Instagram and Life in the Haze: When Will Users Wake Up?

Twitter 6x6

Twitter 6×6 (Photo credit: Steve Woolf)

Twitter is hot today with Instagram‘s TOS changes, which mark Facebook‘s intent to bring their acquisition more fully into line with their own policies and emerging business model. The company quickly jumped in with a clarification – so brief it can reasonably fail to get to grips with the issues at stake. What this signifies is yet another sampling of the underlying problem with mainstream social media platforms and their way of seeking to do business.

In a word, it is use consciousness. Users sign on to these services in a haze of enthusiasm and with at best a partial understanding of how it is that company XYZ intends to make a bunch of billionaires out of giving you free stuff. And no, it is not by magic.

As we know – and as Twitter has kept reminding us, somewhat painfully – it is considered OK by investors to get a service up and running without needing to have that question resolved – the 21st century version of 1990s dot-com eyeballs hopefulness. But there is not an indefinite number of ways in which this can be done. Three are obvious. Sticking ads in front of your noses. Grabbing a portion of your intellectual property. And messing with your private info. The first and the third may work together. The second and the third are subsets of the same thing – su casa es mi casa, as it were.

One of the great mysteries of our time is why none of these companies has taken a traditional commercial approach to the issues involved – and offered their services (search, social, pics, whatever) on subscription; and/or offered a fee to purchase or licence your stuff. Given the vast sums we pay every month to the telecoms who enable us to access all this “free” stuff, it is hardly as if we don’t give evidence of valuing the service.

But my core point: The uber biz model under which most of these web-based services are operating, and on which they have raised many billions of dollars from the wise/gullible/hopeful investment community and recruited hundreds of millions of subscribers, is that the user will be happy to live in the haze, signing endless consantly shifting TOS and privacy statements unread, and handing carte blanche to those who can turn their 0s and 1s into serious cash flow.

Here’s my take. Users will begin to wake up, in ever larger numbers. They will grasp that their increasingly quantified selves are traded in a human meat market. They will (as the Instagram imbriglio illustrates) really resent the notion that the work of their hands, brains and eyes is available to their new feudal masters to use as they choose. And whoosh, down will come the empires built on haziness and the naive and disrespectful assumption that users don’t care.

And so? Well, first, as I keep saying, the financing and governance of companies in the social space needs to be aligned with, um, well, the social space, and not the top-down awfulness that drove the steel barons a century back. But I am not holding my breath. Second, for the moment, we need the steel barons of our digital lives to do their users the honor of treating them like decision-making consumers and economic agents. Yes please, I want search; what’s the monthly fee to access it and retain 100% control of every ounce of data you get from my end? Yes please,.email; and what’s the extra perm month to add on the pic app?

What’s ahead? Huge advantage for Facebook-esque options (as barriers to entry keep falling and interoperability handles the network effect issue) that are run like Credit Unions with some form of mutual ownership and capitalization, and on the leading edge of socmed business. And, in tandem, fee-based services that leave us with our privacy and IP intact. And, of course, the option to sell, rent, lease all what we have, should we so choose.

The future is not life in the haze.

Instagram Rings its Own Death Knell and Leaps to the Mainstream | Constellation Research Inc..

Please may we have a social Social Network?

Please may we have a social Social Network?

So who enjoys irony? Facebook is one of the least “social” companies on the face of planet earth. In fact on any governance spectrum you will find it jostling with the most archaic of our corporate behemoths. I almost compared it with News Corp., and in terms of board/share control issues there are strong parallels. But even @rupertmurdoch is a serious tweep. He gets social in a way we have yet to see any evidence that Zuck does. Read that sentence again, slowly.

I have written before of Facebook’s fundamental problems – interoperability is coming way before this Calif. corporation is permitted to become the new

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Français : Logo de Facebook Tiếng Việt: Logo Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

global comms everything. Before then, it will go the way of Yahoo and MySpace as barriers to entry keep collapsing. And what was once cool is already becoming infested with grandparents. In general, the more digital a company’s biz model, the faster it will age.

But this is a separate issue, and it would have been perfectly possible for a Facebook-like-entity to emerge run by people deeply imbued with the social idea. Hard to say this, as their guy demands enormous admiration and has mine, but in today’s corporate America MZ is a leader in anti-social as well as old-style board (or rather non-board) governance. In a world of growing alignment, this is 180 territory.

So the news that Facebook’s rather curious experiment with democracy has, through the democratic process itself, as it were, been abandoned, is a joke wrapped in a joke. And Facebook’s protestations to the contrary (see the great article below from Gigaom) just make it worse. There is an indefinite number of better ways in which Fb could have arranged its entry into the world of democratic societies. The approach they have taken lies somewhere between Napoleon and pre-Arab spring MENA.

Which raises a question that is much more interesting: when shall we see the emergence of corporate entities operating in the “social” space – a space that we know will define our relationships social, cultural, commercial, political, from now on – that both understand and choose to act in alignment with the social idea?

My sense is that while this may not be true of corporations delivering business in other sectors – some of which are slowly being attuned to the social idea – for social media enterprises there is no way around a governance structure that is aligned with social and therefore that cannot simply replicate the IPO-driven start-up culture or indeed any conventional model in which the users (who, of course, may or may not be the paying customers) are fundamentally distinguished from the owners of capital and their agents in management. That is, we need innovative approaches to corporate financing and governance that align with the social model.

At one level, this is hardly revolutionary. One of the most interesting features of C19th industrial revolution societies was the emergence of mutual models. In the UK the co-operative societies, still successful wholesale/retail businesses, and building societies, which demutualized into commercial banks during the past 30 years. In the US, credit unions remain. I’m not proposing these as templates. But one can readily understand why Facebook could tolerate the democratic principle only so far as the market would permit the BOD to hand responsibility to groups of users. Hence the ridiculously high voter turnout required, hundreds of millions of people to address technical issues of privacy, which has given the whole effort a pantomime character. And (sorry, but this is true) made democracy look like tomfoolery at a time when respect for democracy as culture and not simply narrow process lies at the core of the global crisis of government and legitimacy, from Russia to China to the Middle East.

So: I’m waiting for a social social network. It may be too much to hope for Twitter to take the lead, though what a superb example it could offer. Aside from social biz approaches to financing, or old-style mutualization (all active tweeters after two years get X shares . . .), perhaps the Gates Foundation will buy it out and establish a user-run governance model (and users include names like Dell, Murdoch, and Branson; the top business brains on the planet hold this network in affection and find serious value here).

Point is: We need social social networks. Facebook is pre-eminently not that. Which is one of several reasons why its future is not all that bright.

Why it’s a good thing that Facebook has given up on democracy — Tech News and Analysis.

via Please may we have a social Social Network?.

Unsocial Networks

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg (Wikipedia)

Facebook’s decision to draw back from one of the few evidences in the governance of social networks that they understand that social is actually coming to mean for the future of the corporate effort is perhaps no great surprise. For a company whose governance is designed top-down like that of a 19th century steel magnate (or, to be fairer, well, 21st century News Corp), the anomaly of leaving users free to make actual decisions, always open to being “exploited” (aka used) by users actually interested in said decisions, could not long endure.

But the question is raised, yet again: when will it be that companies in the ever-broader “social” space will evolve governance (and financing) models that are actually suited to social?

None of the major players has given that thought much thought, so far. The Facebook voting thing being nixed was a vestigial organ from an earlier, pre-IPO, day when the visionary aspects of the company had more logic than they do now (though, for my part, I have no reason to believe that MZ believes them any less). Something much bigger, and strategic, is needed for these companies to align their social mission with their social identity as vast networks of users. The future will not lie with playing cat-and-mouse on privacy and imposing corporate policies from (in Fb’s case) unbelievably non-diverse boards. And for future read profit.

I billion and rising. Well, we shall see. Think Kodak and RIM and HP and (ouch, ouch) Apple for curves whose rise is halted.

My take? MS soldiers on; Apple crests very soon in all respects; Fb is close to its zenith. MZ, like SJ and BG, has earned his place on Mount Rushmore. What interests me is what, and who, come nest; and how they manage to align their corporate efforts with their users. Hint: it may involve actually engaging this thing we call “social.”

Oh, and Twitter? As a company, it is in the balance, for just this same reason. Its daily users include some of the very smartest minds on the planet – from @rupertmurdoch down. The interest of the Twitter high command in what they/we think is somewhere around zero.

Facebook to users: Please vote to abolish your right to vote | Internet & Media – CNET News.

To the Bankers of Sibos: Integrate and Innovate from the Board down

Banking District

Credit: bsterling

The world’s global financial community’s annual bankers’ “Davos” should be a time for urgent reflection and remediation for our financial institutions.

It’s time for high-level integration for innovation – and that begins with the Board and the C-Suite of this very traditional set of institutions at a time of explosive disruption. They have a long way to go.

 “The past,” as novelist L.P Hartley famously wrote, “is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” When it comes to the future, we ain’t seen nothing yet. The pace of change is picking up very fast, and institutions – and whole industries – unable to keep up are finding themselves on the wrong side of history. 

Let’s be candid. Banking has never been everyone’s favorite industry. Hardly a customer has had a consistently happy experience on the retail end. And the events of 2008 have left a sour taste that may last a generation – like the losses that millions of citizens have accrued as a result. “Too big to fail” sticks in the craw of Americans of left and right – and makes capitalism, markets, risk, look ridiculous. It takes a lot to make Big Oil look good. And one way or another, the business-as-usual revolving door relationship between Wall Street and the Treasury/supervisory agencies and the Hill and the While House (donors . . .) is tottering. It may survive an election cycle or two. Not more.

So what’s ahead for the bankers? They are sailing into a perfect storm.

First, three potent waves they need to ride. If they don’t, can’t, won’t, then all the clever innovation ideas on the planet will not help them.

1. Service. Banking has to rebuild its brand from the ground up as a “service” industry that is actually seen and experienced as a service. Example: GEICO. Insurance is boring and costly. GEICO customers love their company. I called them the other day to sort out a problem, looked forward to it, enjoyed the experience, and am smiling as I recall it. Banking must be seen to be re-inventing itself as a service.

2. Shared. While “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) has now been almost universally adopted as an element in corporate strategy, by banks like everyone else, it continues to be handled by most players as an adjunct exercise. Michael Porter‘s notorious prognosis that “shared value” is properly the only source of value, incorporating the traditional bottom line and the “CSR” extra, has been treated with derision in private and sometimes in public. Banking must be seen as a leader in building shared value.

3. Social. “Social media” remains an outlier in most mainstream businesses, and barely registers in banking. Not only is social vital to customer service and marketing; more fundamentally it is emerging as the driver of innovation and the continuing renewal of corporate culture – which, as we know, is the cause of all competitive advantage and value creation. Banking must be seen to take the lead in social engagement.

Second, two (of many) special challenges coming their way.

4. Retail. Retail banking is ripe for dramatic innovation. It is almost entirely mechanical, and the perfect subject for machine intelligence. While we debate separating retail from banks’ investment operations, the former is peeling off in its own. The launch in the past few weeks of the Wal-Mart/American Express Bluebird debit-card based banking system is the first major shock. Look at the fee structure (to the consumer, there are none at all), the utter convenience (I opened an account online in literally 3 minutes), the services (huge range and they will be added). Traditional retail banking is ripe for collapse.

5. New currencies. This is more esoteric, and for another post, but from barter to Bitcoin the consumer need for standard money-based transactions has begun to shift. Just begun.

Third: What banking needs in the midst of all this and more is the skill-set it has so far shown it lacks above all else: flexibility, imagination, the capacity to turn on a dime, all those smarts that are distinguishing both New Economy successes and traditional organizations demonstrating themselves capable of re-invention. The core enabling capacity lies in a combination of board governance and executive leadership, and, specifically:

 6. Diversity across generations, genders, perspectives, and disciplines. I discussed this in respect of gender diversity and engagement in social media in an earlier post –

We know the problem, but to give an example: in a recent study American Banker found that of 9 large financial institutions operating in California 8 had boards that were at leas 80% white and 80% male.

It’s unfortunate, to my mind, that gender diversity issue has been widely perceived as an issue of equity. It’s about value. And whereas in times of stasis a non-diverse board may have worked very well, in times of revolutionary change is represents the voluntary addition of a huge and indefensible element of risk to every decision. Boards and C-Suites need to represent diverse perspectives of all kinds. Only thus will these institutions designed to thrive in an entirely different environment have an opportunity to flourish a second time around in a dramatically different and ever-changing marketplace.

Otherwise, as Kodak and other failed and failing once-great companies like RIM are constantly reminding us, the market is unforgiving. Technology and other emergent forces are toppling the very assumptions that made old-style organizations successful. The logic of service, shared value, social media, and radical diversity at the top level, is finally the logic of the market.

My take? The next decade will see the disruption of financial services on a scale comparable with what has happened to print publishing in the last one. There is everything to play for. But thanks to Moore’s Law and globalization and other forces on the loose in C21, the clock is speeding uo all the time.



Sibos – Sibos – Osaka, 29 Oct – 1 Nov 2012.

Three Digital Fallacies Holding Back our Top Companies

Andrew McAfee Talk at the Berkman Center

Andrew McAfee Talk at the Berkman Center (Photo credit: Berkman Center for Internet & Society)

Make no mistake, a fundamental embrace of the revolution just beginning in digital communication is core to every company planning to be around in more than a couple of years. Not many (any?) of them really get it. Here are three key reasons.

1. The “social” fallacy. We use this term, yet it merges, blends, squishes together many divergent phenomena – from the chit-chat/cat pic end of the data explosion to what are still generally Sears-catalog marketing efforts – to what we are really talking about. Andrew McAfee recently explained why he coined the term “Enterprise 2.0” and avoids the term “social” with “hard-headed” C-Suite types, as it suggests something soft. I’m not suggesting we can give it up, or that “2.0” language (itself now, well, jaded) will answer. But we have a big branding problem here.

2. The digital/IRL fallacy. Someone tweeted today that in a year or two 25% of business will have a Chief Digital Officer. O boy. The “social” revolution is not about segmenting off yet another slice of the dispersed responsibilities of the C-Suite; it’s about integration. And now, I suppose, we await a new fad: the Chief Integration Officer. Integrative thinking comes very hard to “functional” people and, in a fundamental way, is rendering them systematically dysfunctional. There are a lot of people in high places in these organizations who need to check out their golf swing.

3. The generational fallacy. OK, there is a certain utility in throwing around “digital natives” language, but it’s getting not just passe but dangerous. The depressing lack of engagement of CIOs in social media (now well-documented) is nothing to do with their age. It’s to do with their inability to flex, to roll with the continuing punches of innovation, to grasp a rising level of risk as a friend, to grab the keys to organizational transformation – and value creation.

I’ve argued before that the neglect of social, side by side with a far more long-standing refusal to bring women into the top echelons, reveals a deep-seated death-wish on the part of U.S. business. What we need above all is to reframe the questions raised in the search for value, and rebrand the resources of the 21st century economy. Now.

What Sells CEOs on Social Networking.

#Risk needs to be at the Center of our Thinking. All of us. All the time.

Front page of The New York Times July 29, 1914...

NYTimes July 29, 1914, “AUSTRIA FORMALLY DECLARES WAR ON SERVIA” announces the beginning of World War I (Credit: Wikipedia)

The latest New York Times carries two striking pieces that are both mainly about risk. One is a big piece on the data centers that constitute “the cloud” and consist of acres of servers humming with power. The other, an informative opinion piece on the next pandemic, and its potential sources.

We tolerate carnage on the road, are 100% risk averse in the air, and rarely think about it anywhere else. Yet risk awareness likes at the heart of all complex decisions, and this becomes more true the faster change takes place and the more disruptive innovation shows itself to be.

Carry that thought into work and play as this new week starts. It can only help.

Data Centers Waste Vast Amounts of Energy, Belying Industry Image –

5 Labor Day Questions for America

Portrait of Henry Ford (ca. 1919)

Henry Ford (ca. 1919) (Wikipedia)

As we celebrate Labor Day in 2012, we confront the hardest questions about our future. The Industrial Revolution, for all its early horrors, offered vast employment opportunities and a higher standard of living for many millions of people. It enabled general education and powered democracy. It facilitated the consumer economy. The vast companies set up by the steel barons and Henry Ford and their like provided lifetime employment for hardworking men and women. The companies remain – but we know that’s all over.

These are my questions. To America, to its leaders, to its people. They aren’t partisan (the big issues no longer fit the partisan divide). They’re tomorrow’s questions. Unless we have answers, we can’t make today’s decisions.

And before we go any further: There is something terribly Narcissistic about “knowledge workers,” people like you and me, who hang on Twitter and blog and one way or another are shaping the future. We claim no superior status to those who labor hard with their hands. We may shape the conversation, but it is to our embarrassment if we do hot shape it to include them – just as the uber-rich are to be despised if they find their self-worth in their net worth. It is together, as fellow members of Homo sapiens, radically equal, women and men, in the equation of human worth, that we are called to tackle the greatest of questions of C21. Kindly join me.

1. How do we create jobs, when the result of our smartest innovative thinking has been to create machines to do jobs for us? (Level 1, this is a problem. Level 2, it’s the end of the world as we know it.) More about this:

2. How do we foster innovative, risk-taking culture when health benefits remain tied mainly to jobs? (Listen up, both GOP and Dems; the contrast with Europe is remarkable; in the world’s other main market employment is essentially irrelevant for healthcare.)

3. How do we prepare our kids for an environment in which they will have multiple jobs several careers, but in which far more will depend on their initiative at every point? On their taking responsibility. On their “de-schooling” themselves. (Kids are more cossetted and green-housed than ever before; the worst possible preparation. And this question is not about schools.)

4. How do we re-engineer our public schools to lead the world again? The STEM mantra (science, tech, engineering, math) is exactly that. A mantra. Even if we revolutionize our public schools (ha!) it will take half a generation to make a difference. How do we build a techno-literate culture, at all levels?

5. And the fate of the essentially uneducated? Aside from the millions of poorly-educated and/or poorly-gifted kids, we have a massive underclass who are hard to employ now and are fast becoming impossible ever to employ. Is this the hardest question?

There are answers, in part and pro tem; but unless these are the questions there will never be sufficient focus on those answers to drive home the changes they require.

I’m Voting for the Long View

USGS satellite image of Washington, D.C., modi...

USGS satellite image of Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seal of the United States Office of Science an...

Office of Science and Technology Policy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m in my favored place for writing, which isn’t even a coffee house (my second choice) but an airplane. Just enough room to type, zero distractions (United Airlines has yet to discover wifi), and as often happens stimulating company. This time, bumped into an old friend. He’s in the space sector, which after nearly half a century of hibernation has suddenly awakened. SpaceX Dragon. NASA’s Mars Curiosity. Suddenly after all that clunky Shuttle stuff (which was also vastly expensive), and the bakolite Space Station, America seems to be moving again.

There are big issues at stake in November, and we take sides. Some of us are highly partisan and fiercely loyal. Others are more nuanced – or more cynical. But through all the electioneering, a striking fact bridges the parties. Washington is too little interested in the one thing that is most in its interests, and ours: The Long View.

What’s even more striking, I confess, is how little engaged corporate America is in pressing The Long View on Washington. Of course, at one level, public corporations operate year-to-year and quarter-by-quarter. But successful corporate leaders are smart at aligning short-term market accountability with long-term growth.  How is it that these smarts don’t survive crossing the Beltway?

Before you say I am making this up, here are some recent conversations I have had. Not naming names, though if you doubt me I will supply them in confidence.

  • I chatted with the CEO of one of the largest tech corporations. Why don’t you guys press for the Long View in DC, I asked? “I really hadn’t thought about it quite like that,” he said. He then introduced me to his top lobbyist in DC.
  • “Why did he send you to see me?” asked the lobbyist. “That’s not what I’m paid to do. We work with the electoral cycle.”
  • Then, meeting with the CTO of another tech giant and several of his execs, I put it this way: “You have a strategy unit in your Chairman’s office with a 10-year time horizon. You have R and D people all over the world thinking 7-8 years ahead. Why do you tell your Government Relations guys the horizon is 18 months? Why don’t you align these units in your own company?” ( His lobbyist was in the room and said didn’t disagree with me.)
  • Then, in a roomful of lobbyists tearing out their hair as the federal budget’s haircutting undermined their efforts (and in some cases I suspect their bonuses), I stated: “There are other groups who can guarantee long-term a vote in the House, whoever wins the election, such as the major pro-Israel lobby, and the NRA, and National Right to Life.” I wasn’t being tactful. “Why haven’t you taken The Long View and worked district by district like they have to get Washington to take it? You have far more money.” Silence.
  • Then, chatting at length with a former senior exec of another of the biggest tech companies, I make the same point. “Oh we had big disagreements about that. There are now four people assigned to think long-term about policy; with everyone else it’s 18 months. Only one of the four is in Washington.”

I’m not here to challenge the wisdom of the Founders in setting a two-yearly cycle for the House, or the ultra-short-termism of the market. But both of these seem to me crazy ways to do business in a Moore’s-Law-driven world. As I go around saying to business leaders and any pols who will listen, the faster change is taking place the more vital it is to scope the future. It’s counter-intuitive, because the faster things change the more difficult it is. But it’s a core principle of good decision-making. You can’t make today’s choices without Asking Tomorrow’s Questions. The further you go from “political” Washington, the more people get the point. They get it in the strategy and R and D units of these self-same corporations who insist that their hugely-influential representatives in Washington focus simply on the short term. They get it in the less political reaches of the federal government. Few years back I was privileged to be a non-federal participant in Project Horizon, a large-scale strategic planning project led by the Department of State with other agencies – looking 20 years ahead.

But it’s “political” Washington, the democratic driver of every big decision, that is locked into a suicide pact with the “political” levers of corporate America. How could anyone make this stuff up?

I once sat in the office of one of our top VCs out in Silicon Valley to ask for his help in turning all this around. Before politely showing me the door, he said a number of things I shall not easily forget. One was this (it’s close to the exact wording): “When I look out of my window, I see China. We regard Washington as a European city. Why should we be interested?” I mildly offered two points in response. One was the argument I have just been making, that his investment time horizon was out of kilter with Washington’s policy horizon. Another was that every single day inter-governmental organizations (WIPO, WTO, ITU, ILO, G-whatever) have more influence over the outcomes of every dollar he was investing than they had the day before; and the only access point he would ever have to them would be through Washington.

Of course, there are many reasons why we have arrived at this situation. The old-time, regulated tech sector, driven by telecoms but with pharma and others in the vicinity, has a (generally proper) symbiotic relationship with the regulatory agencies and a forward position in ensuring that the legislative environment is favorable (note that I have avoided using the pejorative term rent-seeking . . .). Even moreso, the defense sector – on both the government and corporate sides – work closely on long-term procurement and R and D issues. As a result, these major slices of the tech economy are preoccupied with their own interests in Washington. And while they collaborate in trade groups and coalition settings, their chief DC interests are narrowly defined.

It’s worth noting several sectors for which this approach is especially inappropriate. One is energy. Another is space. Another is infrastructure, but old-style transportation emerging tech-related. Another is the group of industries with high environmental impact. And back of every sector lies the need for policies favorable to innovation. This is not an argument for the feds to get more into regulating or funding new technologies. It certainly is an argument for the long-term impacts of technology, the special needs and opportunities of its innovators and manufacturers, the values concerns that ultimately shape markets and thereby drive value – for these and other considerations to rise up the policy agenda. And if you are seeking metrics: Would it not be interesting if the House Science, Space and Technology Committee were the one on which every top legislator aspired to serve. If the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) had the clout of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). If every policy choice in the legislative and executive branches were rigorously assessed in light of its impacts over 10 years and its integration with anticipated developments in science and technology. For example.

So, how about it, America? I want to vote for The Long View.

Earth to Twitter: Social Needs Stakeholder Governance

twitter y macworld

twitter y macworld (Photo credit: juque)

Twitter‘s latest blow to developers and users, the source of lamentation as I write and we all tweet, brings into fresh focus a simple, 3-fold, claim.

  • social media are uniquely positioned to benefit from high-level stakeholder engagement
  • it is in the interests of all involved for them to move toward stakeholder governance
  • yet our lead social media companies are among the least “social” of contemporary corporations.

Mark Zuckerberg has led the social pack with his high (and I believe genuinely meant) claim for a social purpose for social media. At some point someone will decide to work on alignment between such goals, the culture and practices of the organizations themselves, and their governance and funding structures. Some deep innovation in the latter will be needed before “social” settles down as the substrate of our C21 lives.

Facebook Crashes:


New API severely restricts third-party Twitter applications | Ars Technica.


Twitter and the Holy Grail: Profit and a Future . . . . 3 To-Do Items

Gordon Moore on a fishing trip

Gordon Moore on a fishing trip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As data whooshes out of every pore of the planet, powered by Gordon Moore‘s seismic explosion, knowing what’s useful has become the core skill.

Here’s a couple of data points just in, before I jump the snark and tell Twitter what to do.

First, LinkedIn is coining it. Hand over fist. Revenues up 89%. And multiple streams of it. Surprise, surprise; the stock price is rising. Details below.

Second, Twitter searches are far higher than Bing and Yahoo put together. Details and much more here.

If I ran the Twitters?

1. Think moolah. $10, $25 a month subscriptions. Offer special features, blah blah. Tens of millions of serious users would sign up in a 140. Some of us know we would pay far, far more than that. For the uber-tweeters, don’t we know,  this is where social just go serious, personal, professional, essential.

2. Think search. It has made Google and could yet unmake it (though I think that unlike Facebook they may well adapt and thrive). It will move generic. The demand for subscription-based, privacy-enhanced, offerings will grow, grow, grow. I only want one platform open all day, and I want it to be this one.

3. Think governance. Let’s crowdsource a novel structure that pays off the entrepreneurs and investors well, but gives us multi-stakeholder governance. Wikipedia has been the only big platform to go the non-profit route. In a world of sparking social enterprise, let’s get creative. And drive a next-gen knowledge and comms platform that draws exponential strength from “social” and the fact the smartest guys on the planet are on here every single day.

K? Then later today we can discuss something else. On Twitter, of course.

Why Twitter Matters

LinkedIn Reaches 174 Million Members, Revenue Up 89% | The Realtime Report.