Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ten years ago, companies would call up and say I need a digital strategy.' Now, it's I need a green strategy.'

--- Chris Hunter, a former energy manager at Johnson & Johnson, who works for the environmental consulting firm GreenOrder. Quoted in BusinessWeek story Little Green Lies, about the difficulty in making "being green" profitable.

The story features Austen Schendler and his experience trying to follow Amory Lovins' evangelism and help Aspen Skiing be a green company. According to BW, he sums up his experience thus: "I've succeeded in doing a lot of sexy projects yet utterly failed in what I set out to do. How do you really green your company? It's almost f------ impossible."

Friday, October 19, 2007

The value of a social network is defined not only by who's on it, but by who's excluded

--- Paul Saffo, quoted in The Economist, "Social graph-iti: There's less to Facebook and other social networks than meets the eye," Oct 18th 2007

Quote in context, from the article:

This analogy to address books points to an important limitation for social networks, such as Facebook, compared with older sorts of network, such as the postal or telephone systems. These benefit from Metcalfe's Law, which says that the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of its users. In other words, the more people have phones, the more useful they become. This “network effect” leads to rapid adoption and puts up barriers for new entrants.

But unlike other networks, social networks lose value once they go beyond a certain size. “The value of a social network is defined not only by who's on it, but by who's excluded,” says Paul Saffo, a Silicon Valley forecaster. Despite their name, therefore, they do not benefit from the network effect. Already, social networks such as “aSmallWorld”, an exclusive site for the rich and famous, are proliferating. Such networks recognise that people want to hobnob with a chosen few, not to be spammed by random friend-requests.

This suggests that the future of social networking will not be one big social graph but instead myriad small communities on the internet to replicate the millions that exist offline. No single company, therefore, can capture the social graph. Ning, a fast-growing company with offices directly across the street from Facebook in Palo Alto, is built around this idea. It lets users build their own social networks for each circle of friends.

So are Facebook and its graph really worth many billions?

Monday, October 08, 2007

A "trusted computer" is a computer they can trust not to do what I want

--- David Clark, comment at TPRC 2007, Sunday 30 Sep 2007, during the panel "Research Initiatives for a Future Internet"

Saturday, October 06, 2007