Wednesday, July 26

Pollocks to idle minutes

http://www.jacksonpollock.org/
. Be warned, this is addictive.

Sunday, July 23

It's got a Long Tail but this ain't no Diplodocus


It's multi-coloured and it's got the longest tail you've ever seen, at it's front it moves very very fast, at the back it's so slow you almost can't see it moving. This thing never sleeps. Oh, and we think it's carnivorous, it seems to eat everything in its path. It is the internet.

I've spent a lot of time recently studying the Long Tail for some clients. Now, if your not well versed in this read The Long Tail. At first glance it is a simple concept, almost blindingly obvious, and easy to quickly pass over. All the small, less popular items fulfill a million niches and add up to good revenue. I'm sure in boardrooms and marketing meetings around the world it is the latest meeting buzz word.

Spend time studying the tail, don't skim it. Analyse it's length, depth and value. Look at the customers shopping there and how they relate to buyers/users of popular items at the front of the tail. Doing so will throw up a hundred and one business ideas.

I guarantee that your customers are already consuming "niche" goods/services in the long tail, in your industry. Does it make sense to say, "sure, you can buy Worldwide Travel Insurance from us but you will have to go elsewhere for Ski cover"? Even if you can't service that tail, can you refer to those that do and earn a commission? That's what Amazon's MarketPlace does.

Many companies are now being challenged by young, nimble upstarts. But heritage, history and back-catalogues could be the ultimate differentiator. Something new businesses can't compete with.

Whilst the tail might move so slowly that your CEO may not see it, I suspect in many industries, it might be the tail rather than the teeth, that bites you.

India China Comparison

There's a good article on the BBC today about the two biggest populations in the world charging ahead to be the world's biggest superpower. I've not been to India so I'm yet to see the other perspective.

"many who are hoping that India, with its freedom and democracy, will win this new race to become the next economic super power. I am not so sure."

India struggles to catch China

Saturday, July 8

Play "Fads or Future"


Yo-Yo, Rubiks Cube, Break Dancing, Tamagotchi, LiveStrong Wristbands...

Things move so quickly in technology that it's hard to spot the Fad from the new industry. The first-mover advantage has such a big part to play in many tech businesses. If it's fresh, fun or useful it's gonna get passed around the world in weeks. Just as you've plugged in a bank of servers to cope with new found fame (Ha, ha, remember WELCOME TO MY HOMEPAGE!!! I KISS YOU) will it all dissappear again in a flash?

For the more substantial sites which of the current crop will pull through? Let's play Fad or Future:

Ebay

YouTube

Digg

MySpace

Wikipedia

Craigslist

Flickr

In my view the weakest link in this list is Craigslist. It's struggling to have the impact overseas that it's had in the States, plus it isn't connected in to other internet businesses (yet).

Right now, all of these businesses are benefiting from FAD take-up. I happy to click to see anything that's new - even if I only visit it once or twice. I think Ebay may suffer from this, it's fun whilst it's new but doesn't it just become a place to sell old stuff - full of professional buyers & sellers? As it matures the casual users may subside (perhaps out of frustration for being gazumped in the last second). YouTube could suffer from this new FAD curse.


Broadband penetration is still very much in its infancy globally, so most of these sites have traffic somewhere to the left of the green line. But unless they keep it fresh, fun and be clear about the propositions, they can just as quickly be the next Fad.