Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I forgot to mention that I found the Tim O’Reilly presentation on the intraweb at work last week. If you’re a coworker and you’re interested in his presentation, I have the location of the file and a link to the player. It’s voice plus slideshow, so if you’re one of those people who don’t function well if you can’t see the speaker, maybe it’s not for you. If that’s the case, I can summarize:

O’Reilly’s talk was on Web 2.0 and Asymmetric Competition (“rivals whose different business model transforms the nature of the conflict”). He brought up these points (though my numbering doesn’t match his precisely):

  • Users add value

  • Only a few people will bother with your application, so harness their self-interest and make sure your defaults aren’t limiting you or your user interaction. Watch your architecture – the design of the system drives its use (an IA plug…sweet)
    Create code where people can share. Participation is valuable. Web 2.0 systems get better via user contributions. Harness the network effect.

  • There’s now a perpetual beta and the move from artifact to service – the idea that you’re constantly putting new features in front of your users (or a slice of your audience) and are engaging your users in constant dialog. Don’t be afraid to remove features.

  • Think of software beyond the level of a single device. I don’t want to reiterate what O’Reilly says, but if you’re interested read Morville’s Ambient Findability, as he devotes many pages to the ways new devices change everything. Watch for patterns. Watch for disruptive technologies. The move from artifact to service allows you to shorten the distance to harnessing a disruptive technology (he didn’t come right out and say that…but it’s implied).

  • Owning a unique, hard to recreate source of data is a competitive advantage. That’s a database you may own now, or one you can create by harnessing users’ self-interest to create that database for you. The harder it is to recreate the better, because the software industry and information industry (database industry and publishing industry) are on a collision course and you don’t want something they can replicate inexpensively.

  • A platform beats an application every time. There are companies with platform aspirations out there who want to create a programmable web.
Other bits:

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