Shovels As A Service In The Social Networking Gold Rush
For this week's feature on Web 2.0 in the enterprise, we counted 17 startups that offer social networking platforms. Everyone knows that selling picks and shovels is the surest way to get rich during a gold rush, so these companies could be on to something -- or at least, they would be if so many hadn't come up with the same idea. The difference is that in keeping with the Web 2.0 fashion for online apps, most have set themselves up as Web-based service providers. Not so much selling shovels as renting them.
A service-based business model is great from the vendors' (or service-providers') point of view: It means they only need to make a sale once and can get paid over and over again. It's even better when the marginal cost of actually providing the service is close to zero.
Most important during a gold rush, it expands the market, thanks to lower costs of entry. Renting is cheaper in the short term than buying, which attracts a lot more prospectors hoping to found a data mine. That means a lot more sites, all competing with each other and with traditional publishers for the same users and ad revenue.
In the long term, social networking is becoming a standard feature of most large Web sites, not an end in itself. I think this is behind Google's relative lack of interest in the space, as well as Facebook's API and push to become a host for third-party apps. On the intranet, where requirements are slightly different (assuming that intra-corporate social networking is useful at all, which it might not be), the startups face competition from bigger vendors such as IBM and BEA. It's a feature, not a product.
Read the rest of my blog post and leave a comment.
Virtualization At The Desktop?
Examine how more than 250 companies plan to adopt server virtualization technology in this recent InformationWeek Research report, Server Virtualization.
The BI Explosion
Examine the business intelligence strategies of 500 companies, including deployment drivers and challenges, spending plans, and vendor selection, in this recent InformationWeek Research report.
The Three Opens, Pt. 1: Open-Source OS
There's been a lot of talk about the three big "open"s in the computing world today -- open-source OSes, open-source applications, and open standards. I'm going to talk about each one of these things in turn over the course of the next few blog posts, and examine how they fit together and complement each other.
Join Us For GridTalk With The Creators Of The Greenies
Join us for GridTalk on Tuesday when our special guest will be Jonathan Himoff of Rezzables, the company behind the Greenies and about 20 other of the most popular and innovative areas in Second Life. He'll talk about business, community building, and creativity in Second Life, as well as where his company gets those crazy ideas.
Broadband Providers Nix Sticks
Testimony before a House subcommittee last week reiterated what we already knew: fewer people in the United States have broadband Internet access than in several other countries, and rural areas of the United States have even less access to broadband than urban areas. They're called "the sticks" for a reason: rural America gets this one stuck to it, too, as it does on a lot of other social, economic, and technical issues.
The person who posted the how-to-guide goes by the forum name BrazilMAC and since he responded to my query at length, it seemed appropriate to provide his reply here, mainly because it provides insight into why people hack.
Expect The Worst With Your Leopard Upgrade
When upgrading your operating system, expect the worst. Expect that your system won't boot. Expect your favorite applications won't run. Expect that your essential documents will be deleted or inaccessible. Also, your dog will get pregnant, the milk in your fridge will go sour, and you'll wake up with a big zit on your nose and run into your high-school sweetheart later that day.
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