setting the record straight: Techcrunch - the community

People on a bridge
Networks Vs Communities

A network is a connection.
A community is built on top of a network.

A network does not require activity.
A community is active, built by and of people.

Where do blogs fit in?

A blog is a publication in a social context.

Communities are built around shared affinities.
Shared affinities are discovered via front-facing social objects that draw like-interested individuals. 

When thousands of active readers converge on a blog, engaging in threaded commenting and lengthy discussion - is this a blog or a community? 

Blogging has evolved.  There are now three categories.  And a fourth is just around the corner.

3 Primary Categories of Blogging

  1. Social Journalism - NY Times blogs - professionally authored and published, the social arm of a traditional media property
  2. Community Blogging - blogging as part of a conversation, a broader community. 
  3. Broadcast Blogging - traditional publishing in a blog setting.

While the technology suggests that TechCrunch is a blog, it is only a matter of time until the next category emerges.

4. Content/Community Blogging - creating social objects as conversation pieces to inspire an active community.

A blog on a community page may currently serve this purpose.  But a community function on a blog (similar to Mashable's Community) changes the blog dynamic.

Disqus and Typepad Connect bring threaded conversations to blog comments.  But I'm waiting for the technology that connects comments and commenters, enabling deep, structured conversational engagement in the comments.  I'm waiting for the community in the comments. 

Blogs are no longer one size fits all.  Comments are no longer one size fits all.  It's time we recognized them as such.

Inspired by a tweet from Andrew Weissman. Kudos to Howard Lindzon for sharing via retweet.

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when a series of tubes go tubeless - the evolving natural web

The Windows Network and Internet icon employs the 'tube' metaphor

Image via Wikipedia

The internet is just a series of tubes, right?

It's a connection, it's a lifeline, that can be turned on and off.  It's a utility.  That's why we need net neutrality, right?

While the world of the internet within the browser or within a dedicated connected application (ex - widgets or Outlook) is far from gone, the time has come for marketers and technologists to look at the internet as more then a channel.  The connected web is the natural evolution of the human experience.

Higher speeds, open platforms, more intuitive development kits, these are all small pieces in a larger puzzle.  There is a greater endgame at play.


  • Social media has evolved via digital connectivity, and it continues to evolve.
  • Video viewing has evolved, and will continue to evolve.
  • Mobile connectivity has evolved, and clearly will continue to evolve.

We cannot look to the future without remembering the past.  The media and technology landscapes have greatly evolved over the past century.  And they will continue to evolve.  But the world didn't turn on a dime, it will not change with a single keynote.

The world is going to continue to change, but without looking through the lens of the historical human perspective, we are doomed to chasing waterfalls.

Dreaming is great for ideation, but insight is what fuels the future.

So what are your insights?  What are the key factors driving tomorrow?

fun fridays : next gen input interfaces

The video below requires some explanation.  FRONT is an interactive system motion capture system that records 3D "pen" strokes -- sending that information to a computer afterwards - apparently to be "printed".  (Video after the jump)

Uploaded by reelgood0008

I don't speak Japanese, but the story here is clearly apparent from the visuals.  Live mixed reality meets avatar like customization.  This is just too cool.  Check it out below (after the jump).


And what post about interface evolution would be complete without including the amazing Jeff Han?  Sure, the iPhone does multitouch, but it doesn't use tilt or pan technologies to navigate a 3D world!  On that note, why wouldn't Apple create a next gen mouse similar to the iPhone/iPod touch that would marry the multitouch experience with the built in accelerometers to deliver an intuitive 3D input interface?  This would change the face of both gaming and virtual world navigation!  And couple this technology with the Japanese mixed reality avatar-like technology featured above (fed by an integrated web-cam) for more human facial gestures, and you've got the world's BEST mixed reality home PC!  Dell's released a World of Warcraft unit, here's to hoping they pick this up next!  Any thoughts?

Video below (after the jump).

innovation in an ROI driven world

Innovation_connection Over the past year I've encountered dozens of solutions, technologies, sales vendors, advertisers, marketers and futurists, all claiming to embody a single phrase - innovative. Yet to be totally honest, I haven't seen all that much that really blew my mind.  Is this because innovation has been stifled by realism, near term ROI concerns, a lack of vision, or is this a symptom of something greater?

Everyone claims to be pushing ahead, innovating, bringing forth new solutions that are "groundbreaking".

But most of what I've seen looks like everything I've been seeing for the past 5 years, just ported into a new channel.

As I see it, there are two types of innovation:
A) Incremental Innovation
B) Disruptive Innovation

Incremental Innovation is where much of the business world feels most comfortable.  This type of innovation is often referred to as, "the lowest hanging fruit".  This is innovation that takes a process or a concept that is already established and familiar, and builds on it.  It's not about reinventing the wheel, but adding a new feature to the wheel, making them somehow incrementally better.  Think of mobile OLA: it's nearly identical to regular OLA, just on a phone.  It's innovative,  but not yet a game changer.  Nearly all of the innovation I have seen over the past year falls into this bucket.

Disruptive Innovation is far more difficult that incremental innovation, yet the payout is far greater.  Disruptive Innovators are game changers.  They reinvent the wheel.  They are visionaries and big thinkers.  Disruptive Innovation is both risky and difficult, yet the end game payout is tremendous.  Think Facebook and social connections, the iPhone and user experience design and pervasive digital connectivity, Gigya and the widget, YouTube and UGC, Twitter and instant messaging, or BitTorrent and content distribution.  Without these innovators, 2008 would be a markedly different.

Key Takeaway: Most of us are putting the finishing touches on our '07 business and beginning to plan for '08.  If you don't have an innovation strategy or an innovation roadmap already in the books, it's time to do  so.   You won't be successful tomorrow if you don't have a plan for preparing for tomorrow, today. 

Dedicating all of your efforts to incremental innovation may satisfy the bottom line, but won't make you into a category leader.  This is true no matter regardless of the business you're in.  The time to begin planning for the future is now. 

If you've got any questions around innovation planning, PLEASE feel free to reach out to me via email or by commenting on this blog.  Karl Long just posted a great piece around the challenges and costs of getting innovation in-market.  If you'd like to learn more about innovation in business, check out any of the many fantastic blogs in reading list to the left of this post. 

Thanks for reading and as always, looking forward to your comments!

digital media jam

Just picked this up off Scobelizer.  This may be a very long video, but I found much of it to be a worthwhile listen.  Check it out below:

Key Takeaways:

  • Users want to control all their digital media in the same way they control their DVDs. 
    • I can watch watch my DVDs at a friend's house without leaving a copy there.
  • BitTorrent has been successful because it enables and empowers content portability.  It's not all about the piracy, it's about access and delivery.
  • Your content is yours.  You want it to live as such.

For previous coverage of free-flowing-DRM (or liquid DRM) click here.

On that note, this Media Master System looks promising and truly liquid (liquid?).  If the pricing, connectivity and user interface are there, this could be huge!


- PS - Can anyone out there please explain what happened to Orb?  They nearly had a similar system built out YEARS AGO and haven't yet taken off!

more than one war may be decided by customer service

Hung_2 Isn't it a shame that one of the most innovative products of the year, the iPhone, is being talked about not for it's amazing features, but the many ways Apple has messed with their loyal customer base? Whether it be paper bills of encyclopedic proportions, refund-gate or most recently iBrick-gate, Apple's marketing engine seems to have lost their mojo.  Their sales will continue to climb because of their amazingly engineered products; but this growth is not due to their marketing efforts but despite them.

With the next generation of broadband connectivity (and all the IPTV goodness it brings) finally making it into our homes, it looks like customer centric marketing may very well determine the victor in what is already a fiercely competitive market.  While Comcast has driven an elderly woman to open a can on their merchandise at a retail store, Verizon is touting a new age of home connectivity that empowers customers by delivering a better, stronger consumer experience.   With Verizon it's all about the customer, and this is why they already have a leg up in my mind.

A few months of slow access with DSL and years of satisfactory experience with cable connectivity have created an affinity that is not easily erased.  However, the forgettable customer service I've encountered with cable companies to date may very well lead me to try out Verizon's latest offering in FiOS.

But that's just me, how about you?

future visions: when the web lives beyond the browser

The Web is a place where possibility meets reality.

Believe it or not, the web really is a series of tubes. 

When many of us think of the web, we think of the browser.

But the web is greater, the web is stronger.  The web is the connection.

The web delivers newer, smarter, free-er, independent abilities beyond both our hardware and software manufacturer's greatest imaginations.  The web is open, massive and offers unlimited opportunity.

The web residing application powers our social networking, our browsing, our publishing, our communications, our lives.  The web takes the stationary and makes it mobile, makes it portable, breaks down walls and smooths out mountains for newcomers while generating new ones for traditional giants.

Towards this end:

  • Twitter isn't anything new, it's just another connection that works within the limits of our mobile connectivity.
  • A Metaverse is nothing new, it's just a graphical representation of the text (and at times flat-2D video) world we lived in.  The Metaverse is to the traditional browser as Windows 3.1 or the Apple II was to DOS.
  • The iPhone is revolutionary in it's design but it's greatest strength lies in web developers' embrace of the platform to distribute the web as an experience, as an interaction, as an open ended connection - not as a browser. 

Widgets may live today in our personal and social network pages largely within browser, but the distributed web will fuel the 2.0 - 3.0 transition.

So in a sense, web 3.0 isn't about the destination, but the experience of the living and breathing organism that is the web - the connectivity, the openness, the power of the (distributed) interaction that is the web experience.