Evan Williams? I exchanged a few emails with him back when twitter was barely out of the chute. I was going to use Twitter to send through time and materials postings for contractors and lawyers. Build an interface that could consolidate them and turn them into invoices. He wished me well with the idea but that was it. That was back when you could actually use a chat interface to communicate with twitter. They killed that pretty quick.
Social. Yeah, it’s gonna be changing continuously. Facebook thinks it can make money in advertising but the rarely discussed issue is that companies advertise through fb only because they know they have to. Not because it actually produces or increases sales. Facebook is the only game in town for social advertising. But its just not effective. But don’t tell anybody that…
Sure we’ve all got facebook accounts, but so what. We’ve all got microwave ovens too. And I use my microwave way more often than I use facebook (hmm, idea!). But that’s only generally true for the technorati. Facebook is not going away. But it won’t truly flourish unless it provides more than just highschool camaraderie contact control. Where is facebook’s vision? Google and Apple, now they’re visionaries at their heart and it shows. Twitter, it’s a tool, and it’s got first mover advantage. The whole “#” tag phenomena is here to stay, but others will probably copy it. It’s a text message – and a warehouse for storing them – big deal. So unless they figure out how to also become visionary – where’s their growth going to come from? Yelp, better, crowd consciousness. Coupon.com and Groupon.com – dinosaurs in the making. How are Pandora and Spotify and all the other free music services ever going to make money? Advertising? Zillow – now there’s a take over target. They are the RE site. They’re not really a growth business, unless then can cover other continent markets, which, if I were running it, I would certainly be (I’m sure they’re already doing that in fact). If Elon Musk starts another company, now that would be a sweet ride (ha! #2). TSLA is going to be slammin’, and they’re just getting started.
Social in China is going to, well, it’s already bigger than any social here. China is just going to move ahead and eat the world. Just recently they surpassed every other country in the total consumption of wine. And they’re just getting started. Middle class luxuries – that’s where the huge money is going to be. Liquor, wine, beers, high end foods, caviar, cheese. Beef! Holy cow (ha!) what they’re going to do to the long term price of beef. China is a huge ugly consuming monster that is just starting to crawl. Consuming strange things too; African elephant ivory, powered rhino horn – poaching is on a huge upswing, tiger and bear feet and organs. All on the upswing. Fur. Middle class Chinese want furs! Arrgh, the consumption is going to be crazy. Alibaba is bigger than Amazon!
The next big thing I believe is going to be – mobile. Huh? Smartphones are only about 7 years old. And they still haven’t really found their true calling (ha#3). What they are turning out to be are ever present awareness devices. Kids don’t “call” anyone using a smartphone. The only person I know who actually uses one to make phone calls is Karen. So the “phone” part is just not indicative of what these devices portend. Our pocket PCs are going to be our personal environment awareness augmentation systems. Our smartphones, got to get a better name than that, they are going to expand to way beyond what they do now. They’re going to keep us healthy, safe, entertained, knowledgeable, network enmeshed and contact connected – continuously. And we’re going to get addicted to it. If we thought “crackberries” were bad what’s coming is going to put that colloquialism to shame.
So, companies that make mobile easier, faster, more secure, feature rich. Those are the ones to ride. And I hate to say it but it’s the Googles and Apples and Microsofts (no it’s not out of the game yet) that are going to push it. They and the dozens of acquisitions the’ll be making in the next 2-5 years. Companies like those that augment and understand humans senses – sight, sound, speech, touch. I haven’t really thought about it until just now but the network of humans connected through their super powerful pocket Cray’s may just transform what “awareness” really means.