Sunday, November 27, 2005

Marketing Tool: Social Networking

A new mathematical theory around the issue of networks evolved by the late 90' and one interesting instance of this theory can be found in the book Linked: The New Science of Networks. The theory created a new mathematical profession that brings with it a new set of thinking that enables the development of many new implementations that could not appear before.
Networking: The term is used for describing the act of managing your contacts. 'Networking' meetings are conducted today by most high prestige universities and other marketing and non-marketing managers who understand the advantage of it. The more connections you have in your network, the more people you can potentially have business with.
Concentrators: This are the most connected people in your net. Connecting to such person will potentially bring you much more connections now and in the future.

Information sharing is some kind of social behavior. 'Sharing' means not just files, music and movies, which is illegal, but rather share your ideas, share your doing, share your knowledge and connections, etc. The basic idea of the sharing model is that the more you give to the society the more the society will be able to give you back, due to the fact that massive cooperation and acts under this mantra will lower the entry barriers for acquiring knowledge. This principal can be rationalize through the understanding of globalization, as I described in the post The World Is Flat, but we will not discuss this issue again here. However, I would like to show some application examples that are using the globalization.

Sharing and Networking complements each other. We can not make an effective share unless we have a network connection, and from the other hand, our network will not be strong enough unless we have something in common to share. The theory can goes on and on, but I would like to show some applications. The one that I liked most is LinkedIn, but there are many other social networks (Plaxo, hi5, Ask My Network, ecademy and more) out there. LinkedIn for example is a network of connections between people that enables leverage the connectivity for business by finding connection shortcuts with people through friends and friends of friends, or even find a job and locate a relative someone that you can approach through the mutual connections that you have in the linked network. Using the network for business extremely enables the transformation of "cold calls" to "worm calls". Since the linked theory is new, I expect more and more applications to rise in the near future. Another example of networking and linked implementations is the Tagging and social bookmarking phenomena. These will be dealt in a future post. Meanwhile, start to build your LinkedIn network, you'll never know what fortune it might bring you back...

Monday, November 21, 2005

Technology: Internet Based TV and Video Over IP Services

The new AT&T company (Ticker: T), that has been established through the merger between the two american telecom giants AT&T and SBC, decided to focus on TV, Cellular and computer technologies that are based on the Internet. The merged company is going to offer (based on WSJ) a TV service with more than 1000 channels within 18 months.
In a previous post I mentioned Cisco's acquisition of Scientific Atlanta to have better technologies for TV distribution over IP. This by integrating with SA's set-top-box.
So the food-chain in the TV/Cables market starting to be clear. A big provider using infrastructure from a big manufacturer will provide new services to an hungry audience.
Seems like the market for TV/Cables service is going to be wild in the following years. 1000 channels over the internet raises a challenge to the hardawre and software companies to build better PVRs. The possibilities might lead the open market to enlarge the current sharing internet services in a way that we could not have before, new ways for data and video consumption may be raised, now that we have the vehicle for such enormous capacity of information.

Globalization: GM to cut 30,000 jobs by 08'

An increase competition from Asian (mostly Japan) auto makers reduced GM's market share and cause it to loose $4.8Billion so far. Meanwhile the sales continue to drop and rumors says that the company might bankrupt. Today GM announced on a plan to cut 30,000 jobs by the end of 08', a higher number than the early expected 25,000 as reported on June this year. Most of the job cuts will be based on retirement plans and the company plans to reduce its production capacity by 1 Millions from 6 Millions vehicles today.

GM find it difficult to continue the competition with Asian auto makers. The company confronts with high health-care expenses that can not be reduced without negotiation with the United Auto Workers union. The company also intended to purchase a larger portion of components from suppliers out of the US.

Analysis: Globalization condition hits GM with little chance of the last to have the right card in hands. The healthcare contracts does not give the company the required flexibility to get ahead with its business slowdown, a situation that reduces the company's strength even more. The competitors from the other hand are not tied to any union, and side by side with producing more cars and trucks they are increasing their productivity and getting help from their governments (See:GM Says Japan Helps Its Automakers Illegally). Although we are living in an open market and raised to believe that the market forces will set the pace, I believe that the US government should not be naive and make sure that all the players in the market are playing with the same rules, otherwise, US might loose its leading position for stupidity. Worthless to say that this might be a non-reversal condition.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Technology & Strategy: Cisco acquires Scientific Atlanta

Cisco acquires Scientific Atlanta:At last a possibility for a one box that will do it all, a one-stop shop as they say. TV distribution over the internet becomes a reality. Cisco's technologies when combined together can provide a single (!) box that will manage all home networking requirements: VOIP, Internet for PCs and laptops, Video over IP (TV), remote cameras. The infrastructure combines data voice and video, to provide services for wireless tools, PVR, DVD/R, Digital Music and Video servers, and home automation.
Cisco's power in selling to carriers is now moving to a consumer electronic zone, giving new possibilities under a new platform. Media server providers, both hardware and software, (Microsoft's, D-Link, and others) should reconsider the existence of a new player that can make voice, video and data convergence a commodity

New Technologies In the Block - 1

Recent trends in web development point out for the existence of a new era in the internet, the trendy phrase that describes it is Web 2.0 and it seems that for more and more techies there is something to say about it, so why don't I?
What is Web2.0? It is many things but not a new technology, However, recent development in social behavior and advanced internet related networks enabled its development. In short - It is a new way of thinking and a development of new ways for marketing your ideas. Key factors for the change are: [1] Internet Bandwidth. [2] Social connectivity tools - the sharing approach. [3] Maturity of old methods.
In the last 5 years, rapid growth in the internet bandwidth infrastructure enabled more internet subscribers to consume better services. As a result, web-sites today are less focusing on ways to reduce data size for each HTTP hit, but rather focusing on enriching the user experience to be as much as possible close to desktop applications. Flash and more recently AJAX technologies are used to generate dynamic pages. Needless to say that DHTML was available already at the end of the 90' but not used, mostly due to traffic considerations.
The sharing approach started in the 70' with the open software foundation. Later on it was developed and one of the most known outcome is the OS competition and the distribution of Linux. Several domains in the web are responsible for helping the open source community to manage their projects, SourceForge, FreshMeat and the Open Directory Project to list a few. A social movement of developers that wanted to help each other and the world by sharing their knowledge freely emerged afterwards. They generated a more advanced form of community for the sole purpose of sharing and cataloging information by using tags.
Social Bookmarking emerged and new free services such as and Flickr started to feed the imagiation. New web methods such as Wiki and the Wikipedia continued to gain power and raised more users and subscribers in a way that started to convince even VCs that there must be a money in the Web2.0 application, otherwise I can't understand why would anyone want to invest in Web Calendars, a service that considered to be available in the old Internet days. Bill Gates himself started to talk about the future of software engineering and gain for companies in the form of software for service.

More to come...