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Author: Gareth Knight
Gareth is a technology entrepreneur. Educated as a zoologist, he is a veteran of two dot com bubbles in London, one acquisition, and runsTechnovated, which has recently “pivoted” into an ecommerce play, and is backed by respected investors in London and South Africa.
Gareth is also the founder ofTECH4AFRICA.
Previously, Gareth served in London as Director of Product Management forMyHeritage.com, a global family genealogy company based in Tel Aviv.
If you’re a user of Digg, you should know that it recently redesigned and relaunched its website. This in itself is not that interesting since we always knew that was coming soon – however, what is interesting is that new categories have been added which make the site more useful to a wider audience.
On the topic of blogging, it seems worthwhile to talk a little about the blogging ecosystem, both for discussion and future reference (things change fast!). Like an ecosystem, blogging is a feedback mechanism, is most useful when you understand what is being said about you on the blogosphere, and unlike an ecosystem giving freely is more beneficial.
TechCrunch posts a heads up on ActiveCollab, a new open source alternative to popular online project management tool Basecamp, by Web 2.0 poster children 37Signals, and talks about the possible threat to current monopoly and current business model if the software is of high quality.
Recently Dell launched a blog where their “intention is to address issues that are important to use and our customers”, and at present I feel that can only be a good thing, so long as Dell are committed to listening and acting on what they’ve already stated.
I’ve been dealing with a few clients of late, most of which have heard the ruckus around this newfangled Web 2.0 thing, and most of which want to do something Web 2.0 with their projects. Some want to implement blogs, others are interested in Wiki’s and podcasting, and surprisingly most of them want some Ajax features. The list goes on.
That’s really good because I’m always happy to talk to people about getting more out of the web, specifically around creating better and more valuable user experiences, but the problem I have (and which I communicate) is that Web 2.0 doesn’t just stop at implementing a blog engine, podcasts, a Wiki or Ajax.
If you’ve been blogging for any length of time, you’ll probably feel that it’s old hat. The principle is simple – you talk about something that you’re interested and/or passionate about, and through that you find people that are interested in the same sort of things that you are.
Over time if you’re a good write or really passionate or you simply create / get hold of good content, you’ll rise to the top of that niche vertical interest, which in turn will result in more readers.
The problem is that until very recently blogging was kind of hard to do – you have to be at least a little technically literate to be able to use the blog software interfaces. The result being that until recently blogging definitely wasn’t part of the mainstream consciousness.
Web 2.0 means different things to different people, yet it isn't just about the web, but is also about how your organisation works. Think intranet, as well as internet. Does your organisation work in a 2.0 way?
At the moment there seems to be three primary focuses around Web 2.0:
1) there are the technologists who are figuring out new technologies (there are many libraries and frameworks out there already).
2) there are the marketers and entrepreneurs,who are trying to figure out how use new 2.0 technologies and principles to generate profits, or help empower consumers (call them business people for now) in some way.
3) and finally, there are the users, who are increasingly using and enjoying the results of these new technologies.
But how does all that filter into your organisation in a useful way, feeding into your own innovation cycle?
It used to be that there was this top down content pyramid in operation (operated by traditional media and the big online players), where the quantity and quality of news / content was controlled by relatively fewer organisations.
This is changing rapidly, becoming flatter and more diverse (we’re not really interested in the why’s right now), which can either be seen as an opportunity or a threat. Organisations that embrace this change are going to benefit (think Murdoch buying MySpace), so the question then becomes how one capitalises on the opportunity...
Let's look at some of the key strategic issues to consider.