Kout.me looks interesting

Check this out as the founders of Kout discuss their start-up an their online payment service.

Hat tip – Robert Scoble

  

Tom Friedman discovers the cloud

Tom Friedman is usually very good at explaining the disruptive influence of new technology and the implications for the global economy, even if he isn’t the first (or second) to notice something.

The latest phase in the I.T. revolution is being driven by the convergence of social media — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Groupon, Zynga — with the proliferation of cheap wireless connectivity and Web-enabled smartphones and “the cloud” — those enormous server farms that hold and constantly update thousands of software applications, which are then downloaded (as if from a cloud) by users on their smartphones, making them into incredibly powerful devices that can perform myriad tasks.

The emergence of the cloud, explained Alan Cohen, a vice president of Nicira, a new networking company, “means than anyone can have the computing resources of Google and rent it by the hour.” This is speeding up everything — innovation, product cycles and competition.

The October issue of Fast Company has an article about the designer Scott Wilson, who thought of grafting the body of an iPod Nano onto colorful wristbands, turning them into watchlike devices that could wake you up and play your music. He had no money, though, to bring his concept to market, so he turned to Kickstarter, the Web-based funding platform for independent creative projects. He posted his idea on Nov. 16, 2010, reported Fast Company, and “within a month, 13,500 people from 50 countries had ponied up nearly $1 million.” Apple soon picked up the product for its stores. Said Alexis Ringwald, 28, who recently founded an education start-up, her second Silicon Valley venture: “I have many friends — they introduce themselves as ‘reformed’ Wall St. bankers and lawyers — who have abandoned conventional careers and are now launching start-ups.”

Some like Rich Kaarlgard have been describing this as the “cheap revolution” for years. Friedman is explaining the new developments in that area. We now have it all at our fingertips all the time. It’s a powerful and exciting development. Kickstarter is a great crowdsourcing example that thrives in this environment.

Friedman uses the column to contrast Wall Street and Silicon Valley. It’s a good read.

  

Google’s flaws lead to Huffington’s huge payday and Demand Media’s IPO

The Huffington Post sold for $315 to AOL this week, and Demand Media recently completed an IPO. In many ways, these events validate the strategy of gaming the system. Google is a beast that can be gamed, and both these operations did it very well.

HuffPo is notorious for hysterical headlines and their lefty slant, but they were also very well organized and filled a void in the marketplace. In many ways they deserve their success. But, a big part of their success has to do with gaming Google’s search results. Their editors find interesting stories, do a post on it with a link back, but HuffPo usually gets all the search traffic. The other sites usually don’t complain, because links from HuffPo provide really good traffic as well.

Demand Media also fills a void, as they use their own algorithm to find potential search results that need to be filled with content. Then they pay know-nothing writers (well, I guess some of them know what they are writing about) to create a short article covering the topic. AOL is even trying to copy the strategy. Many now refer to sites like Demand Media as content mills, and Google might be addressing the issue, but Demand Media has already scored their IPO and Google’s search results are littered with lame content at the top.

Gaming the system pays.

  

Will the real Mark Zuckerberg please stand up?

A gracious if not a bit awkward Mark Zuckerberg joined Jesse Eisenberg and Andy Samberg, who was impersonating Zuckerberg, onstage for the opening of SNL last night. It wasn’t particularly funny, but Zuckerberg sure helped his image quite a bit with the appearance.

  

Why Groupon balked

I thought the folks at Groupon were nuts to turn down Google’s offer of $6 billion, but Henry Blodget explains why. The article makes sense and it was frankly an eye-opener.

  

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