Analysts have recently released reports on vendors providing online subscriptions for social business software. This post takes a short look at their findings and delves a little deeper into the factors that influence decisions Read More
Found via Flowing Data, Jesse Thomas has created a neat presentation covering Internet statistics for 2009. I think this format of presenting big numbers is beginning to get a little tired, but maybe because so many have jumped on the bandwagon. Not all numbers are equal. I’m waiting for the one announcing how many millions of people fart every minute. (Please don’t share the link if it already exists… 🙂 ) Jesse’s is definitely one of the better presentations. Perfect for opening an event session, for which it was intended.
Got to chuckle that one of the comments noticed the planet is rotating in the wrong direction at the start of the video. Sample statistic:
Facebook recorded 260 billion page views per month, more than 10 times it’s nearest rival (MySpace at 24 billion page views per month). Facebook needs as many as 30,000 servers to run and is still growing…
That’s a big electricity bill, small wonder the advertising is getting more aggressive.
For the past few years now, we have seen various videos uploaded to YouTube visualising the trends that have emerged thanks to the Internet and mobile devices. You can find older versions by searching YouTube for ‘Did you know’ or ‘Shift happens’. Here’s the latest one, updated with 2009 news stories:
Hat tip to friend and former colleague Steve Clayton, I spotted this one through his excellent blog. Normally I try to tag videos onto newsletters unless I’m putting a commentary around them. But I’ve already got a queue and this one deserves to stand on its own 🙂
One of my weak spots has always been how to handle difficult conversations. Whilst at Microsoft, there was a great talk titled ‘Fierce Conversations’ that I found to be a real help. It was delivered by Susan Scott and based on her book of the same name. Here’s a short summary of that talk.
3 big ideas:
- Our lives succeed, or fail, one conversation at a time
- The conversation is the relationship
- All conversations are with, and sometimes they involve, other people
When people say ‘don’t take this personally’ what do they really mean? Of course we are going to take it personally, otherwise what’s the point? If you need to have a difficult conversation, (e.g. one that makes you worried enough to start with ‘don’t take this personally’) the first 60 seconds are crucial.
- Name the issue (and keep it to one! Shame on you if there’s more than one issue been left too long to fix)
- Give one specific example to illustrate the issue
- Confess your emotion – shows that you are involved/affected by this issue and hence need to resolve it
- Say what you feel is at stake – honestly, no matter how difficult. It gets attention
- Confess what part has your DNA on it – what you contributed (or didn’t) to create this issue
- Say “I want to resolve this with you/we need to resolve this” – shows you want to move forward together, not point fingers of blame
- Invite the person to give their take on the situation – and shut up! Don’t defend or argue, just listen.
Tips on what not to do…
- Avoid the ‘sugar coated spit ball’ approach where you are supposed to start with something nice before delivering the bad news. People will start putting on the armour whenever you start a conversation with something nice… Nice things should be part of every day conversations, not saved up for when you need to deliver some bad news! Are you paying a sincere compliment, or doing textbook ‘good news – bad news’?
- Don’t put pillows around the message to avoid hurting feelings (including your own). You can’t avoid emotions so keep them open and the conversation honest
- And the opposite to the pillows – don’t walk into a room, pull the pin, throw the grenade and exit without pausing to witness the carnage caused. Take responsibility for the emotional wake you leave. (Emotional wake is covered in much more detail in the book, this talk focused on the first 60 seconds)
“Fierce conversations take us to a place where we are moved to act.”
- The book, the web site and more: Fierce Inc.‘
Filed in the library under: Talks
Am in the process of sorting through and tidying up the library (which means broken links galore in old blog posts but will try and fix those). In the past, some items have gone straight into the library without a blog post. To fix, I’ll be posting those which are still relevant over the next month. Here’s the first…
The Internet Paradigm: Talk by Tim O’Reilly in July 2003, at Microsoft UK
Tim O’Reilly visited Microsoft UK in July 2003. Here’s a short summary of his talk. The talk was based on a theme that was to later become known as Web 2.0. Links to additional information included at the end:
Paradigm shift #1: Hardware
Prior to 1982, hardware ruled. Then IBM released specs for building PC computers. Didn’t seem that important to the industry at the time, they were ‘toys’. Took a decade to really take off, but along cam Dell, Compaq bought DEC…
Paradigm shift #2: Software
Software was now decoupled from hardware. Lock-in and competitive advantage moved to software. IBM had given away the future… to Microsoft. Hardware became a commodity.
Paradigm shift #3: The Internet
Applications and information decouple from both hardware and software. Lock-in and competitive advantage moves to the data and customer relationships. Software becomes the commodity,.. Think Amazon and eBay – the application will stop working without people. It’s the participation age.
Where is Linux really successful? Not as a traditional operating system. It’s Google, Amazon, Yahoo. (and you don’t get access to their source code, only the APIs, sound familiar?)
3 trends that matter:
1, Software as a commodity:
- Amazon switched from Unix to Intel to save costs (10x saving running Linux on Intel)
- Apache means web serving is not a revenue opportunity
- MySQL threatens to do the same to databases
- Software is built for use in delivering services
- Internet-era apps are updated daily, not yearly (e.g.
http://www.salesforce.com/ = 12 updates
between 1999 and 2003)
- ‘Info-ware’ – interfaces built with dynamic data, scripting rules
3. Network-enabled collaboration
- ‘Ad-hocracy’ – people just get together to fix things, distributed internationally (skills, costs, timezones), like-minded devs find each other
- Power shifts from companies to individuals
- Users help build the application
More people have contributed to Amazon than have contributed to Linux…
Small pieces loosely joined:
- An architecture of participation means that your users help extend your platform
- Interoperability means that one component or service can easily be
swapped if a better one comes along (e.g. Google data centre)
- Lock-in occurs because others depend on the benefits from your service, but you are not in control.
What does this mean for Microsoft?
Got to change at some point, not going to see the same margins as in the past (IBM had to get used to this one). Could MSN be a big part of the future? Currently focused on consumer, but what about business?
- Open Source Paradigm Shift (blog post by Tim O’Reilly in April 2004)
- MSN realigns with Windows Platform (MS press release, September 2005)
- What does Web 2.0 mean (Joining Dots blog post, October 2005)
Filed in the library under Talks
Harvard Business School’s ‘Working Knowledge’ web site has an excellent article exploring how to quantify the economic impact of the Internet. You can read the article here.
One interesting snippet included in the article is a TNS study reporting on the leading activities of Internet users:
As noted in the article, the majority of activities are funded by advertising one way or another. We don’t pay to use a search engine or read the news (yet – certain news moguls would like to change that…)
I was surprised to see price comparison sites featuring so high up. But what is interesting is that the only two activities not dependent on advertising or affiliate marketing to fund their Internet business models are online banking and paying bills online. Note that number 5 is visiting a brand or product web site, not necessarily buying anything whilst you’re there. How news thinks it can achieve what only banks and utility services have achieved on a mainstream scale is anyone’s guess. Whilst ‘Lookup news’ will likely remain near the top, what form of news could change entirely.
On a related note, Gerry McGovern has an excellent article talking about the differences between Google and Yahoo. Specifically, how Yahoo switched its focus to advertisers whilst Google remains focused on the end-user despite both having the same revenue goals. Proof is in the pudding, as Google continues to rise and Yahoo continues to fall. If they want to make money on the Internet, maybe those news moguls should take a leaf out of Google’s book instead of wanting to torch it.
- Quantifying the Economic Impact of the Internet – Harvard Business School, August 2009
- The real difference between Google and Yahoo – Gerry McGovern, August 2009
- Rupert Murdoch plans charge for all websites by next summer – Guardian, August 2009
- Murdoch wants a Google rebellion – Forbest, April 2009
[Update: 10th March 2010] Bryn has created a great machinima telling the story, embedded below
Bryn Oh has been at it again. An amazingly talented artist specialising in immersive experiences in Second Life, this time has been let loose on one of IBM’s regions, creating an interactive story about the Rabbicorn (and a great example of NPIRL – not possible in real-life)
If you have a Second Life account, I highly recommend visiting both it and Bryn’s own region Immersive: (these links will launch a teleport within Second Life if you have the viewer software installed):
- The Rabbicorn at IBM 3 [no longer active]
- Immersiva by Bryn Oh
If you’re not into Second Life, here’s a video demonstrating Bryn’s work both at Immersiva and a tour around Rabbicorn at IBM 3, created as a proposal for the Ada Lovelace project:
And here’s the video of the Rabbicorn:
One of my pet research projects during the past 10 months has involved dabbling in virtual worlds to understand if/when they will become a mainstream technology. The outcomes from the research will be publishd at a later date. In the meantime…
If you have heard about Second Life, it’s more than likely you’ll have seen it gain press attention for all the wrong reasons (if you really want to know, see here and here for examples but be warned, one link involves flying genitalia).
Beyond the simple fact that any world, real or virtual, will bring out the good and bad in human nature, virtual worlds offer a range of interesting possibilities. From copying real life to doing stuff not possible in real life to integrating and complementing real life, virtual worlds can assist education, communicatio, process simulation and prototyping new ideas. The research I am currently working on includes experimenting with 3D taxonomy management and syncing data between a virtual office and SharePoint site…
Here are some examples of the work people have created using virtual worlds:
World Builder from Bruce Branit
An aware winning example of integrating the virtual and the real including Minority Report style user interfaces
Attaining Presence: 4Jetpacks4 and Bryn Oh
A great example of ‘not possible in real life’. Both movies show how much easier it has become to create professional looking short animations with everyday tools. Bryn Oh is an amazing artist/builder
NHS Training for Innovation
Not as professional looking as the previous examples (devil is in the details, as usual), this is a video of the NHS training hospital in Second Life (developed by Imperial College, London)
When economies started to collapse in the second half of this year, many blog posts cropped up heralding the death of Web 2.0. I think Web 2.0 will thrive in this economic downturn. Just not yet.
The sort of start-up that has a wafer-thin business model overly dependent on advertising will struggle and many will disappear (and quite a few won’t be missed). Investment in new ideas will become much harder to secure. But Web 2.0 is about more than creating a widget, tagging a picture or poking a friend.
Web 2.0 has yet to scratch the surface of business processes. Whilst consumer habits have changed dramatically since 2000, most organisations internally still look the same. And so they will continue during most of 2009. Going into a recession, the instinctive reaction is to freeze. Stop doing anything and wait to see what happens. Few people would start a new project or reinvent how they do business at this moment in time. And those who would ought to think twice. However, once we are well and truly up to our necks in recession (what we see right now is just the beginning), then businesses will start to rethink the management and processes that led us down down this path. It is at that point that Web 2.0 has the potential to play a significant role.
In short, the next few months will undoubtedly bring more doom and gloom stories about Web 2.0 and related technologies (let alone everything else going on in the world). But the wise will use this time to get organised for when the shock of the recession eases and people start paying serious attention to what happens next.