Tag Archives: internet

It is perhaps, as a great leader once said, ‘The End of the Beginning’

18 Feb

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, we have reached “the end of the beginning” of the online revolution.

A recent week in Europe, including the wonderful Burda DLD Conference, followed by subsequent meetings in SF, LA and NY provides an intriguing glimpse of what comes next:

To me, the omnipresence of broadband in the developed world, coupled with ubiquity of mobile computing (over smartphones, iPads or other portable devices), a generational shift towards e-engagement and the growing power of massive data in the “cloud” are changing every business assumption in the media, telecom and internet economy. These powerful forces are all coming together to create conditions for a huge new wave of innovation that will forever disrupt the information, entertainment, communications and technology economy.

While challenging to navigate, this is an unprecedented opportunity for better products for consumers. There should also be very interesting new business models. And finally, all this should mean intriguing opportunities for investors.

A couple of focus areas – for me:

1.Platforms: The next generation of technology is now being developed that enables media companies to mesh diverse programming assets (video, social media, commerce and communications) into radically new engaging products (For shorthand, think ‘Avatar’ Meets ‘Bloomberg’). Also, technologies will also enable the same media owners to distribute these valuable new programming assets over the bundle of distribution channels (broadband internet, wireless, television and telecom). More on this to come.

2.In the Enterprise and Professional Media sectors, a new generation of opportunities is arriving as the social and real-time web (Twitter, Facebook) meet the Enterprise. This will revolutionize marketing, advertising, and much of the content business. It will also lead to business process reengineering in sectors ranging from content creation and product development to procurement and HR and Training/Talent Development Retention. Mark Benioff’s SalesForce Chatter which went private beta yesterday is a timely example.

3.Business model opportunities: Mobile and Location-specific targeting and monetization. Think lead generation and couponing with increased effectiveness at the point of purchase.

4.Product-Line Opportunities: Hyper-Verticalized Initiatives. Both hyper-local (geographic) and hyper-targeted (Demographic/Psychographic).

It is somewhat early days with all of these themes. But my prediction is they – and others – will keep us all busy for some time to come.

PS: Let’s all watch with great interest as the US FCC unveils the results of its multi-quarter analysis of the broadband opportunity in America. That, too, will surely have some interesting after-effects.


Evolution -> Revolution

8 Jan

In our global online journey, there are occasional epiphany moments: incidents that make you realize how much technology is changing our civilization.

One comes for me today: I am flying transcontinentally at 36,000 feet today, on an airliner with free wifi. My Mac is running SlingPlayer, which allows me to watch my home television over the internet.

I am live-blogging about watching the College Football Championship Game live, in real-time, as I make my way across the country. I am IM’ing about the game with pals; I am getting real-time game update and stats from various websites, and absorbing a great deal of social media from a variety of great websites. I have a virtual newsroom operating at Seat 3D.

A contrast: This month 19 years ago I was in the Mideast covering the Persian Gulf War. I had a TRS-80, (a Tandy machine that was virtually indestructable and which we affectionately called a ‘Trash 80’). I used an accoustic coupler — earmuffs that attached to a landline phone handset that frequently didn’t work. When it malfunctioned, I used my Swiss Army knife to unscrew the hotel phonejack faceplate. I stripped the wires of the twisted pair and ran a phone line tester to check which was red and green, then I attached alligator clips to the copper wire landline to file my copy at the breathtaking rate of….wait for this…300 Baud…..AND I FELT LIKE A PIONEER IN THE WORLD OF TOMORROW!

In the subsequent decades, there have been other epiphany moments. And much of the change of technology continues to evolve, rather than change things overnight. I have learned profound change does take time.

That said, tonight’s epiphany moment to me feels equal to a Town Crier seeing the first electronic stock ticker in the late 19th Century, or the linotype operators of the 1930s seeing WYSIWYG electronic publishing of the 1980s.

It is breath-taking, and so I chose to take a moment here at 6 miles above the surface of the earth, to watch Alabama face Texas and to say:

What Hath God Wrought, Indeed…