Archive for the ‘markets’ Category

Moving Forward Means Jumping Backward

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Evolution is a funny thing. It is the gradual process of improvement, whereby every cycle leads to a more superior result - whether it be an organism or a product. Having said that, evolution is not an exact science. Quantitative analysis cannot be employed and qualitative analysis may vary depending on the views of the observer. Over time, external factors and changes in the surrounding environment may skew the ultimate path of the original design. This leads us back to humanity and, well, the Internet. As we continue to push forward, the future begins to look eerily similar to the past. Evolution has come full circle.


There Is No Internet Bubble (And There Won’t Ever Be)

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

The blogosphere is once again abuzz with “bubble” speculation. This recurring theme tends to pop its head into the blog world every few months. This time though, many are anxious. Some are convinced that the inevitable US recession will stifle innovation and steer the web into some sort of temporary holding cell. This is definitely not the case. In fact, the Internet is headed to more prosperous times in an era where innovation and development will only accelerate.

My first question to those who think we are in a bubble is this: why do you think we’re in a bubble? To be honest, I haven’t seen many ridiculous fundings (Facebook aside), nor a rash of Internet IPOs. A frenzy of unsubstantiated capital infusions forms the basis for any bubble. The subsequent lack of liquidity ignites a sell-off, depreciating valuations. This was the case in the first and only Internet bubble. Greedy VCs, armed with the belief that advertising would pave the road to riches, invested in any and every company with an enticing .com name. We all know the outcome of this story.

The current Internet landscape looks much different. Information is prevalent and infrastructure developments have changed the game. The capital markets have also changed. You no longer need a million dollars to start a company. In order words, the key contributing factor to any bubble has been negated to a large degree.

An Internet start-up can be launched at no cost, assuming human labour is discounted and a computer and Internet connection are readily available. Any given Internet user can leverage open source software and/or free tools. Furthermore, widespread documentation and education are available at no cost. This equates to minimal barriers to entry.

The significance is that anyone can launch a start-up at any time, on any budget, and iterate quickly. The information and tools are available and the cost is negligible. Time is the only real variable. All of these factors lead to a significant decrease in the probability of a bubble as raising capital no longer becomes an issue in many cases.

Note: I am speaking in general terms. Every start-up situation will be different. Having said that, the underlying factors remain the same.

5 Essential Web-Based Apps For Any Consultant

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Power toolsAs a consultant, I work on cool new projects all the time. This is the glamorous part of the job. Then of course, there is all the grunt work that goes on behind the scenes. This involves client relationship management and dealing with all the admin work. Ugghhh. Luckily, there are web-based apps to help deal with these painful processes.

The following are 5 web-based applications are essential to any web-centric consultant:

  1. Basecamp* - Project management
  2. ConceptShare - Design collaboration
  3. FreshBooks - Invoicing and expense tracking
  4. FunctionFox - Time-tracking
  5. Google Calendar / Gmail / Google Docs - Free web-based application suite

* The entire 37signals suite of products is impressive. Also be sure to check out Zoho’s line of web-based tools.

Obviously there are many others out there. Please be sure to add your favourites in the comments below.

The Future of Location-Based Advertising

Monday, March 17th, 2008

[The Future of Location-Based Advertising] - Back on February 6th of this year, Gavin asked:

“I am interested in what you think about location-based advertising, and its prominence going forward? Do you think it will succeed?”

Anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis knows how much I love the concept ofWiFi icon “local”. I see many benefits, both for the user and the company. That in mind, my answer to the stated question becomes obvious. I think that location-based advertising will play a key role in the evolution of the advertising space.

It seems like a lot of companies are trying to re-invent the wheel nowadays. Many are looking to capitalize on ‘the next big thing’ in advertising. Well, they’ll be happy to know it’s already here and I just saved them millions in research costs (thank me later). Location-based advertising, though nothing revolutionary, is both pertinent to the viewer and lucrative for the company. Just think about it for a second. Instead of viewing ads for whatever online shop or site, the viewer is subject to an ad from a business in their region. If further segmentation can be exploited, the ad becomes even more pertinent to the reader. This usually translates to higher conversions for the company as well. It’s really a win-win situation. The downside for the company is a (potentially) pricy CPM. In addition, inventory levels may easily be maximized given a strict set of constraints.

In any case, I see more companies entering this advertising vertical and others expanding into it. From the other side, I see more advertisers leveraging geographic-based advertising to target potential customers. Internet penetration rates are now at a point where inventory levels in a given region make a case for local advertising. This potential supply is lucrative and should be capitalized upon. Mark my word, local is here to stay.

Local Victoria Tech Scene Heating Up

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

Like I say, the local Victoria tech scene is really starting to heat up, especially in the pure-play Internet space. Historically, Victoria has had very few players in this space, but more and more seem to be popping up on a regular basis. This recent surge is creating a strong sense of community within the the tech region. Another byproduct of this phenomenon is an increasing number of tech events and groups, providing entrepreneurs the ability to share valuable knowledge and resources.

A few of the start-ups that are paving the way in the Victoria pure-play Internet space include:

  • DailySplice - Personalized, daily podcast radio.
  • Indochino - Affordable, tailored men’s suits online.
  • Teampages - Simplified team and league management tools for sports.
  • Oprius - Web-based application suite for network marketers.

Two other early-stage players include Zumer and Utilium (both in private Beta) .

I look forward to watching the local tech community grow and prosper. My guess is that we’ve only seen the beginning and we can expect much more to come.

Disclosure: I am on the board of advisors for DailySplice and I have done consulting or informal advising for all the companies listed above.