Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Google's *real* competition

OK, if I were to ask you who Google's competition will be one year from now you would likely bring up the usual suspects ... Yahoo&Microsoft. I want to go on the record today as stating that one year from now Google's real competition will be (drum roll)...


You may think of Facebook today as a Social Network that competes with the likes of Myspace, but that is in todays model. Try to be open minded here, and realize what Facebook is, and what it can do with what they own. Facebook, is simply a large database of people, including their demographics, their interests, their friendbase, etc. Do these elements sound important to a different business, perhaps ADVERTISING? bingo! I know, Advertising on Social Networks has been a big bomb to date, but you need to be looking at Facebook a year from now, remember? Facebook will launch their own version of Adsense. By this time social awareness will reside in the browser (amongst other places). In other words, your network will follow you around the net. Sites you visit (and will locate) will be shown to you with higher rankings, should others in your network visit them just as one example. What comes with you when you surf besides your social network? All that juicy (advertisers love this stuff!) information that Facebook knows about you, and can associate with you.

So when you think of the Facebook of the future, and where they will find their advertising $$ success... Do not think of it in terms of advertisements on the website...think bigger, think adsense....

What's a Tweet?

OK, this post is for people who are already aware of what Twitter is. IF you do not know what Twitter is, you will soon. For those who don't, Twitter is a service that allows you to broadcast short bits of text (140 characters or less). Some examples of how I use this...

1) I have a family tweet, and this is monitored by my wife and kids. At a public event, and want to meet by "That tree on the corner"...just tweet it to them. Time for dinner? Tweet!

2) I use it on my blog...If you want to know what/when I post something new on my blog, just sign up to follow my tweets.

What will Twitter evolve to be?

Twitter will look more like an operating system in 2 years. The Majority of its users will not even have to go to to use the service. Twitter will instead be the platform whereby others embed twitter functionality directly into their own applications. As a result, Twitter will be different things, to different people.

For some, the twitter OS will allow them to join a social network on the fly. This might be based on the location of a tweet, the content of the tweet, the profile of the tweeter. Some Tweeters will not even be human, they will be anyone or anyTHING.

A Tweet will be whatever one wants it to be (not constrained by 140 characters of text)..A Tweet might be multimedia,voice,video,etc.

The truest value of Twitter will be how it allows one to broadcast whatever (voice,video,data), to whoever (followers,family,friends,readers (a better RSS), however (via browser,sms,email,etc)

Twitter will be one of the most valuable net properties (along with Firefox)…why? Because they are OPEN. They ARE the ecosystem.

The Verticalazation of social Networks

Ya, OK I know Verticalization is not a real word. And when I coined the term "Vortals" (Vertical Portals 10 years ago, that wasn't a word either. Never the less, this is what has been happening, and will continue to happen on the web.

The "next" thing in Social Networking will be going Vertical. You and I are already members of these new social networks, we just do not know it yet. As an example, LinkedIn is quietly building a knowledge base (their database profiles,groups and even this Q&A). It is not a difficult process for LinkedIn (Facebook will do this as well) to "spin-off" vertically specific networks. Facebook knows most of their user's birth dates. As soon as they reached a critical mass (let's say 1M) of users that were 60 years old +, they could start a new network just for that demographic. Being a vertically specific network has financial benefits. The ability to target very specific groups allows them to charge more for their advertising - because it is more targeted... Unlike getting yet another offer to join yet another social network it will be as easy as a user simply "opting in" to join. Their info, friends,links,likes,etc will all be there waiting.”

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

NPR wants to be relevant again

I remember National Public Radio (NPR) from when I was a kid. I used to listen to one segment I enjoyed called "And so it Goes". And about the time I stopped listening to radio, was about the time I forgot all about NPR. who knew?

So what to do if you are NPR and want to be relevant once again? Let the masses Mash it UP!! . By releasing ALL of their content via open standards (API/XML,etc), and encouraging people to do whatever they want with NPR content they know have a path to survival in this web age...

They get it! Now what are YOU waiting for? Go out there and open (source) your content and watch just how easily you too can survive.

Music? Let em mash it up! Images (take note Getty,AP )? Let em photoshop themselves in! Hollywood? Let em write the endings!

Congratulations to NPR who joins other notable content kings such as New York Times in opening up!! Welcome to a web 2.0 world

Mobile, psst *YOU NEED TO BE THERE NOW!!!

One would think that people learn from their past mistakes. History however always seems to repeat itself. Many companies who dominated their markets, saw new, nimble competitors clean their clocks again, and again.

IBM who dominated the computer space lost out to Microsoft... Microsoft subsequently missed the boat, and lost out to Yahoo, who then lost out to on and so on.

In the *connected (Internet) space, no one took a hit more then old media - Music,TV,Print,etc. Some of these guys have limped back in finally having an Internet strategy YEARS after other nobodies entered their space online, becoming THE property within a given space. Hollywood (TV,Movies,etc) should have been the YouTube. Newspapers should have been the social networks. Music... erghh well lets just say the RIAA needs to wake up and smell the coffee...they will not make money selling MP3's, they need to use that as their loss leader - Making the money up on ancillary services.

So why are all these old media types (and NEW MEDIA TOO!) going to get hit in the head all over again??

If you didn't see it last week, your blind.
1) Location based services (LBS) change everything
2) Over a Billion cell phones changes everything
3) Apple's Iphone changes everything

OK, I realize that up till now, the Internet on a mobile (even smartphones) was a horrible experience. But if you have ever browsed or interacted with the web using Apple's excellent *game changing Mobile browser, you will know now that the time is now!

One can actually read a newspaper or book, one can view multimedia, and one can even interact. Now get in there and protect your brand, if you do not own your Mobile space now - someone else will.

So just to be clear...

Apple alone gives you critical mass... They will bring over 40M people into the mobile space with a device they can actually use.

Apple WILL be a social network...with that many users, Jesus isn't going to give up that opportunity without a fight (*wake up call to Facebook,LinkedIn,Myspace,etc).

WAP is dead ... you need not spend millions of dollars on a special infrastructure any more to interact with users on a Mobile platform...just a Mobile strategy

LBS - opens up all sorts of BRAND NEW opportunities for your brand many of which haven't even been thought up yet. need to move NOW

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Newspapers are dead... Long live Newspapers

OK, at least once every few months, I here another pundit calling for the death and demise of the conventional newspaper. Now I am not blind, I understand their ramblings, it is just that I do not agree.

Web 2.0 will save Newspapers, and publishers (print), are finally getting it. The first thing I do every morning (besides my coffee addiction) is grab the morning newspaper from my driveway, and read it end to end. Throughout the rest of my day, as time permits I refresh the homepage on my blackberry (set to Google News), and read as many articles of interest as I can. Once I get settled in front of my PC, it is all about my favorite blogs.

The main reason for me reading blogs is first and foremost the "freshness" of the content. I also like the ability to be able to scroll (dig down) through for additional information when a blog post does not satisfy my need for knowledge. The net allows me to dig as deep as I need. I also like the "social" aspect of getting my news online, reading others comments, adding my own,etc.

The New York Times (a sleeping giant awakes) is at the forefront of this with their TimesPeople initiative. With TimesPeople, you are able to annotate,share,comment, and be part of a community. This community can be like minded readers, can revolve around a restaurant, hotel, location, article or anything digital.

Now that I have a "Mash-up" of my favorite two things (NYTimes newspaper & Web 2.0), I can attest first hand that Newspapers are not dead, they were just sleeping.