Most of the optimism on the panel came from the fact that “this time it’s different.” Bandwidth and hardware is cheaper, storage is cheaper, we know how to scale effectively, we can do more with less, we won’t get fooled again.
Then Ted Rheingold of Dogster brought up the point that costs are rising again. While we may be saving on infrastructure accounts, traditional business costs for things such as rent, salaries, and consulting are creeping back up. This has a ripple effect on startups which need to put this into their business plan. If they need more funds to run the company, they need to raise more money in financing which requires a greater return and before you know it, you’re back in the bubble again. Almost on queue, today’s Wall Street Journal cover story (“Tech Companies in the Red Pursue IPO Gold“) talks about IPOs for non-profitable businesses.
Dave Hornick on the consumer media business. “There are two markets to serve and any successful service needs to serve both.
- People with more time than money.
- People with more money than time.
Napster failed because it only served the former and didn’t start making money until it served the later.
Lane Becker views customer service as the next great untapped opportunity for web 2.0 optimization.
All panalists view USA Today’s addition of digg-like voting and recommendations as turning point. Until then, there was no mainstream media company doing this and the model to emmulate was digg or slashdot. Now, with Gannett serving as a validation, others will follow.
Nice touch, the moderator had each of the representatives of each company introduce and describe their competitor’s company. Everyone was quite complimentary of each other until the Last.fm representative described Pandora as a bunch of people in an, “ivory tower.”
Pandora vs. Last.fm – both use collaborative filtering but Pandora uses human “experts” to classify the music in their library while Last.fm is based on algorithms with very little human intervention.
Pandora’s editors play a key role in “jump starting” the insertion of music into their “radio stations” that make up the collective library of genres of Pandora. Many of the songs they surface would have never made it into rotation on other systems unless they were pushed there by their categorization.
Transcript of Bruce Sterling’s rant