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March 22, 2005

The ultimate event database

This  relates to  one of those cases where many people realize the problem at the same time and then they decide to attack it in different ways.  We at one time thought of building solution to manage the event tracking with all the web2.o stuff we have come to love - RSS, Tags, User-driven content etc as part of our social computing initiatives.  But then a hungry startup can only do so much (focus Brij !).  In this particular case we would rather just use the best tool out there. Thats where evdb comes into picture.

Looks like evdb is about to unleash their stuff in a near future.  I wish them all the luck.
I am eagerly waiting for their solution.  Running through emails for local events, selecting , calendar checking and linking it with outlook should get easier. I am hoping.

Related link: Scott Mcmullan's Google/Internet Archive, Meet Mr. Event

March 22, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Google and Flickr cont..

At the risk of sounding like  a Google thorn, let me pick few areas where I think Google's culture wont allow them to excel. 

Google due to all it's smart assembly line of Phds has this approach of  "we know what we are doing" and don't need any stinking user community telling us what to do.  And probably rightly so. They have demonstrated time and time again what they are capable of. Hats off to their engineering talent.  While I am on the topic let me say hats off to Apple and that company which not many people talk about nowadays - SGI.  They are all extremely creative companies. They create cool products (well SGI used to), have good fan following and generally get rewarded in the Wall Street.  (You cannot write any Silicon Valley story without talking about these three companies)

Smart people naturally have strong aversion to surprises. It goes against their prepared mindset. Google is not comfortable with user generated content.  It shows in their controlled corporate blogging policy and their overall secrecy around terms and conditions.  But then that's the corporate culture which ideally shouldn't  reflect on the application architecture or product evolution.  I suspect it reflects there as well.

Success of Flickr tells one thing that the next generation architecture need to not only incorporate chaos as a feature but actively break the barrier which stops users from expressing their creativity via their content or data.  As an application writer you need to constantly break the boundaries.  Let user drive the product management. It sounds scary but its less scary than the world we live-in and an extremely short window we get to innovate in.

I think both Yahoo and Amazon (A9) have realized this hole in Google's formidable revenue stream. They are going OPEN (Yahoo by integrating Flickr features and A9 by using open search). They will adopt RSS left, right and center. This is a great move from the user point of view. They get to decide how deep and intelligent search personalization they want.  Isn't this something Google should have had done long time back, but they won't sacrifice their ad revenue.  When are we going to get RSS in the Google News ? How does fair-user aggregation conflicts with fair-user content syndication ?

In this empowered-user era users will find their own way to get a cleaner and faster interaction experience. One can setup an email forwarding from Google to Bloglines  and get all email/RSS feed in one aggregator - and hopefully without pesky ads following him everywhere. Point is user has a choice and companies shouldn't hide those choices if they are easy to provide.

I like Google for what they have done so far but they should open up little more and allow user-driven experiments in their product line.  Add more of RSS and community features in their websites. I am sure they are doing it but they again they are assuming they know what users want.   Even the temple of user-centricity - Apple - never thought one day people would be putting Linux on iPod.

Flickr has taught us the thrill of discovery, lets build that into our architecture.

(Pankaj as always I got carried away, but I hope I answered your question)

March 22, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Open source to dominate enterprise by 2007

Novell has rightly found the much needed momentum thanks to its focus on open source. More Redhat bungles more they stand to gain:

Citing IDC research that projects during the next few years that Linux will grow at the server level by 25pc and at the desktop level by 40pc, Messman said that today’s companies believe that they need to deploy Linux if they want to stay competitive, save money and optimise production.

Messman also quoted a chief information officer (CIO) magazine survey that reveled that 53pc of all CIOs stated that open source would be their dominant technology by 2007.

Thats the world we are preparing ourselves for. World in which  open source becomes the first vendor of choice.  Thats when you will see next major inflexion point in the IT world. It's coming and it's already there in some places (remember that quote - the future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed !)

March 22, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 21, 2005

Why having common enemies help make new friends !

Larry Pressler, a long time advocate of India's interest is urging US to do cold-war reality check:

Freeing ourselves from our profitless Pakistan policy would allow us to look clearly at the biggest problem in the region: China. We should tell Beijing that we will help India match China's arms buildup and that we will work toward a modified free-trade agreement with India to help it offset China's state-dominated trade practices

This arms buildup talk scares me.

March 21, 2005 in Random Thoughts | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Fair use ?

What's up with this.

If you want to include this posting in your blog:

Copy and paste this formatted text:

I thought the whole idea was to let readers decide what to pick and quote. This sounds so retro.

I need to understand how the mainstream media is revising their policies around "fair use" in this new world of bloggers.

March 21, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 20, 2005

Flickr does wohooo

Yahoo goes through Flickrization.  Congrats to the wonderful Flickr team.

I really love their appproach.

Just study Flickr to understand why Google doesn't get user-driven content and the whole culture around it.

March 20, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dont take this lightly

Dont take this lightly. This will raise many new interesting issues.

Greasemonkey can very well throw monkey wrench in many successful business models out there. At the same time this can do really wicked stuff. Specially for those folks who click on running monkey banner ads hoping to get free ipods !

March 20, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 17, 2005

Ads are killing browsing experience

Has anyone noticed how Google Adsense/Adwords combo is destroying the average Joe's browsing experience.  Connect the dots -

Build a blog
Sign-up Google adsense
Cram all your feed content in your blog
Hire SEO to optimize your site for better indexing
Search Google and there you get only blogs on the first page

Now I have been part of this easy hack, but I think now things are getting way out of control . I mentioned about this in the context of news, but very soon this problem will be all over the place. Once Yahoo Ad service and Microsoft AdCenter comes out then all we are going to see is this.

Its not the just the experience which is getting confusing.  Method of delivering these services is also getting scarier -

AdCenter uses information from customers who registered for services such as Hotmail or who tailored the MSN home page to their interests. It supplements that with data purchased from the Experian credit bureau.

As long as we have people funding these keyword driven ideas, there will be companies corrupting our experiences and companies improving our experiences. I guess we need both sides in order to have proper balance.

March 17, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 16, 2005

Startup opportunities in China/India

I have seen Gary Reischel speak couple of times in Comergent sales meetings. He is a straight shooter. 

I am on the record as saying that the next ten years are going to offer venture capitalists an unparalleled opportunity through investments in China and India. It will not be a smooth ride, but the domestic venture market has not exactly been smooth during the past nine years. Rarely can you look out ten years at markets like India and China and predict with certainty massive demographic shifts, but in this case you can. The integration of technology into every part of China is occurring at an unprecedented rate. We were in Tibet in June of this year and nomads living at 12,000 feet were using solar panels to charge cell phones, televisions, and other electronics. In addition, the cellular reception in the far reaches of western China puts the I-280 corridor in Silicon Valley to shame. India has its own stories, including countrywide hotlines for kids in trouble, services that do not exist at the same scale in the United States or Europe today.

There will be many mistakes made in China and India. The canny investors will be looking for deals where the market need is reasonably well defined. The very early stage investments will have to be carefully vetted, since the governance issues on deals in China and India are legendary

He gets this China and India things very well. Though lot of his peers are in a state of denial.

March 16, 2005 in Silicon Valley | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 15, 2005

Curse of commodity computing

I love Jonathan Schwartz's blog for its direct, persuasive and provocative content. I wish more big company execs speak out their mind the way he does. In the latest post he articulates this nice pitch for the Sun hardware offerings (well actually it's a  pitch for their  Grid offering !).  Its a very compelling vision. What was more interesting in the post was this section -

What happens to software licensing in a virtualized world? What's a CPU in a per-CPU license when the system you're running has 32 independent threads? An anachronism in my book. Can you imagine if MLB.com charged by the CPU? That's why all software from Sun, from the OS to the middleware, will be priced by the "socket" or employee. We believe the rest of the industry should move in the same direction.

This is interesting for several reasons. This is where proprietary software vendors will need to seriously look at their software licensing strategy.

New model gains as much from its own merit as much from the screw-ups of older models.  Open source components and most importantly VC-backed open source services startups are just building the critical marketing momentum.  They will (and they should) emphasize this point for the migration. I do and I am sure other open source services startups must be doing as well. 

(emphasis on VC-backed to highlight their dry powder reserve - useful resource when you are penetrating established market).

I think this strategy alone will cause more separation between Oracle (master of per-cpu pricing) and Sun.  Sun dropped few hints of going into the database market itself. Jonathan's post reiterates that buzz -


That's why all software from Sun, from the OS to the middleware, will be priced by the "socket" or employee. We believe the rest of the industry should move in the same direction

The curse of commodity is hurting everybody. Forcing Sun to go grid way and forcing Oracle to buy as many app vendors as they can.  One of these days Sun will start offering Postgres distribution ?

March 15, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack