It's been a busy few weeks, and not just in my life. I've done an emergency website that went predictably: from a quick can-you-just-get-me-something-up to a touchy when-or-will-we-be-paid-for-this because the clients kept adding content as they saw and thought about what they wanted (read: needed). -- Can we say "scope creep" three times?
Then when the website was looking about finished, the friend bribed me with food to come help him move his furniture. It felt pretty good to get all sweaty and stuff.
I wrote a quick book taking Internet marketing from the grand old days when search engines were the rage to the new world of blogs, RSS, and beyond. Predictably, the reviews were great. However, it didn't accomplish its purpose of putting a whole project on the same page. I went mumbling off, frustrated.
RSS has come a long way since being the playtoy of financial institutions and other active traders trying to keep up with the latest in commodity, inventory and stock prices; and another of the obscure "MLs" -- SGML, OPML, XML and all its variants with the accompanying XLSTs, and HTML. How did CSS not end up being an "ML"? I suppose it's because of XLST's.
The realization is just hitting the business and popular Net world. The raging Blogosphere knew it long ago.
Here is a handy Venn diagram from Feedburner CEO Dick Costolo illustrating how RSS feeds are not just for blogs anymore, but are becoming the way that all digital media (whether news or podcasts or video) is published and consumed. Think of RSS as a distribution mechanism for any kind of content. This has some serious implications (see "Media Wants to Be Free"). One implication is that content can more easily become atomized, which means that there needs to be a way for each atom to be tracked. (excerpted from Business2Blog)
I can't say I'm surprised at the Venn Diagram above, but I would have used a more active model -- something from Microsoft's Visio or the Open Source program, Dia -- a Visio clone written in GIMP; maybe even Flash, to illustrate.
The world is changing quickly on the Net.
What was an exciting new concept only 3 years ago has nearly reached the boring. Blogs are now maintained by 30% of Internet users in the US and Europe, where in 2003, it was a shaky 6-9%. Blogs are now mainstream media generating billions of dollars in revenue daily.
And people ask why I love this work?
When I was a kid we had all been exposed to multichannel communications. I met them first in the service. Others found them in classes in college or just because they wanted to know how the phones worked.
We read Scientific American articles on Super Large-scale Integration (SLI) as avidly as any fan magazine. Then discussed it all in earnest over drinks in bars in Santa Cruz, San Diego, Napa, and Lake Tahoe. (My all-time favorite was Nephele's with the open top hot tubs out back before the AIDS scare shut them down.) We hashed out layering like kids talking about a new video game today. Everyone wondered if it would ever really work.
I sometimes wonder if people realize how many of the great technological advances first appeared on bar napkins? Or how many girls walked off in a huff because the guys just wanted to talk tech?
We dreamt of the Internet. We argued it, and designed it over and over. We argued its impact; its future; the wonderful things that free international communication could bring.
Now, it's all here and more. It's truly strange to see your fantasy dragons come to life. I suppose it's a little like meeting a Hobbit.
I can say honestly that my generation changed the world. I suppose it remains to be seen whether for good or worse. I'll avoid wading through the muck surrounding terrorism, worms and trojans. -- Personally, I think it's a wonderful world.
Another of the Dumbest Moments in Business: We love a guy who stands behind his product. James Joseph Minder, chairman of gunmaker Smith & Wesson, is forced to resign when newspaper reporters discover that, before becoming a corporate exec, he’d spent 15 years behind bars for a string of armed robberies and an attempted prison escape.