What’s in a name?

September 6, 2011

The main subject of this blog so far is the respons of publishers and media executives to the disruptions and the new shifts in and around the interwebs.

The move to mobile, the rise of apps, the battles for platform domination, the coming of the iPad, and of course all the experiments with trying to get paid for producing quality content.

I have posted 105 times and it has been fun. But not anymore. I will stop writing for publishing and media people about the events happening around them, in the hope they will rethink their business strategy and start acting. 

It’s time to move on, since the world moves on as well. And fast it does.

When I started this blog, I zoomed in on myopia. Why is it we do not see and understand the developments around us? I chose the world of, what one may call, New Media Dynamics. A fast paced world. Especially nowadays.

But myopia is certainly not limited to media. In these extraordinary days it is all around us. Politicians who refuse to think about the future. Bankers who keep acting like they own the place. Shifts in power from the West to the East.  There are a lot of developments far more interesting then the myopia of media people.

There is a pressing question to explore: what’s the connection between the rapid rise of hyperconnectivity and the collapse of the old ways of thinking and planning we can see everywhere?  I need to dive into that matter.

That’s why I changed the name of this blog into (Media) Myopia.

Starting today I will try to blog at least once a week.

From today I will shift my focus to other issues as well. To name just a few:

  • Big Data, as the driver of change.
  • Black Swans, being these things and events we humans can not see and anticipate, it seems.
  • Complexity, of which there is far too much.
  • Simplex sigillum veri (who came up with this one?)

In Real Life I am working with a great team to launch a completely new approach to handle disparate data. We have gone back to the pre PC era and picked up some neat ideas about tackling the issue of information overload.

The New Monopolists

December 7, 2010

GOOG today unveiled the Nexus S and released a new version of the Android operating system. 

Yesterday GOOG opened the long anticipated online bookstore

Amazon responded today by launching Kindle for Web.

In the meantime Amazon still is investing enormous amounts of effort and money in services for the cloud. Even wikileaks used to use it.

Facebook is working hard on its big deal with Bing and in my humble opinion still trying to catch up with Twitter’s Real Time approach, while Apple is launching apps for magazines by the dozen.

What does it all mean?

I don’t know, time will tell. But two things are sure.

One: the pace of innovation has accelerated again.

Two: we are in the grip of New Monopolists.

Web of people

November 22, 2010

Last week I got another chance to listen to Andrew Keen, one of my favourite thinkers on issues concerning the web and beyond. Andrew spoke to students in Amsterdam and to the question what web 3.0 meant, he responded: ‘social and mobile’.

Back at the office, I did a bit of research and came across this interview at Techcrunch TV. Andrew interviewed Marc Davis, former chief scientist at Yahoo, who recently joined Microsoft. Andrew and Marc talked about the 3rd wave in technology. The third wave of course is a reminder of the book Alvin Toffler published in 1981, but was recently again used by John Doerr of KPCB to explain his $250.000.000 investment in a new social media fund. In John’s view the first wave was the PC and  the 2nd wave was the web. The third wave is going to be social and mobile.

Marc Davis commented by explaining we are in the middle of a shift from the web of pages to the web of people. I like to describe the changes we see today in these terms. It is again all about ‘we the people’, instead of ‘they the machines’.

Social networks and social tools have been around for a while, but the last few months we can actually see some changes in human behaviour. News gets around via tweets and likes. News is becoming a social news stream. Again, by the way, not launched by newspapers.

Search is getting more and more social. Microsoft made a good move in joining Facebook, or was it the other way around? Of course GOOG is experimenting with social search as well.

IBM invested quite a bit in making Lotus Connections a collection of usable social tools for the enterprise. This week Lotus Connections 3 will be launched. Check it out. The new version will include even social analytics.

And of course there is Dachis Group, a new company started by Jeff Dachis, during web 1.0 one of the founders of Razorfish. Backed with ample funds Jeff rolled out an international firm in no time, acquiring a set of very interesting firms, including the wonderful boutique Xplane. They want to establish a new kind of consultancy, focus on Social Business Design and ‘help companies reinvent themselves into dynamic, socially calibrated organizations that gain constant value from their ecosystem of connections’.

I think that’s a great idea, since most businesses indeed have to reinvent themselves these days. The timing looks pretty perfect as well. If scientists and thinkers agree on the next wave, the money is pouring in, the social tools and (enterprise) software are widely available and people actually prefer to use these tools to share, it’s time to start a new company.

I certainly would like to see a web of people.

The King is dead, long live the New King

October 26, 2010

Last week I concentrated on examining the popularity of services created to help me find interesting info, like tagging, digging, sharing and adding. Some of them work, but most of these services don’t deliver in the end. They come up, they grow, and then they seem to bump into some kind of obstacle. Why is this? I tried to analyze these services from the points of view on and theories of the diffusion of innovation. Most of these new services never move from innovators to early adopters. Not one is more widely used by the people formerly known as the the early majority.

Looking at Gartner’s Hype Cycle 2010, I again noticed that, however great their work, it’s only about technology and emerging technologies. Combining trends and hypes in the rise and fall of new emerging technologies with observations on the way real people actually behave is in my view far more interesting.

Take Search. Almost everyone starts at the homepage of a search engine, right? Use of this ‘technology’ is almost 100%. According to Gartner Search would be at The Plateau of Productivity and (their words) ‘…a sharp uptick in adoption begins, and penetration accelerates rapidly as a result of proven useful value….’

OK, one must agree. But let us examine the usefulness and the value more closely.

Most people use only one word in their search. Far too many search results are presented in less than a second.  About half of the people only click on the first result. The third result is used by just 10 %. And when people finally jump to a website, they are gone before you can count them.

I don’t know, but it seems to me that this is a perfect example of Filter Failure. Search has indeed been a critical solution to bringing audience to the web, but that’s about it. People don’t want to search, they want to find.

Sharing, adding, tagging and digging were launched because finding is not searching. Web 2.0 lead to more and more content. Content is King no more. I think time has come for a new king.

More focus. Finally!

October 19, 2010

Working on a new project, I had to come up with some predictions for the next 2 – 3 years, in corporate media and publishing that is.

One of my certain bets of course is the rise of the tablets, as it is an expression of the more general migration to more mobility. Second sure bet is the rise of corporate publishing, since traditional publishers are loosing their ability to create value. Third trend is more bottom up: users want to experience the same satisfaction in their work as they do in their homes.

In my view the basic underlying force driving all these trends is the Data Deluge and the incapacity to deliver proper results. There is too much data and not enough quality info.

Therefore we will see more focus on information architecture, information design and user experience (design).


To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

October 5, 2010

Several reports were published last month on internet in Europe and it’s usage. As usual, statistics differ and as usual I had to do some cross reading and checking before I could reach something that might look like an interesting point.  

Because Dutch tweets were once again worldwide trending on Twitter this week, I taught it might be nice to concentrate on Twitter.

In The Netherlands this year around 83% of the people use internet. The percentage of people who use it every day is 90.

Around 40% of the Dutch internet users spend some time during the week on social media sites. Besides Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter the Dutch use Hyves, a Dutch platform.

Only 4% of all Dutch internet users post a (= one) tweet every week. The Dutch people are frontrunners in the use of Twitter in Europe.

So, although Twitter is a lot of fun for the people who use it, people who do not use it, don’t see the use for it. And that is a very standard form of adoption of new media technologies or innovations in general.

If we apply the theories of Rogers on the diffusion of innovations on Twitter, we have to conclude that it is just beginning to be accepted by early adopters. And acceptance is not fast at all. Twitter still has a long way to go before it might reach the turning point of becoming a more widely used medium. In fact it has to quadruple at least.

Although I like Twitter and use it every day several times, I have to bear in mind that I am just one of the happy few early adopters.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet, therefore, is really Not the Question.


October 1, 2010

Twitter was founded by 3 young guys and the first prototype was developed in just 2 weeks. That sure is kinda amazing. Jack Dorsey talked about getting ideas out into the market at last April’s 99% Conference. As they say: it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.

Jack’s talk is very worthwhile and can be watched here.

Watch it completely, at the end the most important insight is shared.

And may I point out one small detail. After speaking for about five minutes Jack Dorsey tells the audience that around 2005 SMS finally arrived in the US. Before that time Europeans had SMS all to themselves for about 10 years. That blew my mind and made me wonder about the state of entrepreneurship in the Old World.