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Ch-ch-changes November 8, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in technology.
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I just got spammed by Glue, looks like maybe their notifications engine had a little freakout and sent me a bunch of messages I had already received. Which is fine. Part of playing in this new space (both as a producer and a consumer) is sometimes things go awry. Software (i.e. anything on a screen) is in flux, it is not right – just least wrong. And it gets less wrong as people find ways to improve it.

Seeing those messages suddenly arrive though, I’m wondering about the tolerance people have for that. Nobody expected those to arrive (least of all the developers I imagine), and if it had been a major brand, then it would have been annoying. But it came from a service trying to do something good – connect people.

They’re a start-up and still getting things figured out, and that is fine. Last year people were fond of droning on and on about Twitter having scaling issues. You know what? They’re supposed to!! That is part of building a popular service!! They had scaling issues because they focused on building something people wanted – their server going down on a regular basis meant they were doing their God-damn jobs. In turn you got a service you love for free.

Give. Me. Strength.

Image representing Foursquare as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase

I am fond of banging on and on about my mate Tim saying “If you want to understand change you have to be part of it.” And part of that, particularly when playing with services like Glue or FourSquare or whatever it will be tomorrow, is an understanding that this shit is in flux. And it will get better and it will get worse and that is the contract you sign when you join.

It is called the bleeding edge for a reason, things get broken.

And thank God they do.

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You gave you away October 21, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy.
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3 comments

A few days ago I posted a presentation on where I think this space is headed. On slide 191 (yes 191) I mention something called The Three Musketeers rule, All For One or One For All. The former is siloed value creation, the latter creates value for an ecosystem.

I realised in the shower last night (keep it clean people) I had actually been thinking about this since November when I drew the below image:

I believe the Internet is, on a DNA-level, structured to create value for an ecosystem, and I believe this is why we’re seeing traditional business having a hard time playing in the new landscape, with models being destroyed and a new kind of value creation making waves.

This is also why I’m still on the fence about Facebook over the long term. Nobody can deny their growth or do anything other than applaud getting to profitability. But I feel on an instinctive level the model is All For One, it’s old media dressed up in shiny new threads, it’s a system that creates value for Facebook alone, and it’s questionable if any value is created outside of its walls.

In the presentation I included a slide of companies who are operating with a One For All approach:

Looking for a model?

Looking for a model?

If over time it transitions into One For All it will be interesting to watch. As it stands now, I can’t help but feel it is organised against the natural order of the Internet, which is open and connected. We’re seeing what happens when you do that across all kinds of industries, and it being an Internet darling does not exclude it from the same principles.

Even Rome fell people.

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Saddle up your horses, we got a trail to blaze May 27, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, technology.
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Over at Mashable I caught site of a service called RT2Buy (from company Twitpay) which is hooked into Twitter and PayPal, allowing purchasing and money transfer over the space of 140 characters. In exposing platform upon which people could build services early on, Twitter made a very savvy move which puts it head to head with the likes of Facebook, Microsoft etc. in more ways than one.

While people continue to duke it out at a site level, I’m super-bullish on the browser-as-platform. Instead of waiting for traffic to reach a site before it is meaningful, the experience remains with you regardless of where you travel to online.

I commented over at AVC acknowledging the barrier to entry that exists for browser extensions, and said perhaps application developers for Facebook, Twitter and other platforms will find interesting ways to extend the experience into the browser.

My thinking is a popular game on Facebook could potentially be extended into the browser and played when not actually on the site. Yes it is the long way around, but I think the fix will arrive via a combination of it being relatively easy to do AND having it heavily incentivised. Games, photo-sharings apps etc. already with a large audience on Facebook seem to be like the most direct path at this point.

This ties back to my whole thing about seeking out great digital work that is uniquely digital; that is to say, taking advantage of the things you can do with digital platforms that you can’t do with any other. There are ways we can open the browsing experience up that will appeal to a mass audience.

Whoever figures that one out is going to have a handle on a wide open space that leapfrogs everyone.

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Image courtesy of Eduardo Amorim with thanks to