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Tim Peter Thinks

Tim Peter

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January 26, 2006

Ready for an upgrade?

January 26, 2006 | By | No Comments

Anne 2.0 said some nice things about me the other day, so I thought I’d give her some props, too. She’s definitely one of the more refreshing reads on the web right now, so you should check out what she’s got to say.

Anyway, TechCrunch (“Tracking Web 2.0”) provides a critique of a new Ajax homepage. Richard McManus has a piece about Microsoft’s Live.com. James Governor has a particularly insightful piece about how Web 2.0-type services could lead to all new legal battles (“Litigation 2.0?”). Assuming the old joke about MS applies and that we don’t get it right until version 3.0, what’s Web 3.0 going to offer? Is it Ajax-like interfaces on your phone or truly desktop-like experiences on the Web? No offense meant to those folks who are making that happen more and more today. But let’s face it, what does Web 2.0 offer yet. Web 2.0 still lacks its killer app. There are some folks (del.icio.us, Flickr, Google, etc.) who have moved the needle. There are bunches more of us out here whispering into the din. Clearly, one advantage of Web 2.0 is it gives an increasing number of us “quiet voices” the opportunity to attract a handful of listeners via aggregation and distribution. We all know spreadsheets provided the killer app for computers themselves and email provided the killer app for the Internet. Will 2.0 ever get its killer app, or will the killer app be the start of Web 3.0?

Tim Peter

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January 24, 2006

Search for “uncle” on Google, and Yahoo shows up…

January 24, 2006 | By | No Comments

So here’s something you don’t see every day: a company conceding its market space to the competition. My favorite comment: “To boost revenue from each search, Yahoo! plans to make ads more relevant to search terms, meaning people will be more likely to click on them. Advertisers pay Yahoo! a fee when Internet users click on the ads.” What? Umm… won’t their ads be, you know, irrelevant (at least from a marketer’s standpoint) once folks stop using Yahoo! to conduct search?

Two fairly smart folks, Anne Zelenka of Anne 2.0 and Steve Rubel of Micro Persuasion, took opposite viewpoints on this one; Anne says it’s all good, while Steve basically loses his mind and says, “Screw ’em.” As compelling as Anne’s argument is, I have a tough time agreeing with her overall. I think she’s right, in that companies can thrive in a knowledge economy by staking out its territory along the fringe (which vaguely echoes the old Reis and Trout positioning mantra, too). Additionally, I think she’s taking a look at the broader picture and looking for alternative forms of success. Admirable, though I’m not fully convinced that that’s the right way to go on this one.

Steve’s probably gone around the bend on the other side, but I think he’s closer to the fact on this. Except for one thing. To his comment, “I have no interest in using a product that the company doesn’t aspire to make best of breed,” I ask one question: what kind of cell phone do you have? ‘Cause pretty much all of them in this country are pretty lousy. Anyway, I do think that Yahoo! is taking an odd approach on this one and is going to hurt themselves in the short term. It does make me wonder what they’re up to in the longer term. And, drawing on Anne’s advice one more time, it might be worth some deeper, more reflective thought.

Tim Peter

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January 24, 2006

And now a word from the Buddha…

January 24, 2006 | By | No Comments

So, I’ve recently started reading Anne 2.0, Anne Zelenka’s personal blog, and certainly one of the most distinctive voices I’ve run across in analysis of the technology and web world. Anne does a really amazing job of integrating her life into her writing without coming across as some kind of self-absorbed, navel-obsessed wonk. A model more bloggers could follow.

Regardless, Anne posts a fascinating little bit that references an older post by Clay Shirky from 2005. If that weren’t enough, the thing that makes it more fascinating is her emphasis on the value of this older material, noting “People have been saying smart things for millenia.” She even manages to cite the Buddha, which doesn’t hurt her point. I think you can add one more thing to that millenia-long list of “smart things”. Hers.

Now, we’ve all been taught for the last handful of years that “first mover” opportunity is too important to pass up. Of course, I think we’ve learned that it’s really less about who gets there first, but who gets there best. In Sergio Zyman’s book “Renovate Before You Innovate”, the author discusses how marketers can turn the old into the successful, even capturing a new audience. I think the lesson that each of these folks offers is simple. Try not to reinvent the wheel.

Tim Peter

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January 24, 2006

Either I’m the guy from “A Beautiful Mind” or there’s a trend going on here…

January 24, 2006 | By | No Comments

The New York Times has an article about recommendation engines, while BusinessWeek is writing about Yahoo’s acquisition spree. The interesting meme in each of these is the strong support for services that use humans to build the index (which Yahoo! has always done), as opposed to software (the Google way). It seems Yahoo! is betting the farm on their vision of content, where the user community itself decides what works best. I think they’re onto something here. Stay tuned.

Tim Peter

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January 23, 2006

When you’re ready to start that next company of yours…

January 23, 2006 | By | No Comments

This is a pretty useful read. Very enjoyable, and very useful.

Tim Peter

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January 23, 2006

I’ve hit the big time!

January 23, 2006 | By | No Comments

OK, not really, but the New York Times has an article in yesterday’s online edition called “This time, the revolution will be televised,” that reads an awful lot like my “The future (will|will not) be televised” post from last month. If I were paranoid or egotistical, I might think that the Times was ripping me off. Good thing I’m neither of those.

Tim Peter

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January 8, 2006

Howard Stern is the future of media. God help us…

January 8, 2006 | By | No Comments

Good article on the Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram today about satellite radio and its broader implications for radio in general. They do a pretty solid job of explaining the rules of engagement here as media struggles with consumers’ increasing variety of choice in how they consume content. One notable absence in the article is its avoidance of print media’s struggles with the Internet as a source of information, which fundamentally is the same issue described with regard to satellite/cable vs. broadcast media. The most interesting comment came from NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton, who “…points out that ‘localism’ — giving listeners news, weather and sports that relates to their community — remains the province of broadcast radio. ‘That’s our franchise and ours alone,’ he says.” I know of some bloggers who might disagree. As they say on radio… stay tuned.

Tim Peter

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January 6, 2006

Google will sell video online

January 6, 2006 | By | No Comments

According to Digg, “Tomorrow, Friday Jan 6, Google Inc. will announce that it will let consumers buy video over the Internet from CBS, the NBA and other providers, becoming the latest company to explore the new method of distributing TV content.” What no one seems to get is that we’ve already had the first hit television program on the ‘net. The problem is that no one thinks to identify it as a tv show. Remember JibJab? The big question is when we’ll have the first hit online series.

read more | digg story

Tim Peter

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January 1, 2006

Happy New Year, everyone

January 1, 2006 | By | No Comments

Hi, all. I hope 2006 is everything you need it to be. All the best!

Tim Peter

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December 31, 2005

The best of 2005…

December 31, 2005 | By | No Comments

Inspired by Michael Arrington over at Techcrunch, (which is really my polite way of saying I totally ripped off his idea), I thought I’d give a quick rundown of the sites and services that I started using extensively in the last year, and would rather not live without. I decided to limit it to my top 5, and checked my history file just to see if anything surprising popped up. Here’s the honors list:

  1. del.icio.us — I can’t imagine how I lived prior to having this. Years ago, I wrote a Perl script to scan and merge my bookmarks files on all my computers so I could post it to my website. del.icio.us does it so much better and so much easier. It meets my ultimate requirement for software (or just about any other product): it does exactly what I’d expect it to do with almost no effort on my part.
  2. MyBlogLog — Another great feature that now replaces an old Perl script (actually since retired for a PHP version. Still, you get the point). Wonderful service, and one I highly recommend.
  3. WordPress — OK, this is one that’s only recently entered my life, but works so much better than Blogger for me. As big a fan as I am of Google as a company, they might want to take a look at what the Open Source crowd is offering these days.
  4. tech.memeorandum — Tells me what I want to know, when I need to know it. It’s replaced Cnet, Engadget, Gizmodo, and Google News’ tech page as the first thing I check. Beat out Digg, which I also like a whole bunch, by a whisker to gain this spot.
  5. LinkedIn — I’m becoming more reliant on LinkedIn all the time. It keeps me connected to any number of people, and has helped me locate others I didn’t know I needed to know. Technology is only one part of the job; people is the other, larger part. Technology that helps me manage the people part more effectively makes my life much simpler. I know it’s not as sexy as MySpace in the whole social software realm, but it works for the world I live in so very, very well. I’ve actually been using LinkedIn for more than a year, but as with all network effect kinds of things, it’s taken some time to achieve critical mass in my world.
  6. The nice thing about writing this post is that I get to make the rules for it. So I’m sneaking in a couple of “honorable mentions,” which are the sites I use a lot, but aren’t necessarily new to me (or, frankly, almost anyone else). Without further ado, I’ve got to give props to both Google and Yahoo, both of which manage to innovate (or acquire innovators and integrate them) succesfully. Google Maps, Flickr (which Yahoo bought), Pixoria (the Konfabulator people, which Yahoo bought), del.icio.us (which Yahoo bought… I’m seeing a trend here), etc., continue to provide useful tools that increasingly shape how I get things done.

    2006 ought to be fun…