Being Glomoloso


Musings of an old school digerati as we go from being digital to being global, mobile, local and social.

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Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.
Leonardo da Vinci

08:16 pm, by ralphrivera Comments

Chance favors the connected mind

12:57 pm, by ralphrivera Comments

Best way to build trust: Say what you do and do what you say

03:31 pm, by ralphrivera Comments

Hint to newspaper and magazine business - Moving content to IPad doesn’t address the commoditization of news.

In a commodity market, you can only be as good as your dumbest competitor.

- Peter Drucker

Let me start off by saying I’m a news junkie and I really appreciate what journalism brings to the world. I firmly believe storytelling is part of our makeup as human beings, and that our appetite for stories both fiction and non fiction is going to continue to increase.  Having said that, its important to distinguish between news and the news business, and between the news business and the print news business.  With respect to the latter, I believe folks now clearly see the inevitable transition from print to online.  They are building apps for the Ipad, and are talking about replacing physical delivery with PDFs.  Thats a start, but unfortunately, its doesn’t address a more fundamental issue which is the commoditization of the news business itself.  

  • News distribution has been commoditized by the browser.
  • News packaging has been commoditized by the intermediation of search engines, aggregators, bookmarks and link sharing.  
  • Breaking news is being commoditized by real time text, photo and video uploads from people already on the scene.  
  • Opinion is being commoditized by blogs.
  • News gathering is being commoditized by folks like demand media and associated content.  
  • Ability to bring a specific audience to an advertiser has been commoditized by ad networks.
  • And Classifieds, which was once the most profitable part of a paper was lost a long time ago.  

This is no doubt a very difficult thing for the Fourth estate to accept as they have been trained, empowered and trusted to be society’s non-fiction storytellers.  But accepting the notion of commoditization refocuses energy from defending the status quo, to attacking within the new context.

Instead of bemoaning the entry of swarms of unqualified writers into the space, and denigrating the use of algorithmically driven content farms - use these weapons yourself.  Learn how to win within a commoditized environment - others have been doing it for years.   (See HBS working Knowledge article by John Quelch:  When your product becomes a commodity)

Going toe to toe on the commodity front, allows publishers to win by exploiting the formidable advantages they still have.  

  • Investigative reporting is a differentiator which some people, such as myself, are willing to pay for. 
  • Brands still matter - at least for now, New York Times and Wall St Journal carry infinitely more weight than anything the web has spawned.
  • Access to capital to build and operate new platforms, products and sites. 
  • A passionate audience around strong brands is also a potential differentiator, but one which most publishers have failed to capitalize on.  

Going from defense to offense is never easy and most organizations won’t be able to do it. That is especially true for those that think moving their words from a printed page to the Ipad will save the day.    

11:00 pm, by ralphrivera Comments

Google won’t kill Facebook - Distributed P2P powered Social Networks will

The Day the Napster Died

Brad King  05.15.02
Napster, the software application that ignited the music file-trading frenzy, came to an apparent end on Tuesday after its board of directors nixed a sale that would have kept the company afloat.

When founder Shawn Fanning and CEO Konrad Hilbers abruptly resigned on Tuesday, the company that launched the most innovative Internet program was gone, just like that.

Read More

Facebook is to Napster, as some yet to be named entity is to Gnutella.  Back in the day, Napster built the world’s most popular and infamous file sharing service reaching over 80 million users atop a centralized index.  Its central server index and its users were an easy target for the music industry to take down.   In its place, a couple of guys from AOL’s Nullsoft unleashed Gnutella, a file sharing service with a distributed peer to peer architecture which lives on today.  While external forces conspired to bring down Napster, internal forces concerned about privacy and data ownership may lead to Facebook’s implosion.  Instead of trading in one centralized social network for another,  users will seek to control usage and access to their data by deploying distributed peer to peer social networks.

10:24 pm, by ralphrivera Comments

Facebook won’t kill Google - Semantic web enabled bots will

I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize.

Tim Berners-Lee 1999

Lots of chatter around Facebook likes replacing links and that being the path to search dominance.  I dont disagree that personalized recommendations from my friends trump links proposed by Google.  However,  I believe that intelligent agents that know my preferences, can maintain my anonymity, can scan recommendations from friends and can work on my behalf trump likes.  This may be the dreams of a trekkie, or the long held beliefs of a early 80s era computer science major when AI was a big deal - but it will happen sooner or later.  

10:53 pm, by ralphrivera Comments

There is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system. The innovator has the enmity of all who profit by the preservation of the old system and only lukewarm defenders by those who would gain by the new system.
Niccolo Machiavelli

10:57 pm, by ralphrivera Comments

The best strategy is the one you can execute.
Ralph Rivera 

10:42 pm, by ralphrivera Comments

Crawl, Walk, Run

I recently got my 2 yr old daughter a scooter. As I was putting on her helmet, it struck me how quickly she has progressed from crawling to walking, and from walking to running. Now she is looking to go faster via the scooter, which will eventually become a bicycle and then a car and then who knows what – maybe personal jetpack. The progression she is experiencing parallels the progression all organizations must go through from start up to scale. As such, my mantra at work over the past several months has been crawl, walk, run as we build the people, process and technology needed to create great experiences. In the same way you cant run until you know how to walk, you cant deliver great online experiences unless you have the technical platform to power it, and the product development process and talent to build it.

We are starting to walk now, and will be running soon. Before long, we will be racing, competing and winning. The progression is never ending.

12:00 am, by ralphrivera Comments

Leaving the little red school house behind

Over the past month, much has been made of the potential impact of the kindle and ipad on education. Good summary of the excitement found here - While i agree that carrying a kindle is better than lugging around a half dozen text books, I believe that merely digitizing textbook content is a misguided and short sighted use of the Internet to improve the educational experience. Why do we continue to perpetuate the little red school house method of learning in an age where our ability to process and communicate information goes way beyond the digital equivalent of pen and paper.

Unfortunately, the existing ecosystem of educational professionals, book publishers and school boards is trapped in a document based paradigm established centuries ago when words on paper were the only means to share information. Ten years ago many people recognized the web’s potential to transform the classroom. And as a result millions of dollars were spent on pcs and connected classrooms. However, this money was wasted as the teaching method and the teachers themselves did not change to exploit the new tools and technologies. So here we go again. Instead of the connected laptop we have a digital book, and once the dust settles we will find that little has changed because the teaching paradigm and practioners are still the same. Instead of doing the same thing with new tools why not come up with new methods. A new pedagogy that achieves learning goals and objectives within a reenvisioned learning environment that is interactive, social, global and nonlinear.

Geography, History and Language – students learn about other parts of the world from each other. Using video conferencing, shared documents and buddy browsing students can take turns preparing, delivering and participating in lessons. The teacher becomes a coach that enables the dialog within a pedagogically sound framework.

Physics, mathematics, chemistry and biology can all be better communicated and absorbed through virtual and physical simulations than chalk on a blackboard. Again teacher manages context and coaches students who absorb and apply the content.

Sociology, psychology and economic concepts can be more effectively delivered within the context of a role playing based video game. Why not use sim city or world of warcraft to have students understand the implications of their decisions.

Fortunately, some folks like at NYU’s Games For Learning Institute recognize the opportunity and are starting to address it. I hope that efforts like this lead to a dramatic shift in how we approach education in an Internet powered classroom so we can leave the little red school house behind.

10:11 pm, by ralphrivera Comments