Category: WebNu

Workplace Change Agents.

Cool Workspace

Workplace Change Agents is a dedicated team of workplace interior designers and change managers who create the perfect working environment for enterprises and startups that reflect the (desired) corporate culture of the company. They do this by entering the firm for a three-six months analysis period and recommend both improvements in the structure, processes and people needed to be more effective and productive using all the current (and state-of-the-art) technologies and best practices. They don’t just deliver, they participate and make things better in close collaboration with the people and always in respect with the current context.

(Google) Talking Thoughts

Thoughts to action.

Dunno whether Google is the right organisation for this idea but they’re certainly crazy enough to create it and put it in some kind of alpha experiment.

Talking Thoughts is an idea in which everything you say out loud gets recorded so you can make plans, resumés, to do lists, meeting minutes, appointments,… anytime, anywhere, on the go and on purpose, via voice commands (start now, last ten minutes,…). It can be build as an extension of current technologies such as google glass or the smartwatch, or it can be launched as a stand-alone connected device (pin, badge) that seamlessly works with a web service accessible via mobile and desktop.

The goal of Talking Thoughts is to facilitate thoughts into concrete actions by simply expressing them.


Free wifi from tombstone

What happens with your digital self after you die? It’s a very valid question. I have thousands of online services I use(d once) and I have no idea what will happen with those after I die. Therefor an idea that will solve that.

iWILLvault’s goal is to provide a safe haven for your will, all your online identities, services and passwords. In your will, you can state what needs to happen with this after you die. The service needs to be accessed periodically to remain active until the people you assigned your iWILLvault open will receive a message from you in heaven and can read what to do with everything when you’re dead.

An obvious partnership with lastpass or 1password can enlarge the potential of the iWILLvault service. There is a very small fee per month to keep on using the iWILLvault service.

E-commerce window stores.

W-commerce window stores

This idea is a very viable one. The business model is to invest in brick shops in both main shopping streets and upcoming districts and fill them with goods from e-commerce stores. The goal is to create a physical presence for small-knows e-shops, create exchange points to touch, feel and see goods. Online a portal site with these trusted e-shops will be made. It increases the trust in buying online due to the trusted certificate online and physical presence offline.

The money comes from monthly fees these e-shops pay to have a presence on the portal and in these brick and mortar shops. I actually thought about it when I was thinking about the pivoting options for ZOYOKO. But the upfront investment is way too big for me.

Improving the sustainable lifecycle: Label & Certification.

Improving Sustainable Lifecycle Label & Certification

I am following a workshop series in how lifecycle thinking can be applied and this philosophy not only takes into account capitalist arguments but also sustainability as a whole. It you think about they end-to-end process of any service or product, you will be able to apply improvements along the way if you not only look at your part in the lifecycle but work together with suppliers, partners and customers in making a dent for the future. It makes you think  about raw materials, energy use, use of land, impact on the environment and health, climate change, eutrophication of the ground and the toxicity of used in the progress. They try to measure impact by touching base on all these different axis. They calculate a benchmark called functional unit. A gain is not calculated by comparing individual parts of a product or process but on volume and the gain on that volume. A benchmark is not to compare for instance a PET bottle with a glass bottle, It is to compare the usage of commercial drinking water in a restaurant for instance. Context is also very important.

It’s not a new movement in thinking. It has been around for twenty years or even more. With ups and down people try to do business in a sustainable way. But now, since the rise of the ‘green’ and ‘clean’ energy industry, it became top of mind of both customers and entrepreneurs as it gives them an extra edge, a competitive advantage.
It is more a philosophy than a science, although some instances try to treat it like a science… But with all things that are measured in a philosophy, the truth of finding a benchmark number is pretty far fledged as with numbers you can proof pretty much everything and you can certainly find meaning and value. That’s what it’s all about. Emotion defines how far you run with the ideology.

One example was someone who did in coatings. Because he works with small quantities only, he loses about 50% of this powder. If he could collect that powder and reuse the same power as a raw material instead of throwing it away, he can buy less to start with, he doesn’t need to bear the cost of the waste, … Although the cost is too low today to recycle, it made him think. If he applies a solution for it in which he recuperated 95% of the powder, and took his time frame broader than 1 year, this isn’t such a crazy idea to apply. He would definitely win most on raw materials, but also on the part that comes from the waste business and has an impact on our environment, etc.

Therefore, my idea today is to create an international sustainability label and certification. One in which companies should show that a percentage of their business revenue and/or profit is used to analyse, evaluate and make modifications to the lifecycle of the product or service they are involved in.
This certification could have different levels in which investing in the knowledge (set benchmark) gets you the lowest level of certification, a percentage of the budget spent on improving the benchmark gets you to the second level of certification. A third, and highest level, of certification can be acquired if you actively improve the lifecycle 360 degrees, meaning you don’t only look at your own impact but on the lifecycle as a whole.

The business model for something like this? The label needs to be renewed yearly, certifications should be renewed yearly, a ‘certified partner’ membership network could be created, …

There is no competition in this market yet. So the first who runs with this idea, wins the market.

Ailurl, give e-mail wings.

ailurl - give email wings.

Ailurl solves e-mail clutter. Ailurl is a technique in that indexes e-mail and creates a unique ailurl per e-mail that you can use to refer to. It can be used privately and publicly. You can use an ailurl in individual mails or as public links to e-mail messages. You can bundle ailurls to labels or create custom list of ailurl’s so you can organise your conversations better.

When e-mails are send to teams, you get diffused answers. It happens so many times that one refers to another mail that was send. It just needs a better organisation. Ailurl works with piles where you can direct your messages to.  If the world would start using ailurl, we will not waste time using e-mail but make it more efficient. E-mail is not something of the past.

Open up e-mail. Go public. Give e-mail wings. Make your mailbox swing. With Ailurl, your email indexed.

The business model: Sell to Google.

Social Bargain Hunters.

shopping running

Whenever you look for something, someone else can find it cheaper, definitely. Social Bargain Hunter is a P2P market place where people can add what they want to buy, where they will buy it. Then it gets challenged by the social bargain hunters. It’s not about the right price, it’a about the best price. A social bargain hunter looks for the best (read: cheaper) deals. The difference between the original price and the found price is shared between the publisher of the loot and the hunter who has found the best deal. A percentage is kept by the platform.

This means you can start to make money by shopping. A woman’s wet dream, no? 🙂


MyByo: your biography page

the one and only was not always here. I remember; a simple webpage service where you stated your Age, Sex and Location. Oh, and you could enrich your nickname with a pic of your dog. Nothing much changed since then… 🙂

MyByo is an attempt to create a semantic bio for yourself. A wikipedia of biographies that put owners in control of their page. It’s linked to your digital ID so you can take control of what you want people to see. It will be encourages by governments and internet services that you maintain this page yourself. When people want to refer to you in a digital context, this will use this preferred link that automatically evolves as you grow older. You will have a public MyByo and a private one. You can edit and enhance your MyByo. By connecting MyByo to other services, you can choose to update it automatically. You can also set reminders every few years to update it when you’re not so active online.

MyByo guarantees you your digital biography is always up-to-date and current. If I add the TheWriteID aspect again you can use it to create variations and personas and even keep them for personal references per era.

Battery walls exchange service.

Batteries Exchange Vending Machine

With modular systems on the rise, phones and tablets will be able to use the same parts in different brands of technology. I foresee a standardisation of batteries. And my next idea anticipates it with a technology parts sharing society;

Battery walls are vending machines with charged batteries. When you enter your old, you get a ‘new’, charged one. Every battery that gets returned gets checked on optimal life expectation. If it’s below a certain threshold, it will be recycled.

The business model works on very small subscription fees & a transaction cost. It could be placed at entrances of business parks, in office buildings, on parkings next to highways, high traffic consumer places, etc…


WeddiMeddi-ring; your health file(d) on your corpse.

WeddiMeddi Ring

Wearable stuff is what it’s all about right? The WeddiMeddi is a ring with your medical data filed on. It can be read hospitals, medics, nurses, etc. Whenever something goes wrong, the healthcare personel sector does not always have the right information about patients. In case of life and death situations, it’s not wrong to have a device in which the most pertinent information can be read out instantly.

The choice for a ring? Just like a wedding ring, it’s the only thing one will always wear. For better and for worse. 🙂

Smartphone Analytics.

smartphone analytics

If you see how addicted people are to their smartphone, it’s time to do something about it. People should be more in control but in reality they are not really. It’s not that the smartphone has to go but as with alcohol, it’s best when used moderately.

The smartphone analytics app not only monitors everything you do and how much spend on your device, it tells you exactly how much time you waste on your phone watching unnecessary reminders, starting to do stuff without actually doing something, etc. With this knowledge, Smartphone Analytics offers a paying management console in which you can amend your ‘time-consuming’ settings more easily so you are waisting less and less time on your phone. It will also alert you when you’re losing unnecessary time on your phone as it happens. Search your cloud services.

Look it up

You know that feeling that you don’t know where you’ve put something? Are your pictures partly on Picasa, Dropbox and perhaps you’ve also published some on Flickr? Or that one file, is it in mailbox X, Y, Z or on Filter failure is a reality nowadays. It mostly happens when you don’t know where you have filed it. is a virtualisation layer that indexes all your (private) info and makes it discoverable via a handy personal search so you can easily find your stuff back across all the cloud services you use.

Not only does it index (not copying) your content in all these places, an extra offer is made to manage your cloud services more efficiently. Using simple ‘fall over’ principes, you can use freemium models to their full potential. Just because it’s a virtualisation layer, it can bypass certain limits in freemium services by creating new accounts or cleverly combining multiple services.

Off course is also freemium available… And soon will be bought by Google.

Can't find it? Doesn't exist

‘A children’s approach to astronomy’ Videocation.


My son is really interested in the world as a whole with a particular interest in the moon and stars. Apparently, he gave a lecture this week to his fellow scholars about the sun (who didn’t know!) and he’s only (almost) 4yo. I would love to tell him more about astronomy but although I kinda of enjoy watching skies from time to time, i have no profound interest in it to educate myself to know more about it. I just tell him what I know but I don’t think it’s enough 🙂 

If there were (children’s) video education programs on youtube, intro’s to subjects so education/learning would be something of interest so people or children could hook in when they want, whenever they feel like it, i think children would easier discover what they are really passionate about. I realise it should come from video enthusiasts now but it could be so much more if the government would record lectures around topics and themes with several difficulty levels. I loved the concept of TED and DWDD University but bundled in thematical approaches this type education is something that brings it in reach of thousands that have no education but only need a screen and internet connection.

Perhaps this is something that Arnaud Raskin and his mobile school initiative could develop?, an e-commerce fraude detection service and insurance. #oipd

e-commerce fraud

I am the owner of the feelgood brand for pregnant women that offers designer maternity wear of the highest quality from a large variety of suppliers. We use Atos Worldline and Ogone for our online payments but in all fairness, they suck bigtime for vendors because they only protect the customer. In November we had a good sale for almost 900 EUR. As the credit card was Japanese and used in Greece, we waited for shipping the goods until the amount was registered in our bank account. We shipped the same day and a couple of days later the goods were delivered at the address requested.

In december, we got the request from ATOS to provide them with proof that we authorised the fraudulent payment and requested the payment back. We acted in good faith (we have regularly expats buying) and as we pay Ogone a monthly fee of 10 EUR + 0.3% of the total revenue on top of the normal fees for fraude detection. I was really upset when they told us WE should configure the module ourselves and that it is no guarantee it will detect fraude. It can only assume there is a higher risk of fraud involved… When they told us we should contact every customer whereby the ‘lights’ are orange (>75% of the cases…) and ask them to pay by bank transfer, I felt deceived. So not only do they not take any responsibility, they just make you pay without asking or delivering a service worth the price.

From my frustration I got the following idea. A Mollom-like fraude detection service and insurance in case it goes wrong.

What’s a Mollom like service, i hear you think? Well, it uses the wisdom of the crowds not only to detect but prevent misuse of spam comments on (blog/)websites. By offering it for free to small sites, it gets the adoption it requires to grow its knowledge base. Also, it has a build-in robot detection step 2 authentication in case of doubt wherein real people can enter a captcha to proof they’re human.

So the NoMoreFraud pitch is the following;

credit bank card fraud

NoMoreFraud facilitates and guarantees payments on websites while blocking fraude. The service is in direct contact with Card Stop services around the world, it automatically blocks any payment instantly when it knows a credit or bank card is used falsely. Basically it aggregates all blocked bank and credit cards in the world instantly, so both vendors as well as customers are protected better against fraudulent use of stolen or lost cards.

The service works in close collaboration with authorities around the world to catch the thieves who (try to) use the credit card.

On top of pay per use fee (0,1% of the transaction cost), you can get extra insurance in different formulas (1 EUR per month for up to 1.000 EUR value, 10 EUR per month for up to 10.000 EUR value, …) but normally, over time this insurance should become obsolete.

Triesikstie: virtual war rooms & standup meeting rooms. #oipd

Triesikstie offers an extra service to Google Hangout and/or Skype whereby you can add a virtual room to a conference call. This virtual room can be filled with images, presentations, documents, etc that need discussion. Or these documents can be used as the input for a brainstorm or just to keep track of the daily progress in SCRUM or agile working environment. You can dress up the room and indulge your customers, partners or co-workers in an unique remote virtual collaborative (marketing) experience.

triesikstie virtual meeting room Triesikstie only costs $1 per room per day and offers unlimited user access. a bookswapping service with track and trace reviews. #oipd

bookswap pileA relationship with books as a starting point for relationships with real people. The service enables people to keep track of their personal library, say what books are available for swapping and keep track of the ones that got passed on/through. By discovering books you love (to read), meet people with mutual interests, start discussing them books and other stuff that matters to you. Enjoy the track and trace of your (favourite) books that passed through real people’s hands.

How does my book swap service works?

The book swap service works with a book valuation system and guestbook review system per book aims to become the largest reading initiative in the world.

The guestbook review system can be compared with the guestbook at the end of a exhibition or hotel visit. Every member of the bookswap service gains points which can be exchanged to get priority listing on rare books.


One idea per day. Ten in a row. #oipd

10 one ideas per day in a row
After my streak of 39 ideas on, this is small bread but nevertheless a good start. Perhaps I should get a badge or something…

Feel free to take any idea and build a business out of it. Let me know if you’re taking up something or has found people who are already doing something similar in the comments.

  1. Is it 
  2. Branded boxes for e-commerce
  3. Airbnb for freelancers and business people locations
  4. Glow in the dark pain for objects in traffic
  5., hard-to-find ingredients for chefs
  6. The call you later app
  7. The who sits next to me discovery app
  8. StartupTravelers community
  9., a stolen bike service app and community
  10. 3D printing templates community

I hope you enjoyed the ideas!

Write, Bi-atch, write!

I will let you in a dirty, little secret of mine; I always hated to write. Don’t get me wrong; I love words and the sentences they form, I love how the succession of those form books and become literature or poetry. I love journalistic pieces and opinions too. But I’ve always been a bit jealous about people who could write, people who make a point in just some well structured sentences. It’s something I can’t. At least that’s what I kept telling myself. But I think I just don’t got it right.

Writing is a process and writing should be a habit. You grow in it. Well, my new years resolution is simple. I’ll write 3 blog posts a week, starting now.

I recently blogged on the tremendously intense StartupBus Europe experience while I was on the bus and also in retrospective (in Dutch).

You will find out that this blog has a new-found focus: identity. I’ll come back on this in a separate post.

I will also try to include more personal stuff. I’ve done it this way for a couple of years via twitter and I tend to like it as such.

Hope you read me. And… Hpp Nw Yr!

Convergence in an advertising 2.0 context.








We create as many contact points with the consumer nowadays because we want to sell stuff. Contact points have one objective: lead the consumer into a buy while using the different channels in a smart way.

Channels are convergenced when they offer the next keywords to the consumer:

  • Relevance
  • Context/Situation
  • Creativity
  • Dialogue
  • Affinity

It is important to take context into account. Context can be defined as time and place. It’s not because you are using much channels that these channels are properly used. In advertising, most concepts are translated linear to the different channels while it should be done vertically per context. What you should do is maximize the advantage of each channel independently using the typical characteristics of this channel. We all know that ATL is about impact and visibility (awareness) while Mobile is at the opposite side of the marketing landscape because is personal, contextual and offers interactivity to the individual.

There are 4 kinds of convergence:

  • Convergence in time (personal, work & family time amalgamates – there is no clear difference anymore)
  • Convergence in place (ubiquitous connectivity – we are connected everywhere)
  • Social convergence (we are social beings and always available)
  • Commercial convergence (client relations and commercial transactions are part of our lives)

In the WebNu, we don’t push communication but try to start a conversation. We communicate whenever it’s opportune for the individual. The consumer needs to have the feeling that he’s in control and he chooses whether he wants to interact or not.
As the mobile phone is the ultimate medium because we are naturally addicted to this medium, context is becoming more and more relevant in advertising. Context defines your content.

It is vital to understand that brand communications should be coherent. The different channels reinforce each other. The content should be adapted to each specific channel. It is crucial! This seems logical and easy but in fact, in a convergence world, it isn’t. The boundaries of channel, media and content are insecure. How would you describe someone who is watching TV via the internet on this cell phone?
The only way success can be achieved is when the brand works efficient and organized and proper objectives are set.

Advertising 2.0

I read an article today in a paper where the tasks of a marketeer are explained. These were the five tasks:

  • Lead generation
  • Increase client loyalty
  • Client happiness
  • Marketing accountability
  • Product & services innovation

Perhaps I am a bit ambitious but there is a solution to it. Here are some steps that respond to the tasks of a marketeer.


In the WebNu, you always have to take 5 steps:

  1. Establish your brand (be findable)
  2. Demonstrate your brand (be exiting)
  3. Challenge with your brand (create connections)
  4. Offer relevance to the customer (turn connections into relationships)
  5. Offer products & services in a relevant context (sales)

You can not expect from a customer that he stays his lifetime exclusively with your brand but your brand can have the best offer (product or service) at a certain time. If you are not connected to this customer and you don’t have a meaningful relationship with him, you can’t make that offer. Marketing’s responsibility is larger than just advertising. It should be lifecycle information management of your customer base. This insight, well used, creates opportunities for business innovation and transformation.


While saying this in the WebNu, a company needs to prepare itself and make the shift using enterprise 2.0 tools and an advertising 2.0 spirit to gain a competitive advantage. Integration of your business is crucial and should be built from a customer obsessed perspective; the empowered customer.

WebNu in Plain English (Web2.0 & Enterprise2.0)

Since quite some time, I’m a huge fan of Lee and Sachi Lefever of Common Craft Productions who uses a simple format and real-world stories to explain web 2.0 in plain English. Here is a wrap-up and must-see of their best videos (imho) that explain things you need to know about Web2.0.This is their most recent creation. A video for people who wonder why blogs are such a big deal; Blogs in Plain English.

Now we’re all reporters and producers of content, we’ll need a way to manage it all. The power of RSS readers is huge and the only way not to lose time when following all kind of online sources. It’s a must have for everyone who is online and lives like that. I’m a fan and user of Netvibes. But here’s the intro: RSS in Plain English.

Another manner to organize your online content is bookmarking. Bookmarking is useful except when you don’t classify them immediately and don’t use clear tags. For both work and pleasure fun, I use People need to know about the power of social bookmarking and how it makes web pages easy to remember, organize and share; Social Bookmarking in Plain English.

From social bookmarking to social networking now. Social Networking wins at popularity and gets more and more attention. Facebook, Myspace, Netlog, etc. are companies who enable people to make and maintain friendships. Common Craft made this video for people who wonder why social networking sites are so popular. They believe that it solves a real world problem. And I agree. So, here’s Social Networking in Plain English.

There are also some cool business networks. I use LinkedIn & Plaxo every day. And to finish this series, let’s enterprise 2.0 a bit… (awful term isn’t it J) Working together can be made much easier. Collaborating on a shared platform as on for instance wiki’s is much more efficient than you might think. Wiki web sites are easy to use, but hard to describe. Common Craft uses the practical example of planning a camping trip to explain; Wiki’s in Plain English.

A big Yéééééééh for Common Craft Productions!

The medium wás the message, WebNu is about the conversation.

I remember well. My teacher media, Erik Meganck, told me in 5th grade all about Marshal McLuhan and how his famous quote “the medium is the message” did evoke a big discussion in our classroom. He didn’t however tell us much about the “global village”, and that’s something that, even today, I regret. But one thing’s for sure; I found his lessons (among) the best I’ve ever had.

But back to the famous quote of McLuhan: “The medium is the message.”
I believe it’s not about what you are trying to communicate but how it’s communicated. His statement was made when mass communication media was just taken over by commerce. There was no conversation possible what-so-ever. The message was send to everyone in the hope someone picked it up, tried it and, in the best practices, told a friend to do also. Only messages that were very good reached a form of storytelling. Advertising evolved form information to seductive infotainment.

Times have changed. The conversation is the most important driver of web 2.0. Comments on blogs, messages on profiles in social networks, etc. have no other purpose than to share thoughts on a post, personal interests or a particular theme that the writer covers. Enterprises that spent millions at advertising should embrace this principle. They need to see their consumers as customers who co-create. Customers nowadays are empowered and could make or break your brand or product. A customer is someone who is a producer, user, participant, member & critic at the same time. Targeting a customer with even the simplest message isn’t so easy anymore. But there is a solution for this. That needs a shift in the enterprises’ mindset. Start a conversation with your (potential) customers?

A conversation can mean a lot of things but in fact, it’s dead simple: Connecting with people creates empty relationships, conversations between people creates meaningful relationships. Communities are built this way. In a commercial point-of-view, these relationships are underdeveloped, not fully exploited. Enterprises have a lot of connections but they should turn them in relations. A good conversation is not easy to create. It just happens, like all good things in life. When the quality of your message is good, it will be noticed. It will engage people to comment and help you forward with constructive criticism. Therefore offer your customers an experience. The user experience will reflect on your brand and/or products. Both positive as negative is possible. But your engagement will give you an advantage in cases of doubt.

Starting a conversation needs engagement from your part. But the conversation will soon become your legitimation of trustworthiness. It’s all about the conversation. So start today.

Do you think I’m right?

Inspirational source

Disruptive Character of Web Now explained by Steve Rubel.

It’s a must read!

Steve Rubel is a senior marketing strategist with (again) a very interesting story on his Micro Persuasion blog. He says that in the cut & past era, traffic happens elsewhere. I think he’s damn right and that we are too with our project! 🙂
All building blocks of the web nowadays (including RSS, widgets, API’s, Embedded codes, web services, …) come together in personalised start pages as for instance Netvibes. And he also believes it is potentially more disruptive than what web 2.0 was. We call it here the “Web Now”.

Dave Winer knows what Gordon Summer knew for a very long time…

Lock-in and the web, day 2

Friday, August 3, 2007 by Dave Winer.

A picture named silo.gifEvery day I dish up a number of topics, it’s never clear to me which, if any, people will find interesting. Yesterday the topic that got the flow was lock-in and Web 2.0. There were times when that topic would go over everyone’s head, but today it’s much on-topic, as people commit more and more of their creativity to a life sentence behind bars in a Web 2.0 startup’s data silo.

I drew a comparison to the explosive end of copy protection in the 1980s, but that’s just one of many examples of the endless cycle of the tech industry. It’s why we have booms and busts, it’s how we achieve growth, how we shed layers in spring, and grow new fur in fall. Lock-in, it seems, will always be with us, if only so the users can express their independence by deleting it.

The first time I saw explosive deconstruction was in the late 70s and early 80s when the personal computer rose out of the ranks of hobbyists. I came of age in a university that only had mainframes in the early-mid 70s. I graduated and got a job in the timesharing industry, where we rented out computer time on our mainframes. At the same time, in New Mexico, of all places, another direction was being explored, the idea of a fractional horsepower computer, where each person would have their own machine all to themselves. This idea had legs, big ones.

A few years later, after learning Unix in Madison, I had my own computer, a 64K black box running UCSD Pascal on top of CP/M. Then I got an Apple II, an Apple III, an IBM PC and off to the races. A boom. But the boom got extra lift from the arrogant denial of the titans of the mainframe and minicomputer eras. Had they embraced the change instead of resisting it, the boom would have been much softer. But that never happens, or so it seems. (Bill Gates swore he’d not fall victim to it, but he has, over and over.)

So when people give reasons why lock-in is forever, that’s just part of the transition. I also remember how the web got started, and how many people thought it wouldn’t work (I was one of them, btw, but not for long). This time the lock-in is not in the computer, although that’s starting to happen again (the iPhone is a great example, but it’ll be a short-lived product, I think, kind of like the Apple III or the Newton). It’s not about base-level networking or content or presentation formats, that’s been settled too (HTML and HTTP and RSS). This time the lock-in is about identity.

So if the past is a guide to the future, how will identity deconstruct?

It’s simple. A vendor will come along and they’ll store your identity but give you complete freedom to move it where ever you want when ever you want at no cost. They’ll make it easy to do so. And they’ll get rich doing it, if they want to.


“People come back to places that send them away.”

It’s the basic trust proposition of the Internet. People will only trust a service that gives them complete freedom to come and go as they please. Further, they’ll want to come back if you send them to cool places. It’s why people like Facebook today, and why they’ll be tired of it tomorrow, if it only sends you to places within the Facebook silo.

If you look back to all the booms, they’ve all had that quality of freedom for everyone to do whatever they want. It’s always that way with creativity. And you know the cycle is about to end when everything is controlled, when there are few outlets for creativity. When you wake up and sit down to work and don’t feel like doing anything. That’s when it’s time to start thinking about blowing something up.

Sting: “If you love someone, set them free.”


Nitin Karandikar – What is a search engine?

Criteria for defining a Search Engine:

1. It enhances findability of relevant web content for the user
2. It searches the entire web or a large subset thereof (this excludes publisher search engines that search only a single site or group of sites)
3. Searches are specified using a keyword, phrase or question, or using input parameters, without the need for undue navigation (I don’t consider pure directories like dmoz to be Search Engines)
4. It provides search results on demand, not periodically
5. It provides some kind of unique or special processing of its own: either in the search algorithm, or in UI improvements, or both (this excludes pure Rollyo or Google Coop-based search engine subsets)

Essential Features for the future:

Personalization (but without storing personal info )
Social Input / Wisdom-of-Crowds (which has its pitfalls )
Semantic Processing: of both, the query AND the content (will this let the Search Engine find Answers that we never knew we had?)
Parametric Input: including freshness, source and domain-specific
Rich content types: audio, video, images, news, blogs, …
UI enhancements: better visualization of results
Findability support: notifications of interest, a database of intentions
Follow-up: results clustering and drill-down
Repeat queries (as Greg Linden points out )
Trusted sources: e.g. a slider to select the level of trust, from high to low


A little behind but back with a lot of stuff !!

Due to some work on my roof last week, I didn’t have much time to follow up my blogs. I wish I had but as it was a hell of a job, I didn’t. So here’s some very interesting stuff from the Dion Hinchcliffe’s Web 2.0 Blog. He always has interesting viewd on things. In brief:

  • The Essentials of Leveraging Web 2.0
    What should be your strategy when creating open websites & platforms?
  • Strategies for Making the Most from web 2.0
    How do you market your product in the folksonomy?
  • Revenue Implications for Web 2.0 Principles
    The up and downsides of 7 principles (which are not meant to be exhaustive) 🙂
  • Seven Ways to Explicity Trigger Network Effects
    How do you trigger a network effect?

The Essentials of Leveraging Web 2.0

  • Ease of Use is the most important feature of any Web site, Web application, or program.
  • Open up your data as much possible. There is no future in hoarding data, only controlling it.
  • Aggressively add feedback loops to everything. Pull out the loops that don’t seem to matter and emphasize the ones that give results.
  • Continuous release cycles. The bigger the release, the more unwieldy it becomes (more dependencies, more planning, more disruption.) Organic growth is the most powerful, adaptive, and resilient.
  • Make your users part of your software. They are your most valuable source of content, feedback, and passion. Start understanding social architecture. Give up non-essential control. Or your users will likely go elsewhere.
  • Turn your applications into platforms. An application usually has a single predetermined use while a platform is designed to be the foundation of something much bigger. Instead of getting a single type of use from your software and data, you might get hundreds or even thousands of additional uses.
  • Don’t create social communities just to have them. They aren’t a checklist item. But do empower inspired users to create them.

Strategies for Creating Open Web Sites and PlatformsAs culled from Web 2.0 Summit discussions and other known best practices…

  1. Liberate content and services via a public, open API. Content will continue to be separated from the experiences that mediate access to it, this makes adaptable experiences possible. Example: RSS readers let users consume content in the ways they choose and have control over. Doing this turns your Web application into a platform and is one of the most important habits of highly effective Web sites .
  2. Syndicate as well as use Web services to open up data. Each method has clear strengths such as discoverability, ease of consumption, or on-demand control. Example: This means RSS or Atom as well as REST or SOAP.
  3. Make it legal to reuse content. Don’t charge if you can help it, consider monetizing it via advertising, transaction fees, or subscriptions. Don’t cripple unintended uses, such as Yahoo!’s limits on their APIs, vs. Amazon’s profitable emphasis on unlimited use.
  4. Diligently build trust and credibility. No one will use your open data or services unless there is trust and credibility in the site. This is very hard to establish and is easily lost. This is one of the hardest intangibles of openness to manage.
  5. Expect the unexpected. Opening up a site means that others will dream of ways of using your data and services in ways you couldn’t imagine. Often this means they’ll use it as a free resource to achieve something that wasn’t possible before in terms of scale or volume. Be prepared for extreme situations and be sure to monitor your feeds and open services and be prepared to throttle them for mailicous or inadvertant waste.

Strategies for Making the Most from Web 2.0

There are direct (the 3 items above) and numerous indirect ways to monetize Web 2.0 that often go unappreciated

Some of the indirect ways which lead to revenue growth, user growth, and increased resistance to competition — which in turn lead to increased subscriptions, advertising, and commission revenue — are:

  • Strategic Acquisition: Identifying and acquiring Web 2.0 companies on the exponential growth curve before the rest of the market realizes what it’s worth (early exploitation of someone else’s network effects.)
  • Maintaining control of hard to recreate data sources. This is basically turning walled gardens into fenced gardens: Let users access everything, but not let them keep it, such as Google providing access to their search index only over the Web.
  • Building Attention Trust – By being patently fair with customer data and leveraging user’s loyalty, you can get them to share more information about themselves that in turns leads to much better products and services tailored to them.
  • Turning Applications into Platforms: One single use of an application is simply a waste of software. Turn applications into platforms and get 5, 50, or 5,000 additional uses (Amazon has over 50,000 users of its line of business APIs) for example. Online platforms are actually very easy to monetize but having compelling content or services first is a prerequisite.
  • Fully Automated Online Customer Self-Service: Let users get what they want, when they want it, without help. Seems easy but almost all companies have people in the loop to manage the edge-cases. Unfortunately, edge cases represent the The Long Tail of customer service. This is hard but in the end provides goods and services with much tighter feedback loops. And it’s also a mandatory prerequisite for cost effectively serving mass micromarkets. In other words, you can’t directly monetize The Long Tail without this.

Lying directly in the primary tenets of Web 2.0 however, are a series of two-edged issues from a revenue perspective. Though the concepts and ideas are powerful when applied appropriately, they can also pose significant short-term and long-term challenges. Below are the basic principles of Web 2.0 along with the positive and negative revenue implications for most companies on the Web today, even ones that aren’t fully embracing it yet.

Revenue Implications for Web 2.0 Principles (not meant to be exhaustive)

  • Principle 1: Web as Platform
    • Upside: Revenue scalability (1 billion users on the Web), rapid growth potential and reach through exploitation of network effects
    • Downside: Competition is only a URL away, often requiring significant investment in differentiation
  • Principle 2: Software Above a Single Device
    • Upside: More opportunities to deliver products and services to users in more situations
    • Downside: Upfront costs, more infrastructure, more development/testing/support (costs) to deliver products across multiple devices
  • Principle 3: Data is the Next “Intel Inside”
    • Upside: Customer loyalty and even lock-in
    • Downside: Lack of competitive pressure leading to complacency, long-term potential antitrust issues
  • Principle 4: Lightweight Programming & Business Models
  • Principle 5: Rich User Experiences
    • Upside: More productive and satisfied users, competitive advantage
    • Downside: Higher cost of development, potentially lower new user discoverability and adoption
  • Principle 6: Harnessing Collective Intelligence
    • Upside: Much lower costs of production, higher rate of innovation, dramatically larger overall content output
    • Downside: Lower level of direct control, governance issues (increased dependence on user base), content management issues, and legal exposure over IP
  • Principle 7: Leveraging The Long Tail
    • Upside: Cost-effectively reach thousands of small, previously unprofitable market segments resulting in overall customer growth
    • Downside: Upfront investment costs can be very significant, managing costs of customer service long-term

Seven Ways to Explicitly Trigger Network Effects

  • Network Enable Your Application. This might seem obvious but it’s a critical prerequisite and has more than the surface potential for creating interesting new applications outside of pure Web plays. For example, a Web 2.0 application does NOT have to be Web-based, but should be able to at least connect to the Internet. iTunes is an excellent example of Web 2.0 outside of the browser, but even mobile phones and text messages, made better ala TWTTR, shows the potential to think outside the box when it comes to thinking about a network.
  • Enable Data Sharing and Data Defaults. A big part of harnessing collective intelligence via Web 2.0 techniques is by making the experiences of tertiary users in a given situation easier and smarter. By this I mean when a user does something using the Web 2.0 application, that information should contextually improve that situation for the next user that comes along. I often cite as a great example of leveraging the work that the Web users that came immediately before you are making your upcoming experience that much better (less searching for new and relevant content.) More specifically this could mean expert guidance in completing online forms, improving shopping recommendations, collaborative spam filtering, and much more. Capturing information from your users and making it available to others (without violating privacy of course) is a key “plank” of Web 2.0.
  • Linkify Everything In Your Web 2.0 App. And I mean everything. The hyperlink is one of the most powerful mechanisms existing for triggering network effects. It’s how users show up to your site in the first place and everything else thereafter. A hyperlink structure must be how the information on your site is organized, shared, bookmarked, e-mail, IM’d, etc. Granular URLs are the key here. A site should have a URL structure that has clear axes for its URL segments (the things between the slashes in a link) to navigate through a user’s information, the shared folksonomy etc. Something like site/user/tags/xxxx is a classic example but there should be many interesting (and user-defined) paths to get to the same information. Once available via links, the knowledge of the page, data, or minicommunity to which the link navigates can propagate with amazing — even alarming — speed. And propagation over the network is the name of the game when it comes to network effects. If that link contains something people want to share, they will e-mail the link to a group of friends, who will IM it to more friends, who will put the links in their blogs, and so on. Pretty soon everyone is involved and you’re buying bandwidth upgrades in bulk quantities. The Message: Consistently think in and design in hyperlinks.
  • Syndicate Your Content: It’s unclear in my mind how powerful this truly is, but the blogosphere is proof that it can be quite potent. Furthermore, it greatly increases the discoverability of whatever content is on your site. You should support RSS at least, but probably Atom as well. Other people have written more authoritatively about this than I do here but it’s an important checklist item.
  • Turn Your Application Into a Platform: Encouraging unintended uses by others is practically de rigueur now and every good Web 2.0 site seems to have an open Web API these days. But what’s important it in this context is that it leverages network effects on an entirely new meta level. Not only is your site using its own traffic to generate more traffic and create more connections on the network/between people, but so are tens or even hundreds of other sites. They can use your API to add your site’s content and functionality to theirs (and hence their feedback ecosystem to yours). And they might leverage network effects a whole lot better than you for a variety of reasons (better design, more funding, cooler crowd, what have you.) Warning: Make sure your APIs are designed to leverage your social architecture or you might not get the desired result, just parasitic use.
  • Open Up Inside Your Site: Like MySpace allowed for a while with YouTube, let others host content, Javascript badges, widgets, feeds, or what-have-you on your site in the areas that belong to your users. Not only does this have the useful side effect of instilling a sense of creation and ownership in your users, but it allows you to leverage the network effects of other sites. This makes the content on your site aggregate the best content of other sites creating second order effects that can make your site cumulatively more valuable by building synergy, a new-agey but accurate term that means that the sum is greater than the parts.
  • Build a Viral Social Architecture. Sounds fancy and difficult but it’s mostly not. At its most basic, you just make sure that it’s extremely easy for users to invite their friends, family, and colleagues to visit the site. Example: The end of each YouTube video lets you share it with others via e-mail. There’s a lot more to this however and I intend to write it about it soon, but just remember that building good social architectures of participation is one of the core techniques for those interested in serious results.

Source: Dion Hinchcliffe’s Web 2.0 Blog