Thursday, December 13

2 Months in Internet Years

I've been travelling (Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam) for the last two months, so I've got some catching up to do.

Right now, it feels like the calm before the storm for digital natives (in Murdoch terminology). We had Ebay, Google Maps, YouTube, MySpace and Facebook (I think World of Warcraft Online deserves to be in this list). But nothing really new and innovative has recently has seemingly exploded into the mainstream.

The reason, IMHO, is that we've had the luxury of a deluge of innovative, useful and well finished applications over the last few years...and the mass market (the late majority) are now gradually catching-up. So the sites that were showcases for us in the industry are now adopted in the mainstream.

So what comes next? Well, with this mass market acceptance and use of internet applications comes the notion that the internet is more than just shopping or browsing content. Again, this is obvious stuff, but right now it actually matters because the mass market will finally use sites as applications. So Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Microsoft Picasa, Joost etc have a chance to grow exponentially.

Plus, I expect in the next 18 months, finally, web on your mobile will become accepted, useful and cheap. And as a result it will be the next boom in digital business. Nokia, Vodaphone, Google, Microsoft have been betting on this for years through acquisitions and marketing. But now the UK public are really beginning to accept it and this is the key.

Devices are suitable and easy to use (we can thank the iphone for forcing the hand of manufacturers/networks). Contracts are getting sensible pricing for internet data (the wifi threat forces the networks hand). And useful applications which people are already familiar with are available; cashless payments, maps, photo storage, skype...

All of this points to a new phase of digital entrepreneurship - growing from new uses of the web, on new devices, by new people. Most of these new future success stories are already out there as alpha/betas. And as with all digital successes to date the winners will be chosen by the public, not the corporates.

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