Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

Disney pops BubbleShare

One of the vagaries of cloud computing is that when you choose to host your pictures, files, and so forth with an organisaton you never know where that company is going to end up in the future, and subsequently what the future holds for your files.

Take BubbleShare, one of the earlier Web 2.0 photo sharing sites. Today BubbleShare announced it was shutting down and that you have until November 15 to download your albums or they’re gone.

BubbleShare was acquired in 2007 by fellow Canadian company Kaboose for $2.25 million. Kaboose was then acquired by Disney Online in April this year. But if you thought having all your photos under the Disney umbrella meant they were in safe-keeping then think again. By now, Disney would have completed a review of the Kaboose assets and it seems its first point of order is to shut BubbleShare.

If I’d been entrusting my photos to BubbleShare over the last five years or so, I’d be pretty peeved with Disney right now.

Filed under: Web 2.0

Google Docs ties with your domain

If you have a Google Apps for your Domain account, you can now log into Google Docs and Spreadsheets using your Google-managed user names.

We’ve had our domain hosted with Google now for a few months, but I’ve held off moving away from my gmail user account because I like the single sign-in factor I have with that. The big obstacle for me was not being able to log in to Docs and Spreadsheets with my MediaConnect username as I spend a bunch of time in that app every day as it has become my primary word processor these days.

However, last weekend I thought I might try logging into D&S with my mediaconnect login and it worked no problems at all, although its still not linked to in top left-hand corner of my email.

I wonder why that is? I hope it’s because Google has something bigger planned that simple integration of D&S and GAFYD (and Google can we please get some nicer names for these two apps).

I’m absolutely dying for Google to integrate Jotspot into all this. I have very much come to the conclusion that is the app that brings all this stuff together for SMEs.

My frustation at the moment, is that Zoho has pretty much done this with its recent ZohoWiki, which does tie together its spreadsheet and docs, and furthermore they tie it together further via their Virtual Office product. About six months ago, I came to the conclusion I had to back one horse on this front and chose the Google path, one because of their size and two because I’m so in love with GMail. When they release Google Calendar and Apps for your Domain I was feeling pretty good about that decision, but right now when we’re looking to really built out a corporate intranet faciltiy I’m dying for that Wiki piece of the puzzle to drop into place.

But I do have much faith in the Jotspot team. I think what they were creating with Jotspot was stunning and I have every faith that they can produce something special now they’re in the Googleplex.

P.S. Would Yahoo or even MS hurry up and buy Zoho. These big Internet heavyweights should look at Zoho and be shamed and red-faced as to the suite of web tools they’ve produced compared to what Zoho has pumped out. Unfortunately, I think for all their brilliance Zoho really needs a popular mail client to make everything come together on a personal productivity basis.

Filed under: Google, Online Applications, Online Spreadsheets, Online Wordprocessing, Web 2.0, Zoho

The Oscillating Hype Cycle (plus the world’s shabbiest attempt at a graph)

My favourite anal-ist material of all time is the Gartner Hype Cycle. In my not-so-humble opinion, it very much reflects the 'hype cycle' that most big technology trends go trough.

It looks like this:

Basically, as a significant technology breaks through it will pick up momentum and it reaches the peak of its buzz stage. Then the doomsayers step in and tear down the tech for not living up to unrealistic expectations. Slowly as the technology matures it takes a gradual rise back up in terms of visibility as successful case studies emerge and eventually it plateaus out.

So I was looking at this and I was wondering where both blogs and Web 2.0 fit onto this graph. And it struck me that it's not so simple to plot. Were this two years ago, I'd have said both blogs and Web 2.0 were at the top of the hype cycle. Both Web 2.0 and blogs have made cover stories in major mainstream magazines and that's generally a pretty good indicator of having reached that "peak of inflated expectations".

And you'd probably also be able to argue, as I have in recent posts, that we're notwstarting back down the slope. I'm not the only one who's saying things have gone flat and certainly the increase in Web 2.0 "snark" has been well-and-truly recognised.

However, you probably could have made similiar arguments a number of times along the way to the point we're at now. There's been big bursts of publicity and interest in both blogging and Web 2.0, followed by a pretty serious backlash in the blogosphere.

So, what I'll posit is that the blogosphere actually changes the shape of the Gartner Hype Cycle some what. In mainstream media, we pretty much all tend to jump on the same boat. You'll tend to note that it's generally all one way or the other as the media both shapes and reflects public opinion in a self-perpetuating snowball.

However, the blogosphere is different. The diversity of voices mean you get a lot more positive vs negative. So as a technology rises and falls you'll get a constant to-ing and fro-ing of champions and critics and therefore in its early days the hype graph will oscillate quite dramatically (and yes, I know this is the world's lamest attempt at a graphic but hopefully it gets across the picture).

I'm not quite sure what impact this has. Perhaps the trough doesn't go so deep because a lot of the negatives have already come to the surface along the way and may even get addressed before we go into freefall.

But it does change communications models somewhat. It also does make it hard to look at data and say is this a mini-spike or mini-trough or are we actually heaving over the peak and down towards the trough? My last post regarding the tech blogosphere peaking. If indeed what I was claiming to observe was really there, was it just a small dip or has the peak indeed been reached as was originally hypothesised.

I dunno, but I think it's good food for thought.

Filed under: Blogs, Web 2.0

Web 2.0 fizzle begins

When dot com v1.0 when pop, remember how all those consumer plays that were floating on bloated bubble economics all suddenly re-invented and re-packaged themselves for the business market. Visto was a personal favourite of mine. Here’s the Visto product information, courtesy of the Way Back Machine, circa Jan 25, 1999.

What’s Visto Briefcase™?
It’s your private, secure space on the Web. Your most important information anywhere, on any browser—and it’s free! Free email, right? This is just fancy email isn’t it?
Hold on there! Free email is only a small part of what you get. What would you call an online package with:

  • high-powered email
  • full-featured address book
  • daily, weekly, monthly personal calendar
  • portable browser bookmarks
  • storage space for your files
  • new sharing feature to easily share your files and calendar

We call it your Visto Briefcase—and it’s free.

And then you have Visto today..

Visto is opening up wireless email and PIM solutions to all levels of users by providing the broadest and most open solution that works with all intelligent devices and leading email solutions from personal to enterprise. Visto’s solutions are widely available on a global basis through industry leading mobile operators . Visto’s solutions give control, flexibility, and choice back to wireless operators and mobile professionals.

I love how Visto 1999 mentions the word free, four times in its product description, yet I can’t seem to find the same word anywhere in its latest marketing gumpf. Funny how, when the bubble pops companies suddenly need to develop a revenue model, which for Visto was primarily selling through wireless carriers. Oh, and of course, of late, it’s worked out an even better revenue model – suing companies like Microsoft and RIM.

So with this in mind, I started to get nostalgia flashbacks when I found out that one of my favourite, but most frustrating Web 2.0 companies, Trumba, announced that it has decided to re-model itself around selling to businesses; ie people that are actually likely to pay. You might remember I was non-too kind to the Trumba folk in my post When Good Ideas Go Bad. I suggested that rather than going after the ordinary consumer they would have been much better off trying to provide the calendar engine to developers, publishers, app builders, etc.

Just about every portal, just about every intranet, every piece of CRM software has calendar functionality that they’ve had to pay their developers or external developers to build. Trumba should have set itself with being the calendar inside every online application in the planet. It should have been built from the ground up as a white label application, easily deployed and integrated into whatever you were building.

Trumba’s Ted Johnson left a comment on Squash last week saying:

We agree. Chasing the consumer with a pay-for service wasn’t a winning strategy. Yesterday we announced a refocus on businesses and organizations that need to communicate event information. See the press release or the updated web site.

Among the messages on the new Trumba website are: “We focus on calendar communications so you don’t have to”. And it lists its technical benefits as:

Trumba calendar tools allow you to upgrade your website calendar almost instantly.
Reduce
development time
Enable
direct content updates by the content owners
Increase calendar reliability, security, and performance
Get updates and feature upgrades automatically

I wonder how much of their $8 million in VC funding Trumba burnt chasing the consumer holy grail? And Trumba actually did start down that path with a business model (admittedly not a very good one).

A lot of these Web 2.0 start-ups will have been going for about a year now. A lot will be feeling the pinch. Most people can bootstrap a start-up for 12 months but it starts to get really tough, if you want to do it for any longer than that. I very much expect to see a rash of Writely-style acquisitions over the next 12 months. Start-ups facing up to the reality that they’re not making any money and therefore finally coming to the realisation that they’re never going to crack the mega pay-day. So they’ll sell to one of the big boys for a handy exit sum and a good job in the process. Sure beats bootstrapping, hey?

But it’s a far cry from the Web 2.0 hype that has built up this expectation of dot com daze revisted…

The good news is that companies like Trumba are already taking corrective action before they’ve got one foot in the grave. Companies like Writely are taking reasonable exits rather than holding out for the motza. So these is a semblance of sense starting to infiltrate the Web 2.0 economy. For those reasons, I don’t think we’re in a bubble. As a company like News comes into play talking up big acquisitions and inflating the environment, simultaneously there seems to be a slow-release valve leaking the pressure out of it because enough of us learnt enough lessons from the first time around.

Web 2.0 is already fizzing. But it’s a good thing.

Filed under: Web 2.0

Writely’s another Web 2.0 nail in the coffin

If Google’s acquisition of Writely has any of you Web 2.0 folk jumping up and down thinking the heavens are about to open up and rain gold, then sit down, put away your umbrella and take another Squash reality check.

Over the past week, I’ve read any number of blogs congratulating the Writely folk for selling out. But every indicator points to the fact that this was a dirt cheap deal and perhaps even a salvage mission.

Firstly, has it struck no-one as surprising that there has been almost no speculation as to how much Google paid for Writely?

That’s the first indicator that this was a teeny-weeny deal. When people sell-out in a big-money acquisitions, they usually can’t help but tell that trusted someone, who tells another trusted someone, who passes the word onto another trusted someone and so on until a pretty reasonable picture emerges as to roughly what was paid.

The fact that no-one’s bragging on this one, suggests that, well, there ain’t much to brag about.

More telling though is that I’ve been chatting to a company who is a significant player in this whole web-office space and they swears blind they’ve not even had a nibble from Google. Not a single call, e-mail or overture. Nada.

If this was a strategic acquisition from Google they would have scouted the playing field and this company would have been a part of that. So based on this information, Google ain’t out there looking.

First thing to take out of that fact is you shouldn’t expect a GoogleOffice any time soon. If Google is doing an office, they’re doing it in-house and that’s going to take some time. However, more so, this indicates that GoogleOffice isn’t a priority for the big G. Sure, the Writely buyout is an admission that they’ve got something going on in this space, but as I’ve speculated before I think it’s very much tied to the GDrive/Lighthouse projects and I don’t think anyone is expecting those to be rushed out to market anytime soon.

Salvage?

The second assumption you might draw from the fact that Google aren’t casting a net around is that it’s far more likely that the Writely crew approached Google, than the other way round.

I think there’s ample secondary evidence to corroborate this theory, too.

Google wrote on their blog that Writely had “many thousands of users”. Not tens of thousands of users. Not hundreds of thousands of users. But thousands.

Anyone who knows marketers know that if there are 10,001 users you start talking about tens of thousands. So lets be kind and assume Writely had 9,999 beta users. Other people in this market have told me that’s likely being generous.

The Writely business model appeared to be trying to tempt a portion of its users to pay a “reasonable subscription fee” for advanced features.

Our hope is to always have the basic service be free, with some extra features requiring a reasonable subscription fee.”

There wasn’t too much holding Writely in beta. According to its Beta Meter, 60 per cent of users felt it was time for Writely to rip off the beta label.

Now it’s all well and good to pretend that there’s a big, whopping market out there when you’re in beta but when you take a service like this live, you need to start walking the talk.

So let’s run some numbers. Let’s assume that Writely did a really, really good job of converting users to paid subscriptions and they managed to get 10 per cent of users to cough up some coin, which would be an impressive feat when you consider there are free alternatives out there in the market and there’s not a heap of value-add you can add over and above the primary product. Anyway, that gives us about 1,000 paying users.

How much is a “reasonable subscription feed”. If you look at paid services like Trumba or BackPack we’re probably talking about $50 per year. So best case, we’re looking at revenues around the $50,000 per year mark. We’re not even close to covering the four Writely salaries at those levels.

So if Writely was going to go it alone, it needed to raise VC dollars fast to fund a marketing campaign. You tell me any VC, even one who’s drunk a REAL lot of Kool Aid, who’s going to look at those numbers and see a great investment opportunity.

Best case option then for the Writely folk was to approach a company that they wanted to work for and hope for a HR-driven buyout. That looks to be exactly what has happened.

All this, and we should remember that as far as Web 2.0 consumer plays, Writely looked pretty good. The product was almost perfectly executed; it was good for generating a lot of natural buzz, such is the fascination with a possible MS Office killer; and it was an easy to use, easy to understand product that should have been relatively well-place to break through the wall of Web 2.0 freakazoid early adopters.

Yet, in the end, it almost certainly sold for peanuts. So go on and tell me again, how revenues models don’t matter in the Web 2.0 economy. Go on, please, it just gets funnier every time I hear it.

Filed under: Online Applications, Web 2.0

Follow the money

As a journo, the most useful time of my career was when I edited the IT channel publication Australian Reseller News. As a general tech journalist, most of the time you spend your time wading through crap and marketing speak. Down there in the channel, at least back then, you got to speak to really, smart people who hadn’t yet been wrung out by the marketing sanitisation process and subsequently I was fortunate to have a lot of really sincere, intriguing conversations with a lot of really smart people about how they made money out of IT.

The single, biggest lession I took out of the cumulative knowledge of all those folk was to follow the money.

You can’t make money where there is no money to be made. Doesn’t matter how good your product is. Doesn’t matter how much you change the world if there ain’t no money in the cookie jar, it doesn’t matter how many times you go a-dippin, you’re going to come up empty handed.

Conversely, if you go into a market where there’s already great big wads of moolah flying through the air, then all you have to do is do a better job than everyone else who’s clutching for the cash and you go home with a bounty.

By rights, you should be saying Duh, about now. It’s pretty simple stuff really, isn’t it? Then why do I look at 80 per cent of companies profiled in TechCrunch and find myself saying ‘who’s gonna pay for this stuff’. ‘How they going to make any money?’

A lot of people seem to want to engage me over the merits of things like social software, tagging, yada, yada. It’s not my beef. My problem is the application of the technology to problems that either don’t exist or that people won’t pay to have solved.

I don’t think it’s being “snarky”, not to want to see a whole bunch of businesses go belly up. Have you ever run a business and lay awake at night wondering how you’re going to pay the bills when you wake up? Ever been made redundant? These kinds of things are not fun. These things are not glamorous. Do we really want to see the day when Mike Arrington’s parties become a wake.

Filed under: Web 2.0

Poor Web 2.0 fools

Is it starting to become obvious to people yet, that 99.9 per cent of these Web 2.0 consumer plays WILL die?

TechCrunch reviews the upcoming Google Calendar. If you valued one of the squillion of Web Calendering apps on the market at $10 yesterday, write them down to a cent today. They’re all gone.

The only play that had a chance in this market was Trumba. Of all the Web 2.0 plays that SHOULDN’T have tried to build a revenue-generating business off the bat, it was Trumba. They could have used their speed to market and the network effect that was inherent to their approach to build a massive user base that would actually have some value now. Glad it wasn’t my $8 million they raised.

30 Boxes. Pfft. I said on launch it was a dog. Now it’s a dog with fleas. And what was that calendar with the stupid name? Sponge something? Can’t remember. Stupid and forgettable, that’s a neat trick. As I said at the time, their one innovation – the English-language parser – would quickly be replicated by others and guess what, it’s in Google. Bye bye, whatever your name was.

The primary problem for all these Web 2.0 startups is many were built on the assumption that it would be easier for a Google, Yahoo or Microsoft to buy rather than build. But, as you can see from some of the details leaking out about Google Calendar and some of the other things there doing most of these new add-ons are highly integrated into their existing apps. Not meaning to say I told you so (okay, yes I am) but as I said in my GMail: One app to rule them all post, all of this stuff is going to work together and as such its far easier to build than buy.

In fact the only way most of the Web 2.0 companies have any value is if they have sticky user-bases. That’s why Flickr, delicious (I refuse to do the dot thing), etc were acquired. You can clone just about any of this stuff in a matter of months but you can’t clone tens of thousands of passionate users.

Meanwhile, I was really glad to see fellow Aussie Nik Cubrilovic who has done a stellar job for TechCrunch while Mike Arrington has been away talking about some of the latest developments at SalesForce.com. Unfortunately, Salesforce.com doesn’t tend to qualify as being “cool” in Web 2.0 circles probably because they don’t have tags and they’re making too much money. That’s so old school.

However, when the gazillion web startups with no business models have all died it will be companies like SalesForce.com who will be left standing tall. Funny thing is for all the new business models that have been floated none have innovated where it counts – the revenue model.

I’m working with a company at the moment that has red-hot technology in a red-hot market and has what I think is red-hot revenue model too. The company founder thought much the same thing but on trying to raise capital to push ahead, kept getting the same message – you’re not Web 2.0 enough.

Here’s one of his rejection slips: “We would be interested in going further with this if you were conviced that building a lightweight web service was the key to your succes, but it seems like your end goal is still the [old-fashioned, proven revenue model]* and that makes it not our sweet spot. Let us know if your strategy changes.” (* Our description of the term in brackets.)

This VC is a complete and utter twit. However, unfortunately after getting this same message over and over, the founder went about trying to develop a “lightweight web service” (read no revenue-model consumer play). As far as I’m concerned the founder had it right all along. Why? Because his solution came out of a real customer need. He’s built it based on real problems, real feedback from real people who are prepared to pay real money for a real solution. We’re now looking at a channel model (gasp, shock, horror, weren’t all resellers supposed to be disintermediated by now) based on his original premises. I think he’s got a home-run on his hands with a concept that is really core to what the whole Web 2.0 movement is about. But because the VCs can’t put it in a nice, little neat Web 2.0 box he’s been passed over time and again.

I can guarantee one thing. He’s going to be around a lot longer than any calendar app. Unless of course Google buys him first.

Filed under: Google, Online Calendars, Web 2.0

I’m on the cranky pills… you’re all full of shite

FFS, that’s it, I’ve had my fill. If I have to read one more blog-post from armchair critics lecturing Big Media as to how it should be doing this and why it shouldn’t be doing that, I’m going to do something really extreme. Like eating a donut. On Sunday. For breakfast. And not brush my teeth afterwards.

Do you people really think that large media companies aren’t watching what’s going on in the blogosphere? Do you really think they aren’t paying new media gurus squillions of dollars to provide them with advice as to where this is all going and how it’s going to impact their business? Don’t you think they’re crunched the numbers, analysed their traffic stats, surveyed their readers and viewers. Don’t you think that once the blogosphere, RSS and other Web 2.0 tidbits reach mainstream, they’ll just buy up whoever they need to buy to get a seat at the table.

I have no doubt there will be elements of Web 2.0 that will prove disruptive to Big Media, particularly edge economics, and there will be a few players like Yahoo and Google did in Web 1.0 that break down the doors to the kingdom, but you’re naive if you think Big Media doesn’t know what’s going on. So when Big Media decides partial RSS feeds make more sense than full feeds, when it takes measured steps into blogs and so on and so on, please don’t presume to think it’s because Big Media is full of blinkered, old fools with their heads in the sand. You’ll meet just as many brilliant minds in the media sphere as you do in tech. Fact is, nobody knows exactly where all this is going to lead, so please resist the temptation to think you know better and talk down to people who live and breathe content consumption. You might find there’s actually some reason to their ‘madness’ and you might learn a thing or two yourselves. Or else come back and talk to me when you’ve actually got up out of your armchair and run a big, successful media company.

In fact, I’m going to devote any blogging time I get this week to debunking a lot of your Web 2.0 better-than-thou ideologies, beginning with Scoble and his full-feed fetish. See you soon.

Filed under: Big Media, Web 2.0

Crashing the party

Want to see the future of the Web. Hang on, where you are going? The Bay Area? No, hang a left and keep driving for, say, 13528 kilometers or 8407 miles, which ever measuring stick you prefer to use.

If you’ve listened closely to your NavMan instructions, hopefully you’ve arrived at Chennai, India. India, in case you’ve been to one too many Mike Arrington Web 2.0 shindigs, is a country of more than a billion people and is home to many of the world’s fastest growing Information Technology start-ups. Think Infosys, Satyam, Tata. Every day an increasing amount of development work heads offshore to get bashed up in these gigantic codehouses. You might remember before Web 2.0 came about, people were talking how programmers in the western world were ready for the scrapheap, because there were literally thousands of codemonkeys in India and other developing nations lining up to take their jobs at greatly reduced salaries.

Then Web 2.0 arrived and suddenly we begin hearing about this incredible “shortage of talent” that is forcing Web companies to fork out millions of dollars to buy startups just so that they can get their hands on talented coders. You’d think learning AJAX development was akin to deciphering long lost, ancient hieroglyphics.

Anyway, back to Chennai, and you might want to drop into the office of AdventNet, who primarily develop enterprise IT, networking and telecoms software. However, over the past six months or so, AdventNet, have been working under the much funkier name of Zoho and have spat out a series of online apps ranging from its flagship Zoho Office collaboration suite, ZohoCRM, a Salesforce.com clone, ZohoWriter, an AJAX word processor and a number of others. The most recent offering is Zoho WebSheet, an online word processor.

What has absolutely stunned me about Zoho has been the speed of development. They arrive on the scene and in what seemed like just a matter of months they were suddenly boasting one of the world’s most impressive stables of online applications.

So let’s lay to rest the myth that only developers with a view of the Golden Gate bridge can develop these cool, new whizbang applications. Want to see just how difficult it is to get this stuff built. Log on to Rentacoder.com and request a clone of Flickr or any such web application. We’re talking just hundreds of dollars for your friendly developer from India, Russia, Bangladesh, Argentina, etc.

But while you’re talking to the folk at Zoho ask them how much they charge for these oh-so-neat web apps. You can get ZohoCRM for just $US12 per user per month (and the first 3 are free), ZohoOffice, a fully-fledged collaboration suite for just a couple of hundred bucks total. ZohoWriter and many of the other web apps are free. What do these kind of prices do for the monthly subscription model that is one of the few real business models Web 2.0 companies are making money out of.

Critics of Zoho have described them as copycat developers, mimicking the work of 39signals, Writely, etc. But some of the Zoho offerings like ZohoCreator which lets end-users create simple web applications with no coding knowledge can certainly be put into the innovative bucket.

Zoho has to be a prime acquisition target. And not just for their product line-up but also because if I was a software company, I’d be wanting to take advantage of the cost efficiencies of offshored software. And if a company like Zoho does happen to get snapped up by one of the big boys, watch a hundred and fifty million Indian start-ups gang crash the Web 2.0 party.

Software development was on the road to commoditisation before the Web 2.0 blip. And it will be a blip. What’s more, after this movement starts to head offshore, and these developing IT nations start to rack up some entrepreneurial acuman to match their base of coding talent, Squash wonders if this might be remembered as the last great big Silicon Valley party.

Filed under: Web 2.0

I’m coming to the party

I always lamented that I was late-to-the-party when Web 1.0 rolled around. I started writing my first Web business plan, exactly one month before the whole thing went crash. I ended up ditching that first idea because it required VC funding and settled on a business I thought I could make fly, because it better leveraged the expertise I’d acquired at that stage and it didn’t require any external investment. That was MediaConnect and I reckon we’ve done alright for ourselves.

But I always wondered what would have happened if I’d have done the same thing a couple years earlier amidst the haze of multi-million dollar VC funding and zillion dollar buyouts and IPOs. I’d be living on easy street by now, I keep telling myself as well as anyone who has the misfortune of running into me at 2am in the morning after a dozen or so beers.

So now ‘Web 2.0′ rolls around and the dollars are flowing freely again. As I look around and watch what’s happening, I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable, lounging back in my diluded state of ‘what might have been’. It’s kind of difficult to cry about missing the boat when another ship’s there sitting in the dock, waiting to be boarded.

After putting so much sweat into MediaConnect, though, it’s kind of difficult to take ones hands off the wheel for fear of it running aground. Sure, we’re a niche business, but it’s one we own and which we’re now well-positioned to leverage now we’re operating in the black. A lot of things are turning our way and a company with a relatively similar business in the US, Vocus, just IPO’d in December and has since seen its share rocket from $9 to $13.65 giving it a market cap of over $US200 million.

So it’s been easy for me to stay chained to MediaConnect and leave the rest of my participatory efforts to sniping as an armchair critic as the web goes through its latest, iterative development. However, in the past week, I’ve decided that’s a cop out. I am ready to join the party.

The first thing I’ve done is embrace the Google 80/20 rule. We’ve christened a room in our office as our “lab”. We’re going to start some side projects and all our staff have the opportunity to get involved with those as well as to propose their own ideas. The goal is to let a couple of ideas take off, see what flies and if any manage to stay up in the air we’ll hive them off and anyone involved keeps their seat on their plane. If they crash, well, we just sweep up the wreckage and send another one up in the air. After all, what are you really risking? It doesn’t take an awful lot of cash to prototype an idea these days and I don’t think the use of staff’s time on side projects will result in noticeable decreases in productivity related to our core business.

So if you’ve noticed a drop off in my number of posts, it’s because I’ve been speccing my first couple of labs projects. One is related to the 1EyedEel site that’s been my labour of my love for the past couple of years and the second is in the content aggregation space. I’m pretty keen on the concept behind the aggregator, actually.

If nothing else, I’m going to find out if I can walk the talk. Do I have a clue or am I full of shit? If I am full of shit, well, so be it. That’ll just make me all the more qualified to blog! ;-)

Filed under: Content Aggregation, MediaConnect, Web 2.0

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