over het hoofd gezien. Dat wil zeggen: de dialoog met adverteerders heeft onvoldoende plaatsgevonden. In dat licht is het ongeloofwaardig om te stellen dat Talpa de adverteerder een centrale plaats geeft in het geheel."

zondag 29 mei 2005

Good or bad start for mobile TV?

Mike Masnick has always been sceptical when it comes to mobile TV, but he too has concluded that the initial feedback from Korea is at least 'significant'.

"Whether it's a good or a bad start, 20,000 subscribers is significant. What will be interesting, however, is to see how this market develops over time. It's likely that more people will buy into it as there are more handset options (and those options get cheaper). However, what will be most interesting is to watch how usage changes over time. While broadcast style video may attract some users for the simple novelty of it, it seems like more interactive video applications are more likely to be sustainable over the long term."

Communicating in whatever means

Communicating is getting harder if you're an old school marketer... Because you will really have to communicate.

"The trick here is communicating in whatever means your market is comfortable in using. Could be blogs, could be email, maybe trade shows (they still exist, don't they). And listening. And responding no matter how uncomfortable the topic. Because if your market respects you, they will talk to you. And if you act upon what they are telling you (sometimes between the lines), they will continue to talk to you."

Computer-as-door

Clay Shirky's remark on social software design is right on target, unfortunately we have to deal with the consequences everyday.

"The practice of software design is shot through with computer-as-box assumptions, while our actual behavior is closer to computer-as-door, treating the device as an entrance to a social space."

Goede of slechte start voor TV via de mobiel?

Mike Masnick is altijd sceptisch geweest wanneer het gaat om TV op het mobieltje, maar ook hij concludeert dat wat nu in Korea gebeurt op z'n minst significant is. En ook al is het distributiemechanisme compleet anders, onze ervaringen met 2GOTV zijn ook positiever dan oorspronkelijk verwacht.

"Whether it's a good or a bad start, 20,000 subscribers is significant. What will be interesting, however, is to see how this market develops over time. It's likely that more people will buy into it as there are more handset options (and those options get cheaper). However, what will be most interesting is to watch how usage changes over time. While broadcast style video may attract some users for the simple novelty of it, it seems like more interactive video applications are more likely to be sustainable over the long term."

Communiceren met de markt

Dat marketing tweeweg-communicatie is (geworden?) zal velen niet ontgaan zijn, de hoeveelheid verschillende media dat daarvoor gebruikt kan worden neemt echter snel toe. En zo ook de manieren waarop deze gebruikt kunnen worden. Geen blog voor het publiceren van persberichten dus...

"The trick here is communicating in whatever means your market is comfortable in using. Could be blogs, could be email, maybe trade shows (they still exist, don't they). And listening. And responding no matter how uncomfortable the topic. Because if your market respects you, they will talk to you. And if you act upon what they are telling you (sometimes between the lines), they will continue to talk to you."

Computer als 'deur'

'User-centric design' is al tijden een leidend principe in web- en softwaredesign. Clay Shirky maakt een goed punt in dat opzicht, dit is herkenbaar voor zowel gebruikers als ontwikkelaars.

"The practice of software design is shot through with computer-as-box assumptions, while our actual behavior is closer to computer-as-door, treating the device as an entrance to a social space."

vrijdag 27 mei 2005

Ontologie overgewaardeerd?

Mocht je je nou afvragen waarom iedereen het toch steeds over dat 'tagging' heeft, lees dan Clay Shirky's laatste essay.

"It comes down ultimately to a question of philosophy. Does the world make sense or do we make sense of the world? If you believe the world makes sense, then anyone who tries to make sense of the world differently than you is presenting you with a situation that needs to be reconciled formally, because if you get it wrong, you're getting it wrong about the real world.

If, on the other hand, you believe that we make sense of the world, if we are, from a bunch of different points of view, applying some kind of sense to the world, then you don't privilege one top level of sense-making over the other. What you do instead is you try to find ways that the individual sense-making can roll up to something which is of value in aggregate, but you do it without an ontological goal. You do it without a goal of explicitly getting to or even closely matching some theoretically perfect view of the world."

zondag 22 mei 2005

Ontology is overrated

If you are asking yourself why everyone is (still) talking about 'tagging', read this writing by Clay Shirky.

"It comes down ultimately to a question of philosophy. Does the world make sense or do we make sense of the world? If you believe the world makes sense, then anyone who tries to make sense of the world differently than you is presenting you with a situation that needs to be reconciled formally, because if you get it wrong, you're getting it wrong about the real world.

If, on the other hand, you believe that we make sense of the world, if we are, from a bunch of different points of view, applying some kind of sense to the world, then you don't privilege one top level of sense-making over the other. What you do instead is you try to find ways that the individual sense-making can roll up to something which is of value in aggregate, but you do it without an ontological goal. You do it without a goal of explicitly getting to or even closely matching some theoretically perfect view of the world."

Robotic child-herding

What could a vacuum cleaner possibly have in common with an Eccky? Well, as long as you're talking about the Roomba Discovery, both are robots. And it's interesting to see what happens when children mingle with them.

"A young enough child theorizes that one property of "life" is when something seems to move with an intelligence and a purpose -- so a robot vacuum cleaner seems indubitably "alive." Silly, sure -- except how many times have you yelled at a car or a computer when it acts up?"

The cost of presence

Can't wait for a solution to what is becoming more of a (personal) problem every day.

"But consider IM for a moment. Yet another Push medium, the most efficent way to get someone's attention happens to be very expensive for others. Not only for the time you are interrupted, but the interruption tax of 15 minutes it takes to cognitively recover from the task at hand. Receivers are responsible for communicating presence to avoid interruptions, but we don't have ways of automagically signaling presence that is both rich enough and leverages the social network as a filter. Heck, the most efficient ways of communicating rich presence is asynchronous (blog posts, Flickr, Plazes) and yet to be integrated -- there is no Xfire for real worlds."

vrijdag 20 mei 2005

Blogging and revenues

I've had many discussions recently on how to make money with blogging. There's not one answer to that question however. My personal blog, www.yme.nl, generates a lot of value for me, but indirectly. I have another blog, www.panbo.com, which began as an experiment to see (a.o.) what revenue sources are available for bloggers. I'm only using Google's Adsense for the moment, but already this is generating real dollars. I love the monthly cheques I receive from Google... Currently I'm working on a revenue plan for Panbo.com, lots of opportunities here. I will post more about it later, it's an interesting case.

Kazaa meets EverQuest

Having virtual worlds using a P2P architecture is a fascinating concept, and in some form even a reality today. Mix this with something like (wireless) mesh networking and cyberspace will be 'out of control'....

"Joaquin Keller told us about Solipsis - a peer-to-peer MMOG. Some of us have heard of another peermog, but we were asked not to bally-hoo it. Anyway: it's Kazaa meets EverQuest. I do think peermogs are an almost scary concept. If they work. In the book (more shameless plugging SORRY) I coin this term 'toxic immersion' and discuss how peermogs could be serious trouble if they are addictive. We'll just lose people."

A whole new internet?

Are opportunities these days more expensive and will they have less return? I don't believe so.

"If you're buying low and selling high, the time to buy optimism was two to four years ago, not now. That was when a small group of friends looked at a horrible economy and saw an opportunity to educate their clients and the rest of us about the value of user-centered design. When a husband and wife decided to build their own blog tool in their spare time because they wanted to use it. When an entreprenuer gambled that you could make money publishing weblogs. When a few folks decided that people needed a place to share their photos with friends. When a loose collective of designers showed us the possibilities of semantically correct standards-based web design. There's still lots of opportunity these days, but it's more expensive with less return."

zondag 15 mei 2005

Perfectly and properly proprietary

I like Martin's thoughts on using proprietary technology vs using open standards. With Skype as an example. Although I remember reading a comment from Niklas Zennström, Skype's founder, that, looking back, he would have preferred to use open standards. But I can't find it anymore...

"Skype’s network is proprietary, closed, and — yes — potentially downright dangerous in the long term. But I believe in dealing with reality as we find it, rather than an ideal world we wish we could conjure up."

Blogs will change your business

The text below was not written by some enthousiastic blogger, but it's the introduction of a cover story in Business Week.

"Go ahead and bellyache about blogs. But you cannot afford to close your eyes to them, because they're simply the most explosive outbreak in the information world since the Internet itself. And they're going to shake up just about every business -- including yours. It doesn't matter whether you're shipping paper clips, pork bellies, or videos of Britney in a bikini, blogs are a phenomenon that you cannot ignore, postpone, or delegate. Given the changes barreling down upon us, blogs are not a business elective. They're a prerequisite. (And yes, that goes for us, too.)"

So World Wide Web 2.0 is now upon us?

Dan Gillmor wrote a column in the Financial Times in which he tries to explain the open API phenomenon in plain English. It all may sound very simple, but it's extremely fundemental for the future of the web and everything that comes with it. On a side note, I started using Greasemonkey this week, and it would not surprise me if it will have a similar (if not related) effect on the way we use the web.

"The emerging web is one in which the machines talk as much to each other as humans talk to machines or other humans. As the net is the rough equivalent of a computer operating system, we’re learning how to program the web itself. An operating system offers programmers something called an "applications programming interface," or API. The APIs are essentially shortcuts for programmers who want to use underlying capabilities of the operating system, such as displaying text or printing, and they help products interoperate with each other."

The new Cool

Marketers, pay attention....

"Hardly a day goes by without Google launching some new Beta service. Seems like Beta is the new word for Cool."

A new approach to web applications

This may be a bit too technical for some, but if your business or interests are somehow related to the web (and I would guess that's the case if you're reading this weblog) you should at least be aware of developments that some have labeled Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript+CSS+DOM+XMLHttpRequest).

"Instead of loading a webpage, at the start of the session, the browser loads an Ajax engine — written in JavaScript and usually tucked away in a hidden frame. This engine is responsible for both rendering the interface the user sees and communicating with the server on the user’s behalf. The Ajax engine allows the user’s interaction with the application to happen asynchronously — independent of communication with the server. So the user is never staring at a blank browser window and an hourglass icon, waiting around for the server to do something."

zaterdag 14 mei 2005

Down to the wire

Clear government policy and decision making is having its effect in some parts of Asia. Western governments should read this article.

"It is now clear that Japan and its neighbors will lead the charge in high-speed broadband over the next several years. South Korea already has the world's greatest percentage of broadband users, and last year the absolute number of broadband users in urban China surpassed that in the United States. These countries' progress will have serious economic implications. By dislodging the United States from the lead it commanded not so long ago, Japan and its neighbors have positioned themselves to be the first states to reap the benefits of the broadband era: economic growth, increased productivity, technological innovation, and an improved quality of life."

zondag 8 mei 2005

Podcasting for mobile

Given the limited wireless spectrum resources, efficient use of available bandwith is required. Podcasting provides a perfect distribution mechanism for this situation. Lots of opportunities....

"While many carriers around the world are attempting to become content creators, most are focusing on video rather than audio. But audio might still be a better bet for mobile. Operators could download "morning shows" or news programs overnight to devices."

Skype vs existing IM clients

I was thinking the same thing....

"I often talk about how Yahoo!, AOL, and MSN could be more of a threat for telcos than Skype because of their wide user bases and their increasingly potent IM clients, yet Skype is doubtless the one pushing the technology envelope."

The capacity question

Sometimes it is easy to forget that wireless spectrum is a limited resource. Unfortunately that's by design and not a law of nature. But as long as we have to deal with this artificial scarcity, the wireless internet might not grow as fast as we would like it to.

"The Internet caught on, in large part, due to the common acceptance of flat-rate dialup fees. People don't necessarily like having to pay attention to how much data they're using. They want to feel free to explore -- which is where the value is in a data connection. This isn't to say the capacity issues aren't real. They're very, very real -- which is why some are questioning how successful wireless VoIP can be. If the high bandwidth applications can't work on these networks in a way that makes economic sense -- then it's difficult to see how these wireless broadband solutions can ever become the mass market success that so many like to predict. If the industry wants to be a real replacement to wireline broadband solutions -- then it needs to deal with the capacity question soon."

Strength of weak ties

Interesting research highlighted by Howard Rheingold on mobile phones, ritual interaction and social capital. If you're looking for a better understanding of the value social networking software can bring, make sure you read this.

"Social capital derives value from loose networks as well as dense ones, however. Sociologist Mark Granovetter pointed out a different kind of social capital that is valuable precisely because the web of social ties is not densely interconnected: the "strength of weak ties" that enables people to get news and opportunities that are often not available to more limited and tightly bound groups."

donderdag 5 mei 2005

Trouble at the Wall Street Journal?

Ah, the Wall Street Journal. Many in the traditional publishing industry have always pointed to the WSJ as a validation for their paid subscription model, but now it seems they've made the wrong choices after all. Their content and brand used to be much stronger than the competition's, but they've kind of given away this advantage by not realizing how things have changed.

"No matter what, this shows that advertisers are recognizing that the WSJ hasn't been able to adjust with the times, and there are better places to put their money when it comes to advertising to the financial crowd. For a paper that's supposed to be on the Wall Street beat, you'd figure they'd have a better sense as to when their own market shifted out from under them."

Happy Slap TV

How's this for some user generated content.... Here's a working link to the movie. It's really disgusting.

"Happy slapping" -- essentially violently attacking someone while it's recorded with a videophone -- is a growing problem in the UK, with British Transport police investigating 200 incidents in the last six months in London's public transport system alone, with who knows how many attacks going unreported. This isn't harmless childplay, the ferociousness and utter stupidity of these attacks is appalling. And the hooligans have embraced user-created content: they share the videos via Bluetooth, MMS and the Web, often describing their efforts as "Happy Slap TV".

maandag 2 mei 2005

Owning the beer you drink?

Liam Mulhall responded to a post on open source marketing. Apparently they (Blowfly) have been practising this way of doing business for a while now, have a look at their website for more info.

"We're the lunatics from Brewtopia. Backed by one of the best up and coming breweries in the Australia, in 2002 we created a beer built on a concept we called Viral Equity - thousands of people across 20 countries helping us make a brand new beer over the internet. Crazy? Yes. Doomed to fail? Yes. But it didn't.... And for giving us input we gave those folks a chance for stake in the company!"

zondag 1 mei 2005

Murdoch looks ahead

I don't think I have to explain who Rupert Murdoch is and what he has built, whether you like it/him or not. He has something to say and I hope the publishing industry is listening. And will act accordingly.

"At the same time, we may want to experiment with the concept of using bloggers to supplement our daily coverage of news on the net. There are of course inherent risks in this strategy -- chief among them maintaining our standards for accuracy and reliability. Plainly, we can’t vouch for the quality of people who aren’t regularly employed by us – and bloggers could only add to the work done by our reporters, not replace them. But they may still serve a valuable purpose; broadening our coverage of the news; giving us new and fresh perspectives to issues; deepening our relationship to the communities we serve. So long as our readers understand the distinction between bloggers and our journalists."

Blending real and virtual

Trying to catch up on geotagging and the likes? Read this post over at Terra Nova. I promise, it will be inspiring...

"I suppose what the future heralds can't be the triumph of the local or the virtual -- it has to be a blending, where local spaces become more vibrant with information, but cyberspace retains its inherent (collapsed/virtually expanded) nature. In other words, one will need to know the way to San Jose to be there, but one will not need to be there to geosurf the community's digital skin."

Location awareness in third places

Here's a post by Jyri Engeström (again) that combines my experience with Bluejacking, my thoughts on social networking and my little idea for a Queensdag LBS (location based service) application. Very interesting....

"A growing number of mobile social softwares (e.g. Imahima, Dodgeball, Plazes, GeoNotes) allow people to define a physical location, announce their presence in that location, and see who else is now checked in, was there earlier, or plans to head there in the future. However, we know relatively little about how these services actually affect the usage patterns of cafés, bars, and other third places. In our research on the use of the Hunaja (Finnish for ‘honey’) system at Aula's social club in Helsinki, we found that new forms of serendipity, self-promotion, stalking and avoidance emerged when club members used their mobile phones to check who was in the Aula space."

The rise and fall of social networks?

Russel Beattie has decided to link out of LinkedIn. What follows is an interesting discussion on what makes certain social networks work and others fail.

"I want to use Russell's question about the 'real use' of LinkedIn as a window into what I think is a profound confusion about the nature of sociality, which was partly brought about by recent use of the term 'social network' by Albert Laszlo-Barabasi and Mark Buchanan in the popular science world, and Clay Shirky and others in the social software world. These authors build on the definition of the social network as 'a map of the relationships between individuals.' Basically I'm defending an alternative approach to social networks here, which I call 'object centered sociality' following the sociologist Karin Knorr Cetina."

I do agree with Jyri Engeström that 'object centered sociality' is the future, but only in a decentralised AND grouped way. Nobody wants a different social network for each 'object'. There's more discussion on this in the comments, many of the issues of today's and tomorrow's social networks are touched upon.

"I'm not sure that Foaf doesn't allow at all the building of objects centered social networks. Foaf has the properties foaf:currentproject, or foaf:interest, which anyone can use to describe projects or interests. The only difference between Foaf and Flickr or del.icio.us is that Foaf uses URL, and not tags. It seems to me to be more semantic. Foaf is also a decentralised project : you'r not closed in a single community like Linkedin. But what reminds true : There're not a lot of tools (semantic search engines) which can today use Foaf files."

Queensday and location based services

Yesterday it was Queensday in The Netherlands. If you've ever been in Amsterdam on the 30th of April you'll understand what I'm about to be saying...

I was supposed to meet with several people throughout the day, but my phone didn't work for several hours which is quite annoying when your trying to find someone when there are hundreds of thousands of (drunk) people out there on the streets. But it did give me a chance to think about a a very simple application for next years Queensday that might even kick-start several other location based services (LBS) for your mobile phone.

Here it is: I would like to subscribe to a service that tracks my whereabouts during Queensday and those of my friends (think social networking services integration!), allowing me to see everyone on a map using my mobile phone. If many people would use this service, it would not only save a lot of hassle (everyone's on the phone the whole day asking "where are you now?"), but it would also make traffic flows much more efficient.

Anyway, Queensday is the kind of event providing a great launch/PR opportunity for LBS since everyone understands (and has experienced) the problem and therefore will also see the value of a simple solution.

Feedreader becoming browser 2.0

I very much agree with this notion, it's almost strange to see how long it takes certain industries to understand it however. It's not like nobody has been telling them....

"The feedreader, I suspect, is becoming the browser 2.0. This is hugely important, but little discussed. Because someone else has control of your browsing,the value equation gets flipped on it's head. Now, the point of this is not that they can do evil with it. If they do evil with it, you'll switch, because evil is costly."

The folksonomic zeitgeist

At the Les Blogs conference in Paris last week (great coverage here) there were many discussions on the topic of 'folksonomies' vs taxonomies. One isn't necessarily better or worse than the other however.

"Sure, it's not as precise as expert librarian tagging. But as Clay Shirky has pointed out, folksonomies are -- on a volunteer basis -- doing a terrific job of something that would be otherwise impossible to do: To pay experts to go around the Net tagging up photos and collections of links to make them searchable."

Real-life Matrix

Well, here we (might) have a real-life Matrix... Someday, but intriguing non the less.

"Imagine movies and computer games in which you get to smell, taste and perhaps even feel things. That's the tantalising prospect raised by a patent on a device for transmitting sensory data directly into the human brain - granted to none other than the entertainment giant Sony."

Bluejacking continued

Bluejacking is not dead. I read this post by Russel and I've downloaded Mobiluck for my Nokia 7610. After using it for a couple of weeks I can say that although it doesn't work well all the time, you can definitely see the potential.

As Bluejacking gets ever more popular, watch out for the kids using it as free local messaging mechanism, especially as Bluetooth increases its range from the current paltry 10 metres. When a range of 100m + is offered, it's going to be a serious messaging platform for communities like schools, malls and many workplaces.