Friday, December 21, 2007

YouTube on Vodafone

Originally uploaded by Simon Cast
Hmmm...are you hurting Vodafone? Maybe there was value in the iPhone? Trying to play catchup?

Tags: Vodafone, iPhone

How not to force people to unsubscribe (This means you Spock)

Today I received an email from Spock for someone trying to add the company recruitment email to his "Web of Trust". Fine people harvest email address all the time. What annoyed me is that it required two entries of the email address and clicking on a link in an email.

Not good. Made the job of unsubscribing time consuming. And it wasn't like I was a registered and the email was from someone who had found me but rather spam contacts email. Long story short, do not use Spock. If this what the company puts you through just to unsubscribe from contact spam then I hate to think how annoying the service would be if you are a registered user.

Point to all companies. Unsubsribe must be a single action on the part of the user. Double, triple, quadruple actions are a no-no. And it musn't take 10 days to filter through your system. That is a load bullshit. All it means is that you can't be arsed to fix you email marketing system and you are going to try to spam me as much as possible in that 10 days.

Tags: Spock, Email Marketing,, Email

Monday, December 17, 2007

Eclipse, Python & SAGE

Several fair comments on from my previous post on using Eclipse/Python so I think I should elaborate on what I see as problematic with Sage. Bearing in mind that I have used Matlab primarily and I am looking for a reasonably priced math program for non-technical users.

Lets first consider what Matlab and its ilk are. They are IDEs for development mathematical-based programs. Most include interactive UI for doing simple calculations. They also provide a large collection of common numerical computations that the user can string together into a larger program for completing analysis of information. So in all there are three elements: an IDE, a math engine and an interactive environment.

Sage is not a very good IDE (actually, I'll re-state that, it doesn't have an IDE). It strikes me as a good program for doing math but it really falls down without an IDE. Given how iuseful IDEs are for writing programs, this is surprising. Particularly when the program is pushed as an open-source replacement for Matlab et al., which do have useful IDEs.

One commentator asked what I found problematic. Well, you know the first one, No IDE. The second was after downloading SAGE, I found I then had to down VMWare, which I could only get after jumping through hoops at VMWare (not particularly happy about that). Third, the notebook interactive UI in the browser is a neat idea but ultimately, it left me underwhelmed.

Now I freely admit part of the problem was that I was expecting an IDE, with an interactive mode and a wonderful math engine. Unfortunately, that was not what I got but that was how it was marketed specifically "a viable open source alternative to Magma, Maple, Mathematica, and MATLAB". It is not an alternative to those programs while it lacks an IDE. The reason people use Matlab is it is easy to use. I really think this is a case of failing to see the forest for the trees. Matlab et al provide more than simply a math engine.

My suggestion to the SAGE team is to ditch the current UI method and use Eclipse. Build a wonderful math engine that uses the Eclipse to provide both a wonderful IDE and an interactive UI. The advantage for the SAGE team is they get to focus on creating an excellent math engine that is open source, while leveraging the work of other teams making Eclipse the best IDE around. Isn't that one of the key advantages of Open Source?

Short term, make it easy or at least write a very good explanation of how to call the SAGE engine from Eclipse.

Granted, I may not understand what SAGE is for, but when presented with marketing "viable open source alternative to Magma, Maple, Mathematica, and MATLAB" I certainly expect something that matches Matlab, if not exceeds it. SAGE does not achieve this.

Tags: Matlab, Mathematica, Eclipse IDE, Open Source, Sage Math, Python

Friday, December 14, 2007

Matlab Competitor? How about Eclipse & Python

Recently Sage was release to compete against Matlab, Mathematica et al. I had a quick try of it but back out. It quickly became difficult to do much. While I am sure it is very powerful math program, its got a long, long way to go before it offers serious competition to Matlab.

I think a better Matlab-killer is the combination of Eclipse & Python. Eclipse provides the visual IDE of Matlab and Python is an excellent scripting language that can easily replace m.files. All that needs to be done is bundle plotting into Eclipse (something it should have anyway), toss in a large library of numerical and symbolic python functions (complied or C) and you have a program that can successfully compete against Matlab and Mathematica.

Having been essentially using Eclipse and Python this way for the last few days I am convinced it is a very workable solution. Why re-invent the wheel?

Tags: Matlab, Mathematica, Eclipse IDE, Open Source, Sage Math, Python

Web Next & Data Ecosystems

Web Next is not some quantum leap in reality but rather the culmination of several long term trends. Web 1.0 was the translation of real world services (e.g. Amazon) onto the Internet and Web 2.0 is Darwinian evolution of UI and social media tools and technologies. Web Next is exploiting of information to achieve new products and services with no direct analog in the real world. Some will call this Web 3.0 but I prefer the simpler moniker Web Next.

Web Next is about the creation of value not through the control of information but via the creation of synergies and knowledge through combining information and functionality. There already exists the primitive examples in the Web2 world, those such as the map-based mash-ups. Essentially value is derived via the showing a spatial relationship between data. However, these mash-ups are relatively primitive. They rely on a users existing knowledge of the spatial area in question. I personally have no appreciation of the real layout of New York City having never been there. Consequently, the value I gain from viewing or using a mash-up consisting of crime statistics plotted on a map of NYC is less than someone who has visited which will be less than a resident of NYC.

The synergy of information and functionality is created through Data Ecosystems.

Data Ecosystems

A Data Ecosystem is two or more different data sets that when combined with complementary functionality produce multiplicative effect in usefulness. Or put another way, a Data Ecosystem contains more than one source of data (a data set) (e.g. temperatures and rainfall) that can be combined, analysed and processed with the overall Data Ecosystem being more valuable than data or functionality on its own. Importantly, having more than one data set is not sufficient on its own. Rather you need various tools and functions that allow the user to act on the data. An example will help to clarify.

Take an individual piece of data, say a series of temperatures measurements. On its own you can't do much with those temperature measurements but combined with rainfall measures, annual growth rates and a map, those temperature measurements suddenly have a lot of value. Now a farmer can research and plan when to plant his crops or adjust his crop forecasts based on historical growth rates versus temperature and rainfall. To be able to make the forecast of crop tonnage the farmer needs a series of tools that allow him to find correlation factors and extrapolate the growth trends based on rainfall and temperatures. Without those functions having the data is not particularly useful. There is no use in having gobs and gobs of data if there is poor functionality in the Data Ecosystem.

Data Ecosystems highlight a very interesting point about data. One that I find is continually ignored or not understood by most data companies (including web companies). Data on its own has little intrinsic value. Data only has value with what you can do with it and what you can do with it is determined by what other data you have along with the functionality you can apply to the data.

Like a biological ecosystem, a data ecosystem must mesh together. A Data Ecosystem needs to be internally consistent. If a Data Ecosystem is not consistent then it will not generate value for the user. There is no point in trying to create a Data Ecosystem that has rainfall patterns from Australia and crime statistics in New York City. Designers of Data Ecosystems must not design the systems so they become inconsistent. Consistency is crucial. But given human nature I fully expect consistency will be ignored.
"And there's the sign, Ridcully," said the Dean. "You have read it, I assume. You know? The sign which says 'Do not, under any circumstances, open this door'?"
"Of course I've read it," said Ridcully. "Why d'yer think I want it opened?"
"Er...why?" said the Lecturer in Recent Runes.
"To see why they wanted it shut, of course."
-Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

At this point I expect some readers will be thinking that Data Ecosystems is simply the Semantic Web. Data Ecosystems is not the Semantic Web. Semantic Web technologies will be a part of Data Ecosystems, but Semantic Web is neither a precondition for nor sufficient on its own in order to build Data Ecosystems. Semantic Web helps by automating building the relationships between bits of information. In the temperature example above Semantic Web would have provide information such as the lat/long of the measurements, how it was measured, the accuracy of the measurement, the date and times of the measurement etc. This would then allow a computer to match the data automatically with rainfall data from the same location and time and plot together on a map. Semantic Web makes building Data Ecosystems easier and like objects in programming will allow Data Ecosystem platforms to increase the ease the deployment of Data Ecosystems.

Data Ecosystems can also be built of other Data Ecosystems. The output of several Data Ecosystems can be used as the sources for another Data Ecosystem and so on. Each step creating more value by allowing an individual to achieve more. Data Ecosystems will in effect create an L-space

Why are Data Ecosystems Important?

Data Ecosystems are important for one very, very crucial reason. Data Ecosystems allow people to achieve things effectively. Unlike Web 1.0 which was essentially removing transaction costs from existing real-world processes, Data Ecosystems unlock the potential for new services that are impossible in the real world.

Consider a Data Ecosystem based travel service. Such a service will allow you to research a holiday; book all transport, accommodation and activities; create a comprehensive itinerary of the holiday, send alerts at key points along the trip; calculate how much money you'll spend on the holiday; help you automatically tag video, audio and photos from the holiday and create holiday memorabilia from the items you have uploaded. All through a single Data Ecosystem.

And there are hundreds, thousands, millions of probable Data Ecosystems that have no analog in today's web.

How Things are Already Changing

To close out I want to consider something that has been banging its way around the blog-sphere and offline world: the fate of journalism. Without re-hashing the debate you can read Bill Keller's speech with Jeff Jarvis's responses here and here as background.

If everyone is a citizen journalist, then what is the point of professional journalist? A seemingly valid question but one that has the implicit assumption that both are or will be doing the same process. From the perspective of Data Ecosystems the job of a professional journalist becomes very different from a citizen journalist. The citizen journalist is a source of data. They will most likely only provide a very narrow bit of data on any particular story. Put another way, the citizen journalist becomes a source like the news wires.

The professional journalist moves on from being the source of the story to gathering all the disparate bits of information about a story and then assembling into a consistent and cohesive context around the core story. Professional journalists go form being the gate keepers to information to value builders by creating context to stories. The role of a newspaper/media company is to provide or create a Data Ecosystem within which the professional journalist can assemble, create and publish the context to stories. Within Data Ecosystems, professional journalists, news agencies and citizen journalists will co-exist and combine to produce a more valuable service than either would on their own or exists today.

The media world is already going through pain as it is forced to adjust to the realities of an information economy. Data Ecosystems provide a means to effectively adapt to the information economy. But Data Ecosystems are not limited to media. Data Ecosystems will exist right across the information world. In fact they will reach into material world as L-space is linked into materials at the molecular level. This is the true revolution of Data Ecosystems, they facilitate the merger of L-space and Real Space.

Tags: Web Next, Data Ecosystems, Web 3.0, Web Services, Semantic Web, Web 2.0, L-Space

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A mandate for change or steady as she goes?

Reading the recent commentary in the Australian newspapers about the results of the recent election, I am struck by how many of the journalists and opinion columns along with a majority of the ALP and unions believe they have been handed a mandate for change.

But has Kevin Rudd* really receive a mandate for change?

Remember that Rudd campaigned on being just as safe as the Howard government. That does not speak to me as a mandate for change but rather a steady as she goes. The Australian population expect that employment will remain at 30+ year lows, that inflation won't get out of hand and in general things will keep ticking over nicely forever. Rudd will need to be extremely wary about making and changes that upset the apple cart. The voters are going to hold him to the being fiscally conservative.

This includes WorkChoices.

What the voters voted for is more of the same but with a spit and polish of the government. They did not vote for radically change.

The advantage is Kevin Rudd does have the personal power having dragged the ALP into the centre and one an eletion to resist the more strident and economically irresponsible ideas of the unions.

* Yes Australian electorate voted for Kevin Rudd and not the ALP.

Update: Paul Sheehan of the SMH has in interesting article that supports my point although he goes into more depth and draws a longer bow than I am willing.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

While Google passes USD600 could its market cap be higher?

Google has passed USD600 overnight. Various analysts are predicting higher. Paul Kedrosky has predicted USD1000 by the end of the year. Which at this time is not as far fetched as many think. What interests me is a USD600 per share gives Google a market cap of USD190.28bn, but with a USD29.84 per share provides a market cap of USD280.55bn. Almost USD90bn more in market cap.

This leads to the question. If Google split its stock, how fast would the share price then rise and what would the market cap become? Could it pass Microsoft. Splitting the stock would initial reduce the share price and make more shares available for trading.

My guess is that the increase in share price after the split would be very rapid as many traders increase their existing holding and new traders create a holding. All in all an interesting thought experiment.

Update: Quick thought. Given that stock options are one of the key parts of Google compensation, I would think that as the stock price rises closer to USD1000 it will make these options less attractive for new employees. One way to address the issue would be to split the stock and give more room for faster growth for new employees. Nor would this harm existing employees. In fact it would allow them to realise some of their "wealth" without massively changing their share ownership.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Sustainable Economy and Economies of Scale

In much of the discussion on sustainable economy has been focused around energy and carbon. One aspect I find missing from the debate is how the wider shift to sustainable development will effect the fundamentals of economic development that have been the guiding forces since the time of the industrial revolution.

One key economic concept is Economies of Scale. Essentially, building lots of things in one place in order to produce each individual thing cheaper. One of the key determinates of economies of scale is transport costs. The shift to sustainable economy is going to bring in what is currently an externality (carbon) to the equation that determines the economies of scale. As carbon is priced into transport (and to the price of energy) building widgets in massive factory in China (for example) and shipping it to the rest of the world is going to loose economy.

The reduction in the economies of scale will see two major effects. The first is a shift to more factories building the same product as opposed to one big factory shipping to the world. These smaller factories will serve a particular region. The size of the region that the factory supplies will be determined by transport costs. The second shift is that many economies will see a broadening of the manufacturing base. There is likely to be a growth in both the number of jobs in manufacturing and also the diversity of manufacturing operations.

Not only will carbon transport costs effect the location of factories but so will access to low carbon energy. In effect, countries with good internal and regional transport links that are not carbon intensive and have ready access to low carbon energy will greatly benefit from the shift to a sustainable economy. Which leads to the conclusion that China is likely to see its global dominance of manufacturing eroded if it is unable to reduce the carbon intensiveness of is energy and transport. It is China's self interest to reduce the carbon intensiveness of its economy now.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Google and Apple: Joint bid for 700Mhz?

Rumours are circulating that Apple is going to bid for the 700 Mhz spectrum that the FCC is auctioning off. Various speculations over what it could be used for (iPhone MVNO, nation wide hotspot are possibilities) abound. What interests me more is if Google and Apple partnered to bid nation wide.

A partnership between the two would be hugely disruptive to the existing wireless companies. A Google and Apple partnership would bring together Google's information and infrastructure strengths with Apples consumer hardware and design strengths. A complete mobile office and internet access service based around Google Apps and Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch is a compelling combination.

The iPhone/Touch would provide the device that allows the user to access the cloud using the 700 Mhz spectrum. Google would then provide the cloud based services: push email, storage, applications, search, internet access etc. It would become a highly useful enterprise mobility platform while providing the first true wireless, ubiquitous internet platform.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

StrategyEye beta is now avaliable

Here at MarketClusters we have just launched StrategyEye. The service is still in beta and any feedback is very welcome.

What is StrategyEye I here asked? Well to quote Nick Gregg, MarketClusters CEO, it is

"a real-time intelligence platform designed to track the explosive changes in the Internet, Media and Telecoms marketplace. The dashboard gives a highly contextual view of M&A, VC and partnership deals globably, all linked to expert blog and news opinion - and our own proprietary analysis"
Its pretty cool for those trying to track deals and the commentary made by bloggers and journalists surrounding the deals. Who is it aimed at? Well anyone with an interest in digital media, telecoms or the internet. We already have a range of clients from small startups to large corporates and even one or two consultancies. Have a look at the client page. I don't feel like name dropping.

But what if you aren't interested in DM? Never fear, we will be adding further sectors with CleanTech a sector high on our list of cool.

If you want to sign up for a trial and/or the newsletter just follow the prompts on the main page.

Tags: , , ,

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Housing and the Debt Pool

Both Australian and the UK are facing a housing bubble with panicy headlines about housing affordability. Fingers are being brazenly pointed at governments and builders. While the actual cause is best described by Ross Gittins of the SMH in his recent article "Housing Crisis: We Did It Ourselves". Summary: greed of current house owners has pushed up the prices.

Various proposals have been made about "fixing" the problem. However, one fact is conveniently ignored. To "fix" the problem, house prices will have to fall. Not really a politicians greatest wish. Releasing more land, re-developing brown sites (particularly in London), reducing the bureaucracy for planning permission, cutting various taxes and changing tax treatment of investments will help the issue. The single biggest problem for politicians is managing the process that will see house prices stall or fall. House prices are invariable driven by demand, if supply meets demand prices won't rise as quickly.

Is that all that can be done? The fixes proposed will do a lot to alleviate the problem in the short to medium term. It will not fix the debt problem that is tied up into the "housing crisis." Instead, we need to look at how debt is managed for consumers. The debt repayments related to buying a house is what causes the stress. Dealing with this requires more than just lowering interest rates.

So how do we deal with the easy debt problem that leads to the payment stress? The total debt any individual needs to be capped based on their cashflow and the interest rates. This includes store cards, car loans, credit cards and all the other methods of debt.

It works by working out a total debt pool of an individual. The individual then gets to choose who and how much debt an individual provider extends to the consumer. The debt pool is calculated from cashflow and the inverse of the interest rate. This way the debt pool enlarges when the interest rate drops and falls when it increases. This will reduce the opportunity for individuals to fall into repayment stress. A buffer between theoretical debt pool and actual available is use to ensure that the individual never progresses beyond the debt pool.

A side effect of this will be that each individual interest rate change will have more effect as not only does it change the repayments an individual has to make it also changes the amount they can borrow.

tags: , ,

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Perpetual Analytics and policing Social Networks

In what is likely to create a MSM storm, MySpace has deleted profiles of 29,000 convicted sex offenders. As noted by Michael in his post the whole process is complicated by having the data stored in multiple databases. Which will lead louder calls to make on massive DB.

But is one massive DB (and all the problems this may entail) the only effective answer. No, I don't believe so. I think judicious use of perpetual analytics will deliver a more effective solution thatis better at respecting privacy than having one massive DB. The other advantage is that each social network could build on and contribute to the policing of SNS for sex offenders.

tags: Perpetual Analytics, Social Networks, MySpace

Friday, July 20, 2007

Facebook - the next x?

The blogsphere has oscillated between hysteria and backlash against Facebook since the release of the Facebook platform. Some have asked, what is so special about Facebook while others have breathlesssly compared Facebook to Google, Apple & Microsoft.

Now, I personally think the underlying value of Facebook is enormous. However, capturing that value or more accurately realising that value for both the company and users is going to be difficult. More importantly, this will be massively more difficult while people keep talking about Facebook being the next "wunderkin."

Put another way, Facebook is not and never will be Google or Apple or Microsoft or any other wunderkin company. It will be its own wunderkin company that charts a new direction for the industry just as the others have before it. Any punter that talks about Facebook being the next x, will completely and thoroughly miss what Facebook is and will achieve. Do not trust them. These punters are still stuck in the old world and will fail to see the new world.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Truth in advertising - beauty addition

I've wondered for a while whether many beauty magazines and advertisements for beauty products could fall foul of the truth in advertising standards.

The logic is as follows.

Take an image of normal woman. Touch it up and the image is no longer a real representation of the individual. It is no longer true. It is false advertising. The implicit message, particularly of beauty products, is you could look like this if you used the particular product. However, the image is not true. Does this make the advertising untrue?

It would be interesting for such as case to go to Advertising Standards Authority or court.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Multi-Touch Revolution

What this video and think about interfaces.

The revolution that the iPhone introduces is not about features and, to a degree, Leopard as well, is around how we interact with information. This is arguer of the coming revolution in IT/internet. The services that win will be the ones that provide the most effective interaction for the user with masses of information.

Remember we are in an age of information. Getting information is not a problem. The problem lies with how we interact with information. How can I, as a user, interact with the information in a way that makes me most effective in achieving my aims, whether it is finding something or manipulating the information.

The multi-touch screen is going to be a huge part of this revolution. Multi-touch opens the door to truly effective manipulation and navigation through complex information environments. That is not to say that the keyboard will die. The keyboard still remains a very effective input device for certain tasks (i.e. word processing). But for other tasks, touch is the way to go. Multi-touch will have more effect on mouse usage as it can directly replace most if not all mouse input functions.

The companies that succeed in this new environment will be ones that make the new input devices and the ones that create software programs or services that most effectively utilise the power of multi-touch. As a thought experiment imagine Google Earth on a large multi-touch screen or Microsoft's Sea Dragon/PhotoSynth combination.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Facebook as a market

I'm just reading Fred Wilson's recent post about Facebook. Essentially, Facebook has created a stock market-like entity for web apps. Which validates my point underlying my previous post on Facebook and micro web apps.

Extending the concept of the market and micro web apps logically leads to some interesting conclusions. A stock exchange like market could be created that allows micro web app designers another method for monetising their creation. The market would track some combination of the number of users (number of shares) and the value per user (stock price). The movement in the value of the apps would be fascinating to watch.

I wonder if you could create a Stock Exchange app using the Facebook platform?

Apart from the intellectual interest of the Facebook Stock Exchange, does it have any value? Yes. The exchange offers an interesting way of trialling new applications for possible future investment. If an application within Facebook takes off, this is a reasonable indicator that this application will a good candidate for full blown development. Facebook becomes a rapid prototyping and marketing testing platform for the internet.

Facebook Exchange also offers a Darwinian environment to develop and trial new features for existing Web companies. The features to develop out are the ones that gain widespread tracking amongst a target demographic. This will allow web companies to focus their development resources on features that will be worthwhile to their users.

The developments going on around Facebook is fascinating. Where it will end is unknown, but the ride getting there is going to be fun.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Facebook a Platform for Micro-Apps

Just as eBay prompted the rise of the micro-retailers, the Facebook Platform has the potential to prompt the rise of micro-web apps. Facebook Platform provides a range of infrastructure services necessary for these micro-web apps to survive and thrive. Social networking, network distribution and hosting are all provided.

Just like the micro-retailers on eBay it is only with the environment of Facebook can these micro-web apps exist.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

For search startups the real barrier to entry is the index

I was drawing up a brief document for my CEO yesterday around search, the developing technologies and the startups in the space. What caught my attention was the number of starts calling themselves "Google-Killers". It took me a while to put my finger on it but I just didn't agree no matter how cool/ground breaking/esoteric their technology was.

Why don't I see these companies such as Powerset or Hakia as "google-killers"? Index. The simple fact is that unless the company has an index that is significant percentage of the Google or Yahoo or Microsoft search index's they can't compete. Early on the size of the web was such that a new search engine could easily develop a useable index. Now it is orders of magnitude harder to not only develop the index but also make it fast, reliable and generally useful.

There is a way to mitigate this barrier to entry and that is to pick a vertical and index that. Indexing a vertical is a much easier that trying to index usable portion of the internet. Given the nature of the technologies that Powerset, Hakia et al are deploying I think health (which is also relatively open and new) would be good fit for them.

[I had included Yedda as a Google-Killer but as Yaniv Golan pointed out in the comments, Yedda is along the lines of Yahoo Answers with knowledge ranking.]

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

A human experience

I have found it fascinating to watch the every widening ripples that the Kathy Sierra et al saga has unleashed.  Tom O'reilly has just posted the basics of a code of conduct, which continues the expanding ripples.

Even more fascinating is how entirely human the whole issue is.  How entirely human the responses and counter responses, the alliances and friendships are.  All in all, I found it demonstrates one very, very important fact: geeks, techs are as irrational and human as the rest of the population.  They are as likely to get angry, to be mean as anyone.

What concerns me most is the seeming wide acceptance of meaness not only in Tech based blogs but also in political blogs as well, even across the whole blogsphere.  The acceptance of meaness hidden behind freedom of speech. Does this not de-value the concept and importance of freedom of speech when it becomes something to prop up an individuals own pettiness and anger? If I remember my history lessons correctly, freedom of speech is about disagreeing with government.  It was never there to protect some one from the consequences of every thing they say.  Something a long history of court decisions has upheld.

The web and internet has grown since the early days.  The norms that arose in those days hung together as a majority of the users belong to the same community and with that community came limits on behaviour.  Now that the majority of users do not come from the same community the norms of behaviour to a greater or less extent do not have the weight or power they use to.  The internet has descended into a "Lord of the Flies".

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Blogsphere Civil War

"And no practical definition of freedom would be complete without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the other are based."
- Lord Vetinari
Background: Blogsphere Civil War

At what point do the cries for Freedom of Speech, Liberty become hollow when we stop taking the consequences of our actions?

We like our freedom, so long as we don't have to accept any unpleasant consequences. We want to be able to say what we want, without accepting condemnation by others. We want the ability to do what we want, without accepting responsibility when our actions hurt other people.

If you build a site like mean kids or write a blog, you have to accept the consequences of that action.

True freedom is the freedom to take the consequences. Strength of character comes from accepting the consequences of your actions.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Liability in the age of targeted ads

Every so often you here about the latest advertising based scam. An ad is located somewhere in magazine or newspaper and this leads the un-suspecting off in a merry dance that sees them loose some or all their life savings.

Generally the service (magazine, newspaper etc) are not held liable for this type of scam. Which is fair enough because the service is not targeting ads at specific people.


What happens when a service is predicated (Blyk) on delivering very target ads to a specific demographic delivers advertising that is the start point of a scam? It could be very easily argued that the scam would not have been successful without the targeting provided by the service. Which of course opens the service to liability.

Liability for scams is something that does need to be considered with highly targeted advertising. Particularly, where the targeting focuses on populations known to be (more) prone to duping by scams.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Rant: Playing Music on a Mobile Speaker Phone

I've been meaning to say something for a while but today on the bus into work was the last straw.

What idiotic engineer or marketeer decided that it would be cool to allow people play music stored on a mobile on it's speaker? The only time that is going to happen is when the person is in a crowded bus/train/building where is going to piss people off.

Now, to those people who do this. STOP. I don't care what music you like but I don't want to have to listen to it. I have my own favourite music and I don't want to have to listen to yours because you are too selfish to not use headphones. You are intruding on my personal space.

Strangely enough it always seems to be teenagers who insist on playing music on the speaker. Some people would say I could simply ask them to turn it down. Yes I could, BUT, they should never have turned it on in the first place. Why can't people think of those around them?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The qantum shift in Climate Change

Tony Blair has said there has been a quantum shift in climate change in the US and there is now a possibility of a deal as long as India, China and other similar emerging economies join in (China and India are 2nd and 4th worst emitters respectively). Yet recent comments by an Indian minister seems to think they should still be allowed to emit at their current levels.

Which kind of leaves us in deadlock. The US is not going to accept caps without the major emerging economies also accepting caps. Neither side seems to be willing to shift. Is there anything that break the deadlock?

There is.

The US, Europe and other interested countries sign a treaty to create caps and a global emissions trading scheme. But included in the treaty is an agreed method to calculate the carbon cost of goods and services. This serves as a standard and is used across the economy. Companies (whether in the signatory countries or not) can receive an audit to show they are below the standard. This allows them to purchase less carbon credits as their goods and services fall below the standard (or even sell carbon credits).

Now to deal to recalcitrant countries. All goods and services receive a carbon cost whether they are produced/provided by the signatory countries or not. Here is the key aspect. The goods and services need only to be consumed in the signatory countries. Companies wanting to sell goods and services within signatory countries would have to purchase carbon credits.

The majority of the exports from the emerging countries go to be consumed in the developed world. Without this methodology, carbon caps will only see the carbon production transfered from the developed world to the developing world. Nothing is gained. By requiring carbon credits at point of consumption forces the producing companies to take the lead in reducing their carbon emmissions as they now have an economic incentive to do so.

A side benefit of this methodology is that it will turn the externality of carbon emission generated in the transport of products (currently not included) into an internality. This will allow the price of the good to better reflect the true cost of production.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

The news is out- MarketClusters Receives USD3m in expansion funding

MarketClusters (the company I work for) has just raised USD3m in expansion funding. The press release is here. AlarmClock talks about it here. In summary we are continuing our expansion of StrategWire platform. In addition to on-going development of new features we will expanding the platform's coverage to Clean Technology market.

Tags: MarketClusters, StrategyWire,

Monday, January 22, 2007

Transport in Sydney

I've just returned from Christmas in Australia. Starkest difference between London and Sydney was how hard it is to get around Sydney by public transport. Not having a car in Sydney is a significant obstacle to enjoying Sydney.

This only serves to highlight how (relatively) good London's public transport network is. This is not to say that there isn't room for improvement, there certainly is. But the cost of improving London transport is dwarfed by what Sydney needs, nay must, spend to get a decent public transport network.

Unfortunetly for Sydney, public transport is the single biggest hurdle to further development, increased tourism and maintaining its status as a liveable city (which is already rapid falling).

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Wired has an excellent story about Yahoo and its performance over the last few years. Several bloggers have already commented on the story (Michael Parekh and Brad Feld). My take: I'm not really surprised about anything in the article. Yahoo has been rudderless for at least the last year.

Terry Semel has to go. His performance is simply not good enough.