Speaking of cash rich stratas of society – last night at an interesting panel discussion about niche social networks I had the unpleasant experience of hearing someone talk about ‘A Small World‘, the private online community for those rich enough to aspire to own their own jet. Their goal is, to quote “Aggregate the world’s most interesting people with the world’s most interesting information”. Wow. I think they meant ‘arrogant’ instead of ‘interesting’, but I guess if your life’s interests are the latest Hermes purse and how to spend daddy’s money they knock yourselves out in finding new ways to do that. No really – knock yourselves out. Hard. Of course to the high rolling brands that this affluent clique want, this website is a godsend – so advertising and marketing dollars flood in there.
Now obviously this site didn’t create this strata of people, they just cater to them, but what’s fascinating is that this site, along with daily gossip columns, makes these people much more visible than before. Strangely, most people don’t like what they stand for – in fact in the presentation last night a noticeable coldness swept over most of the audience, full of those folks thrilled with the current ‘democritization of content creation’. I wonder how long before the proletariat will rise up and overthrow them? Or at least create an amusing video mashup on youTube that everyone watches… I can see it now, ‘A Small World: The Real Life’ – it’s the next Bold and the Beautiful.
Yesterday flickr changed their policies on ‘old skool’ users, that is to say the folks who signed up for the site prior to the Yahoo! takeover and requirement that you use Yahoo IDs. They also decided to place limits on the number of tags and contacts you can use – ostensibly for performance reasons. Turns out people are mighty pissed at this, and in fact I probably would be were it not that I already have a Yahoo ID from years back.
Of course the guy who is mighty pissed happens to be CEO of Zooomr.. an easily mistyped Flickr rip off that, every time I’ve visited it, is slow, badly designed and generally seems to be nowhere near as good as flickr even with these limitations. So I’m sure he’s happy and will pick up a few of the dissenters, the question is – how many old skool users, many of whom are big influencers in the online photo world, will leave now and how many accounts in general will become dormant. Time will tell.
On a related note though, I’ve been at the Always On conference the last few days – and in an interesting panel on ‘contagious web sites’ this morning discussion was made about how users are always pissed off when changes come out and, yes, you will lose a few – but the question becomes how many leave. I suspect the answer is not so many.
The other day mentioned how much I like New York for it’s generally sunny weather, even when it’s cold – and today is no exception. Bright, clear and chilly. Today’s New York experience is all about the trouble with choices. New York is full of them. Everywhere you turn there’s another choice:
“Do I take go east one block and downtown one or will it the lights be in my favour if I go downtown one block then east one?”
“Should I start a Web 2.0 company for no pay in the hope of millions down the road and a sense of self-accomplishment, or get paid enough money to live in this city?”
“Should I get this cab that just swerved dangerously in front of the other one to get my fare, or the other guy who looks like he’s wearing coke bottles for glasses hunched over his wheel?”
And the worst of them all: “So what do you feel like eating? I feel like sushi.” which then inevitably leads to a full description of what every person in the group has eaten for the last three days, so they couldn’t have that – well, maybe they could, until eventually you end up in the restaurant next to you.
Today was a food choice day – luckily the group only consisted of me. I was sitting in the office for a good 15 minutes as I mulled over which of the 200+ lunch places to eat from on my block alone. Then i plumped for soap from Hale & Hearty. So I wandered over there and spent another ten or so minutes in contemplation of their near thirty soups before I made my choice. Chicken and corn chowder if you want to know. Then, of course, I got to the checkout and realised I’d forgotten my Hale & Hearty regular soup swiller card, so I now have another of those to add to the collection all with just one of the ten necessary stamps.
Note to self: New web 2.0 idea. Let people pool their ‘regular soup’ cards to get one soup to share between them.
Two hours later and I’m hungry again. Still, there’s plenty to choose from for snacks round here…
Just read an interesting post on O’Reilly Radar discussing techniques for making your web 2.0 development team happy. The basic premise is – if you have intelligent, driven coders you need to show them a shiny vision they can buy in to and let them go at it. Not sure it works in all situations, as some folks like to earn mega-bucks working in financial services after a normal ‘9 to 5’ day. Go read it and see what you think.