Tuesday, June 05, 2007


I might be misquoting here, but I believe I once read in Playboy Interview with John Kenneth Galbraith that his biggest disappointment with people was that they sought out data that supported their currently held postions and opinions, and rejected all other data. With that firmly in mind, I nonetheless want to share Guy's post entitled : By the Numbers: How I built a Web 2.0, User-Generated Content, Citizen Journalism, Long-Tail, Social Media Site for $12,107.09. In it, he details what he spent, in time and in money, to launch his often reviled, and often visited, new site called Truemors. Of course, his initial success has a lot to do with the fact that it's Guy Kawasaki that launching it, but let's face it : $12,107.09. As I recall, that was probably the monthly fedex bill for the smallest of the 2000 class of VC funded startups.

I call your attention to it to illustrate my currently held belief, that service providers are so easy and simple to deploy that the game for all businesses has fundamentally changed, not only for service providers. As the costs to deploy these sorts of services goes down, the required market share to support a busines is much smaller, allowing much more targeted businesses to be created. This drives my focus into the new Web services based architectures, which are ideal to support businesses exactly like this. I was not surprised to see an Amazon Web services URL flash by on Truemors...

As I look at the recent crop of Voice Over IP startups, I use this picture of the future to predict the success of my industry peers. It's why I like Twitter as a small, bootstrapped place, but have a hard time seeing valuations that would support massive investment into it. The technical implementation of Twitter, to telecom standards, is nearly trivial. The mob effect and it's value to the mob seems marginal to me, but the service and infrastructure are useful, and if they stay close to customers that will pay, they'll do quite well. Apparently, Twitter is out to raise some dough. For their sake, I hope they fail there, and succeed by sticking to their knitting.

I think I ought to get some sort of report card together to help me keep my thoughts. How would Twitter fare?
  • I'd give them a B for technology, as they did a good job with integrating existing technologies, but have not really made any new technology or architecture improvements. A decent job there, but not exactly Stanford or MIT.
  • I'd give them an A- for business if they don't take investment (and a definite C if they do). Twitter's service is still very horizontal, and as such, can be commoditized. However, the service itself is quite cool, and has many applications, and they have first mover advantage.
  • We need to give the Twits an A for buzz. Like a friend of mine in the Valley says, they love Twitter because they showed that using text messages was something that people might even like to do. I agree. I'm a fan.

No comments: