Ryan and the Adobe team just let the world know that SEO is no longer the elephant in the room when it comes to Flash goodness.
I’m obviously not in the loop and can’t add much, but it was curious that Adobe, by the looks of the announcement, is not collaborating with Microsoft. Google and Yahoo get mentioned like eight times, but no love for the girls in Redmond. I’m just wondering if this is because:
I mean they’re still giving out bronze medals in the Olympics aren’t they? Curious omission in otherwise good news for those of us living off the platform.
If you read the fine print (the actual message from the suits) there’s a vague declaration about wanting to make the technology more broadly available…whatever that means. ;-P
I’ve long been a fan of Gary Vaynerchuck. He’s innovative and in many ways represents much of what is good about the new media / user generated content revolution. That’s why I was stoked to stumble on to Cork’d. I signed up for the service and immediately started kicking out my first wine review.
However, during the process I started to have that sinking feeling; “this takes too much time, I don’t think I’ll do it more than once or twice.” This sucks because I really like wine (full bodied reds) and want to learn, share and interact with others who know a hell of a lot more than I do. I’d like to bookmark and rate what was good, get reviews from others and have shopping / wish lists filled. Turns out I’m not alone and someone in the same shoes had already expressed a better idea.
I think it’s pretty clear that Cork’d has transaction costs which are too high for many, if not most, enthusiasts to bear. The reward of “bottle bookmarking”, or getting a review isn’t enough to outweigh the pain of taking notes, writing reviews and tagging. Ultimately some form of these features is probably part of a potential success story, but too often we just assume that a great idea and a web presence with social features (tagging, ratings, comments, friends, api, media) is all that it takes. Services have to do more than fill a void, they have to find the pain and then assuage it. Bring the service to the customer rather than forcing them to come to you.
The ideal social site for wine looks an awful lot like Cork’d except it has a mobile, rich media twist (phone pics as Justin notes). Combine that with a catalog of vintners / vintages and OCR technology capable of extracting label and vintage information from the bottle and you’re well on your way to having transaction costs low enough to inspire repeated, consistent use. Then you bring in tagging and ratings that are proactively suggestive and wine enthusiasts will eagerly provide the body of knowledge and social networking needed to make the service thrive.
Oh and did I mention there are business models here? I’m sure Google and the other search brats would love to place targeted ads for the thousands of wine retailers and wholesalers out there. A retailer with web presence like Wine Library or a consortium of wine retailers / wholesalers would be perfectly happy to have an active social network on their property with the ability to fire off an order with a single button press. Hell, bring Amazon into the mix and pass them the shopping lists generated on the social site. Amazon takes a small fee, passes some back to the social network operators and lets local distributors actually fill the orders–it’s a win, win for everyone.
In short, we need to be better at connecting the cloud to people. Find their passions and bring the service to them. It’s that simple.
I call bullshit. These are unprovable assertions based on purely imaginative history. The web has proven that cooperation and standards can emerge from billions of diverse voices. If anything TCP/IP probably had as much to do with where we’re at today as anything. Computers were just expensive word processors until the Web emerged. Most of the utility of modern day computing lies in the Web which Gates completely didn’t see and tried to hold back.
Bill Gates was smart and exploited every opportunity that he could. However, it’s just as easy to make the argument that the industry is still trying to recover from they way he ruthlessly exploited Microsoft’s scale. It’s fine to recognize Mr. Gates’ actual achievements, but spare us the grandiose drivel.
The use of constituencies rather than parties is telling. The American political system’s implementation of Montesqueian separation of powers provides a durable, but extremely rigid political system by pitting institutions against each other (gridlock). The US system also uses a single member district plurality / winner-takes-all voting system that promotes two-party entrenchment. This balanced, if unwieldy, system tends to constrain American political thought within a well defined sphere of ideals or political realities (one of the reasons for the dearth of great political thought from within one of the modern world’s earliest democracies). What’s not clear is if Mark’s take is a sin of ommission–the result of an American cultural tendency to assume an immutable democratic process–or a nuanced understanding of realpolitik (in a domestic political connotation).
I’m left wondering, perhaps naively, whether lower transaction costs in the political sphere have resulted in a tsunami (party and process change) which we just aren’t aware of because we are in the relatively deep, open water the system, process and cultural bias provide; or whether we’ll just see wildly spectacular, but relatively unremarkable surface waves (issue constituencies emerging within the big-tent, two-party system). Technology has so far failed to deliver easier participation in actual democratic action (voting), but is successfully connecting people and values in social networks with which they can influence rather than act. The question is how empowering are these networks and just how much change can they exact? Will they be subsumed by the existing modus operandi, or fundamentally change the system?
Realistic video search seems to be a long ways off from where I sit, but I’m not sure I buy how disruptive tagging actually is. Yep, I’ve read Shirky, I use del.icio.us regularly and I appreciate and argue for tagging in the applications and services I use. The problem is I actually loathe it. Most of the time I can’t be bothered to tag anything. I’m lazy. I don’t tag diddly squat in Lightroom, and find tagging in del.icio.us a chore (I appreciate it later on when I’m looking something up, but man does it suck during creation). Granted, I’m a weirdo, but I don’t think I’m alone in being a belligerent and lazy tagger.
In my view it’s going to be up to client software to automatically tag items for me. Working for a screen capture / screen recording company I often think of this in terms of the the recording client tracking what application I’m using or what URL I’m visiting and attaching metadata to my output. This “contextual use” data would be stored alongside things that normally come to mind when you think of automatically generated metadata — time, operating system, geographic location, etc.
When you combine baseline metadata with contextual information I think you end up meeting the “good enough” threshold Bernard establishes (sprinkle in some good old demographic data and things get even more interesting). And this approach is not confined to screen recording clients and the media they spit out. All content creation clients need to get “smart” and provide this extra layer of data, or at least expose it as a set of automatic default tags which can easily be cleared away or supplemented.
Perhaps I’m just not seeing the forest for the trees — the open, public social media repositories on the web and massive scale of users may mean that none of us actually have to tag all that much. Or maybe speech recognition is all that’s needed to really need to drive down the tagging pain threshold. If you’ve got insight, I’m listening.