World most innovative countries

My bet is that Telecom’s in for another shellacking today. The World Economic Forum listing out which countries are the top innovators . (full list here )

The media frenzy will pick up the fact that liberalisation of the Telco sector is key factor and miss the fact that “a first-rate regulatory environment and large availability of e-government services” are also critical to making this real.

Interesting the plummet in the US ranking though. Is the empire falling?

What is the difference between a platform and hosting provider?

An interesting counter question was posed to me by Sinclair on SaasBlogs about the difference between a hosting 2.0 provider and a platform provider. Certainly got me thinking, on a number of fronts

  1. Why is the term hosting 2.0 negative? I’m not challenging Sinclair on that interpretation, that was my intent when in my first response. It’s just that the web.20 is positive and exciting. Enterprise 2.0 was too (for a while). Why not hosting? Isn’t a platform a logical evolution of hosting? It’s (potentially)  disruptive and it uses many of the same thought patterns around facilitation and user based configuration?
  2. What IS the difference between a platform and a hosting 2.0 provider? In the link above I think its intent. But it’s more than that too. Platform providers have something more valuable than hosting providers. Hosting providers (as good as they may be) are quite literally 1.0. They may have made incremental enhancements but it’s built to service an older world. Where’s collaborative dynamic interaction? Whereas a Platform provider (if they’re worth their salt) has coalesced a bunch learning’s to deliver something better. I posted some time ago about the potential benefits of collaboration on development. A platform is the epitome of this. They’ve done the hard yards, been through the pitfalls and have come out the other side with the (astute) realisation that they now have something infinitely more valuable than an optimised hosting solution, they have knowledge and experience. (By the way, its astute because they commercialised it)
  3. Platforms also come with a bunch more functionality. The multi-tenant nirvana that many service providers have been trying to develop in a box. With all of the plugs, webservices and Service levels expected. Nice work.
  4.  
    Platforms ARE there to facilitate. When you put you app in a platform if forms part of the solution. The collective outcome is something entirely different from hosting. Hosting is static, siloed, old school.

 
Again, i’m guessing but it’s an interesting (potentially semantic) discussion that could be applied to a much wider context (like the whole 2.0 movement)

 

Posted by Paul

The ignorance of crowds

This post by Mitch Ratcliffe illustrates nicely one of the major drawbacks of the new collaborative society. That being a few outlierers can ruin the whole thing for everyone.

Now this isn’t new, those of you who’ve lived past 20 will recognise that this is a re-occurring theme in human history. Most of the worlds population agrees that being nice to each other and not killing everyone in sight is a good idea. Last century we had more than our fair share of outliers who didn’t agree. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Milosevic to name a few.

Most of the worlds population agrees SPAM is a pain in the arse, but according to Sophos (sorry lost the source) about 80% of the worlds SPAM comes from 10 known (that’s the bit that gets me) individuals.

In a web 2.0 free speech is part of the gig, collaboration the foundation. Having said that though, the tide of humanity can be turned and collective wisdom can be become its antonym, ignorance.

I really like Mitch’s summary piece, right up the bit about mores and morals

 

“the Blogosphere is showing its greatest weakness after the fact, by spreading misinformation and fear rather than solid information. Now is precisely the time for a blog culture to coalesce around a discussion of mores and morals”

 
I think its time to coalesce for sure, but not around mores and morals.

I think its time for the wisdom within the group to outshine the ignorance. Take control (which is really a key tenant of web 2.0) Just don’t stand for it, call it out when ever you see it in action. 

We understand the consequences when we don’t   

Salesforce.com

I recently had the privilege of attending a seminar run by Salesforce.com in which they were talking about the SaaS market in a wider sense.

 Don't get me wrong, they want everyone to use Salesforce, and they are clearly (it was palpable) evangelistic about SaaS. What really struck me were the dynamics of the event. They didn't even show us Salesforce.com CRM, they barely mentioned it except for the fact pushing the latest spring release.

 What they did push was Appexchange and Apex. A lot. In fact to the point where it got me to thinking. They bandied around some statistics like 40% of the 70 million daily transactions through the Salesforce platform go through their API.

That is to say that nearly half of all data going through Salesforce isn't people using their application.

Now (and i'm guessing) i think that this whole sales push was related to (possibly) one of the major objections is from larger companies (an increasing target group) who have already gone through the pain of implementing SAP financials etc. So in a classic web 2.0 play sales force has gone, "well hell, why don't you keep using your behemoth, just add this little API and port all the existing (and very valuable data) into SalesForce". Brilliant, objection covered. Nice

The other thing i finally got some insight into was the Apex development platform. I'm told its proprietary, i'm told that that is the resident evil… What ever, what i did see what a template based application builder that already works seamlessly with Salesforce, and can be billed by them and was so simple i nearly rolled up my sleaves and had a go.

A really interesting play that i know others have talked about before, what i didn't have a handle on previously was the success of it todate. 

One sided press

I'm getting increasingly frustrated and disillusioned with the press NZ.  The NZ Herald, our largest and most read paper (both online and print) is blatantly leftist.  Articles like this one from Chris Barton  are a case in point.

Where is the balanced reporting any respectable writer for a national paper should present? No where to be seen. There isn't even a counter voice on the papers staff to create some balanced view.

This article in particular is emotive, one sided and misrepresentative of the situation as a whole except for the last paragraph.  So tell me this, where in NZ do you go for the balanced view. Where in the press lurks someone who isn't a closet socialist and may have actually made an attempt to enter the real world of business?

Most disappointing to me is the over-riding leftest tendency of the NZ herald as a whole.

I'll say it again, Telecom isn't here to take one for the team. Its here to make money (incidently less than Fonterra and all 4 major banks). It just seems to be the easy target. 

 Posted by Paul

 

The horse has bolted

Staggered, that’s my response to the Viacom announcement its going to sue Google because of a supposed 160 000 clips on YouTube.

Viacom is showing its old age with this play. They could have done it themselves, they instead have trusted to an antiquated copy write law and lobbying of the US Government.

They are showing their fear and uncertainty, the worlds moved on. My pick is that they are about to alienate a large customer base of prosumers…

Given that is a pretty large clash of the titans, it could well be the event that defines the new world content law. 

Another interesting angle. Currently by proxy, the US controls the web content via is legal process. Could this mean that if the law makers decide to prop up a decaying business model, that they run the risk of having the net power base (consumers) decide that there is another countries legal system that better supports reality… interesting space. 

 

Profit vs public accountability

I've spent a while mulling over Rod Drury's post about securing New Zealands digital trade routes. I find myself conflicted about it to be honest as i can see both sides of the argument.

Telecom was sold by the government of New Zealand in 1987.  As such its a public company, with a great many shareholders in NZ.  This public company is accountable for turning in a profit and investing the companies capital to get the best return.  Good all makes sense…

 The problem though is that Telecom inheritted the total Telecommunications infrastructure of NZ. It also inherited a burden of responsibility (though i cannot feed it documented in anywhere except for the Kiwishare agreement) to provide and continue to provide the nation with world class communications technology.

Unfortunately those two things are at odds, especially when it comes to Fibre.  NZ's populate density just doesn't justify that kind of spending (from a publically listed company point of view).

What then? Municiple mush networks?  Sure a good option and possible, except really all thats happened is that central government has abdicated their  responsibility to the local government.  Why after they recieved billions for Telecom would they want to invest back into communications technology? No way, but the local government can with their insiduous form of tax (rates). That way the government sides steps the issues and at the same time gains political brownie points by taking the stick to Telecom (which only really damaged the ma and pa investors who voted for them).

Other ways of achieving this could be the user pays models prevalent in the scandinavian countries. That being user pays, self organised user pays actually. Very web 2.0 isn't it.  Imagine being a pro-consumer of fibre networks, very un NZ like really….I think its the way to go personally.

I know this is only a small component of what Rod is saying, but i think relying on a public company to take one for the team and do whats best for the nation isn't going to work. Neither is mandating them to do it…too slow. Neither is hoping that other competitive networks will arrive (anyone remember the $200million Callplus said they'd spend when LLU was announced??? – yeah right)

 

 

And how much better off we’d all be if

My last post kind of triggered a bunch of thoughts about this collaborative wave.  In my exasperated state i'd only viewed one aspect of how collaborative development could benefit us but there are many many more

{mosimage}  

Here’s another. Generally speaking products and services are made because there is a need or customer demand for that. If we could speed up our time to market by collaboratively sharing our experiences, then logically the consumer base has their needs met early and they are happier.

How about physically better products? A wider view point driving BETTER product development

As the cost of development is faster (and therefore cheaper) the goods should conceivable be able to be bought by a wider audience… that’s got to be a good thing.

Waste is reduced (visio schemas and paper alone!!!),

Stress….don't get me started, how much nicer we could all be to each other if we weren't stressed!

How about the fact that you consumers might actually have a say in what’s built…. that'd be a nice change. 

This web 2.0 paradigm shift resonates with me more and more.

By Paul

 

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How much easier would be if…

I had the opportunity to sit in a session this week with an organisation that we are looking to partner with who are a top 5 provider of hosting type services. For various reasons we are looking to resell some of their capability. 

Interestingly enough, they also provide services that are directly competitive to some of the offerings of my current group. The thing that struck me in the discussion was how this same company had gone through the same process, pain and learning’s as we had in becoming a provider of hosted services.

The lunacy of it is that between us we have both probably burnt $1-2million over the last 5 years figuring this stuff out… And i'm willing to bet that there’s a bunch more hosting providers out there who have also done this.

The waste is enormous, the duplication, frustration and down right difficulty in getting anything done could have been so much easier if we'd had some sort of collaborative framework in place to do this.  My brief encounter with Wikinomics indicates that this is one of the many benefits a web 2.0 world could bring. Based on that alone the financial benefits must be there

The only creeping caveat that gets me with this is that this kind of mass wisdom drowns out innovation. We could have all spent this time and be wrong after all… 

 Posted by Paul