Saturday, October 13, 2007

What Ted Dziuba thinks about Web 2.0

Ted Dziuba, the 23 year old blogger who runs, a site which stands for everything Techcrunch doesn’t and whose tagline is that timeless gem "What. The. Fuck.", says it as he feels, about web 2.0 and where it is headed.

In Brief, Ted’s party line is:
“a lot of people are going to be disappointed with Web 2.0”.

Most of the losers are going to be people playing with other people’s money.
Entrepreneurs with copycat offerings and VCs who can't keep up with the changes happening on the web but must make investments to justify their inflated salaries.

In any given Techno-Economic Business Cycle, this is normal but where I think Ted is more right than anything else is the role certain bloggers/new media moghuls are playing in this overly long Spring Break in the Valley, web 2.0 style.

Ted Says,
…(people go to parties) just to suck up to Arrington and say, "Hey come look at my startup. Please plug me." For these guys TechCrunch is going to make or break the company. If you look at a company's traffic graph on Alexa when it hits TechCrunch, there's a huge spike that day and then a month later it's down to almost nothing.

There’s more,
The whole scene is like a little league game where everyone's a winner and everyone gets a trophy at the end. You've got people like Michael Arrington and Robert Scoble who are the coaches of the team and handing out the trophies, and then Uncov is like the creepy guy in the trench coat sitting in the stands.

The pied pipers are the only ones making any money out of it.

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What is design?

Clay Shirky has written an elegant article on design, drawing upon the struggle between users who want more control and designers who often want to dictate how things should work.

Clay includes the often discussed examples of Myspace (ugly but usable), iPod (elegance, which I think is marred by Apple’s insistence of fusing the battery)

Is Design Arrogance?
“I know what you want better than you. Here it is.”

Is Design Humility?
Or, Is Design Problem Solving? (e.g. Google)

Apple might be making the shiniest thingy but its designers have a two decade track record of thrusting their own whims down customers’ throats. The recent brouhaha over the iPhone and locking issues is a good case in point.

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Not everyone plays the media game

Doris Lessing, the 88 year old celebrated author, having won almost all other awards and long been in the running for the Nobel prize is 2007 Nobel prize winner for literature and as someone who championed feminist ideals long before it came into fashion, was characteristically quiet about the it all:

Oh Christ! ... I couldn't care less.

In these times, when even the winner of a reality shows for second rate celebrities is hailed as a hero and when politicians think image before performance, it is refreshing to see real achievers not getting caught up in the act.

Doris Lessing also added that that the Nobel Prize prize "doesn't mean anything artistically."

But, the media will be, well…media.

When Amartrya Sen won the Nobel Prize for Economics and an Indian journalist asked him did he feel proud as an Indian to have won something so big, the great man was pretty annoyed about this Nationalistic spin to things.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Sign of times: young people protest RIAA, not war

In a New York Times story about students protesting the pudgy and heavy hands of the music industry, a student explains why young people aren’t rallying more around the Iraq war, leaving that to grieving parents,

…If there were a draft, we probably would be. Students are so quick to fight for this cause because we're the ones bearing the burden.

Like the Valleywag, I am not sure about the burdens faced by students, notwithstanding the crippling college loans.

Out here in India, in New Delhi, students will protest, burn buses if the absurdly low rates of bus pass are raised, willing to spend more than what a monthly pass costs on the new movie or in the canteens.

Are young people prisoners of their own vices and distractions?
I know I was. Once.

Aren’t we all getting to sucked into an economy and culture, media included, that panders more to the youth than any other demographic?

In an age when Madonna can get $20 million for shows if when she will be 60 years old, nothing is too absurd and burden is a song young people don’t have to listen till…

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

What Google CAN buy

Google share prices crossed the $600 a-share mark yesterday, which takes its market capitalization to about &188 billion, give or take a few hundred millions.

How long will this price growth sustain? We don’t know.
Can Google share prices reach the predicted $2000? We don’t know.
Can Google find more means of making money and not get stuck with a one-trick pony assessment?
And does it matter that Google is a one-trick pony?

Looking at reports of ad-supported mobiles coming soon to a wider user base, we can’t say for sure there is any harm in betting on advertising.

There have been a huge one-trick pony called Microsoft in the the PC/Windows/Office world before.

Om Malik has listed some companies whose combined market capitalization is less if not equal to Google’s market capitalization:

The New York Times Co. (NYT) ($2.86 billion),
Reuters (RTRSY) ($16.5 billion),
CBS (CBS) ($23 billion),
Viacom (VIA) ($28 billion),
News Corp. (NWS.A), ($71.5 billion) and
Yahoo (YHOO) ($35 billion)

Enough change left over for buying Facebook.

Of course, these are fanciful specimen of speculation, much like what Bill Gates’ money would buy. To buy anything that costs over $10 billion, Google might have to dilute its shares, which might evenbring the value down.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Facebook: revisiting the young vs. old debate

Regular readers of MediaVidea know what I think of the social networking site, Facebook, and will have noted the young vs. old/ students vs. businessman theme I keep visiting often.

Alice Mathias, a 2007 graduate of Dartmouth who used Facebook when it was a new site and can safely be called as one of the original Facebookers, has written about her observations in the New York Times as Facebook struggles to morph into a catch-all site, Myspace+Google+ AOL+iTunes+.....for all varieties of ages, fetishes and fancies.

Her points:
1. For young people, Facebook is just another ‘form of escapism’ (that the business types are hoping to harness in the fashion of entertainment people)

2. On Facebook’s feature creep
According to Alice, most of her friends use only one privacy settings – choosing to prevent people to see that they are currently logged in.

Not wanting to be ‘disturbed’ while they browse the ‘circus’, Alice writes that young people think that doing otherwise would make others think that they are ‘currently Bored, Lustful, Socially Unfulfilled or Generally Avoiding Real Life. ‘

Something that the older set is not worried about at all.

3. Facebook as tool to pass time over anything else
Many of my friends are prone to having ‘puffed up’ profile pages on social networking for laughs, ego-trips and assorted pleasures.

One enterprising person has even put a link to a non-existing Wikipedia writeup about himself on his profile.

Describing Facebook as a ‘backstage makeup room’, Alice says:
…entirely phony profiles were all the rage before the grown-ups signed in

Is Facebook really meant for business?
I am not sure.

Final word on Young vs. Old debate:

According to a story in the Ad Age, 'twice as many young women use Social Networking sites to keep in touch with friends, share pictures and communicate compared to young men and there are more adult men, reportedly networking, on social networking sites than adult women.'

So, What do we have here?
Lots of Older men and lots of young women.

(thanks to Valleywag for this one)

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