Bowling a data strike

In 3 Tech Themes for the Next Decade, Tim Beyers bowls a VRM strike in The Motley Fool. Or maybe a spare, if we count one pin still standing, but sure to fall after the other two. Specifically…

1. Computing will become ever more distributed. This refers to cloud computing, but also to the idea that processing power, storage, memory, and even code can be spread across multiple networks and multiple geographic areas, yet still deliver value. One company I saw, 80legs, has software that crawls the Web with the help of tens of thousands of computers that donate CPU power when they’re idle. Talk about rebellious.

2. Raw data will become actionable data. All sorts of companies are talking about aggregating, slicing, analyzing, and compiling data from the dozens of social media sources out there, Twitter included. Talk centered on “activity streams” that express everything we’re doing online. Maybe that’s candy for the digital voyeurs among us, but I’m not sure there’s much value in publishing such streams. Regardless, it seems clear that we’ll see more data organized socially — perhaps like what Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) proposes with its new social network, Buzz.

3. More customer control. Doc Searls, a co-author of the 1999 landmark book and website The Cluetrain Manifesto, put it best to me in a conversation on the first night of Defrag. “I want to get to the point where demand leads supply.” He wants customers, not vendors, to take control.

The standing pin is in point #2. What we want is for people to control data personally, not just socially. Having “social” data may help you think you can paint a better target on a customer’s back; but it doesn’t make you any more friendly to the customer. And it won’t win you individual hearts and minds either. Improving a pain in the ass doesn’t make it a kiss.

If demand leads supply, as Tim and I agree about in point #3, customers need to be the points of integration for their own data, and the points of origination for what gets done with it. When that happens, pin #2 gets knocked down by #3.

The means are not yet here, but they will be. And once they are, there will be many new places for Motley Fool readers to place their bets.

1 Comment

  1. Ayala Rahav says:

    Hi,
    You are describing the road to what I call an icentered paradigm and write about in http://www.icentered.com – a user centered paradigm based on context- contexting people and not siloed interactions. personal context accumulated from fragmented and isolated interactions in walled gardens of separate providers,that are dispersed in many sites and clouds, to create a holistic context profile harmonized from all my web interactions, resulting in an accumulatively and implicitly fine tuned relevance building.

    Such a profile may reside somehwere in the cloud but all the data in it about me are my personal asset and should be in my control – mine to expose, share and allow marketers and 3 parties to capitalize on, by making me an equal partner in the food chains created around my data.
    It will lead to contextonomics – context based, user controlled economy.

    I would love to create a discussion around the paradigm shifts needed to empower such a new mindset as I describe in http://www.icentered.com/icentered#mindset and together, bottom up, whoever goes in that direction and believes that’s the way web culture and relations should evolve into, join in defining the cornerstones and the blueprints, for a new pact and data based dialogs between all participants in the digital food chains.

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