Archive for the ‘off topic’ Category

Direction of the Web

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Directions sign[Direction of the Web] - It is unclear to me where the Web is headed in the very near future. The big guys (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft) seem to be a bit lost. In addition, no clear trends or “hot spaces” are emerging. Social networking seems to have cooled down a bit and micro-blogging, though still rising in popularity, seems to be taking a breather.

A few categories are showing promise, but lacking overall direction. These include online video, wikis, podcasting, and personal finances (to name a few). It seems that interest in these areas is present as many players continue to enter the game. Having said that, no-one seems to know how each space will play out. Everyone is providing their own take on the situation, choosing a different audience, vertical, or worse yet, generalizing.

What I’m surprised about is the lack of focus around local. I truly believe this to be the most lucrative niche by far. After all, it relates to real people - think Craigslist or YellowPages. Let’s be honest with ourselves - blog aggregators and social bookmarking sites preach the choir.

With local, a revenue model is not only achievable, but feasible. It’s also sustainable as people can relate (and understand) the business model. Whether income is generated via targeted advertising or premium directory placement, local is an area that needs to be explored more thoroughly.

What do you see in the near-term future of the Web? What sectors will catch fire and which will fizzle out?

My Health Status

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

As most of you know, I haven`t written a blog post in almost two weeks, which is highly uncharacteristic of me. What most of you probably don`t know is that my life has changed quite a bit in the past week and a half.

While on a family reunion in Mexico, I hit my head on the ocean floor during a diving accident. My head snapped forward and I cracked my C2 vetebrae. Fortunately, I was able to make it to shore where I went into shock and fell unconscious for several minutes. I woke up on a spinal board on my way to the ambulance…

To make a long story short, I took two ambulance rides to two hospitals. I had CT scans, MRIs, numerous X-rays, blood test, electrocardiograms, etc… I spent two days in ICU and one in recovery. In the end, they (luckily) found no internal bleeding on the brain. I simply had a swollen neck and a cracked disc.

Today, I am counting my blessings. Though I am in a full neck brace for several months, I am able to walk and move all parts of my body. Most are not so fortunate after such an accident. Rehabilitation is necessary, but it is the least of my worries. My changed lifestyle, which includes very little physical activity and a lot of rest, is what lies ahead. In any case, I feel very fortunate to be where I am and I would like to thank everyone for their continuing support and encouragement. I`m anxious to make a full comeback to blogging in the next week or so, so watch for new posts.

In closing, people have been asking me what they can do or how they can help. I say this: tell your family and friends you love them. You never know what tomorrow may bring. What you take for granted now may not be there tomorrow.

A Plug for the Plugg Conference

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

Plugg logoOn March 19th, entrepreneurs and technology enthusiasts will converge on Brussels, Belgium for the Plugg Conference. This one-day event has been designed to provide much needed exposure for European start-ups in the web 2.0 and mobile spaces. An attractive list of speakers will voice their thoughts throughout the day. These impressive speakers include CEOs, venture capitalists, strategists, bloggers, analysts, and more. In addition, a “Start-ups Rally“ will take place. Twenty start-ups will showcase their business ideas and voting will ensue. Only one will emerge with the coveted “Plugg Start-Up of the Year Award”.

MappingTheWeb readers can purchase tickets at 25% off using the discount code: MAPPINGTHEWEB. Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend this conference due to logistical circumstances, but I encourage all European readers (and those willing to travel) to check out this exciting event.

Ask Me A Question

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

Question MarkFor this post, I’m asking readers to pose me a question in the comments. It can pertain to web trends, new technologies, predictions, or even a specific company. It will be an opportunity to get my opinion on a certain topic or matter. This will create an interactive form of content.

The benefit for the reader posing the question is this: if I find the question interesting and post about it, I will provide exposure and a back-link to your blog or website. I likely won’t answer all questions, so be sure that yours is interesting and thought-provoking. I eagerly await what people would like me to post about.

So… I encourage you all to develop meaningful questions and add them to the comments :)

Salary Transparency

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

SalaryWages and salaries have traditionally been a taboo water cooler topic around the workplace. It’s almost as if people have something to hide. In large big corporations, bureaucracy and politics play a big role. But in smaller firms and start-ups this isn’t usually the case. Therefore, I see no reason why secrecy is such a big issue around money. Transparency would remove any doubt and provide a new motivation tool.

Salary transparency would flatten the hierarchy and create a whole new sense of culture. I think any small organization could benefit greatly from this. The ability to view co-worker salaries would force companies to compensate properly - based on experience, education, and performance - rather than politics and executive judgment.

Seriously though, why shouldn’t it be like this? Obviously, a 45-year old worker is likely to be making a lot more than a 25-year old based on knowledge and experience. But this provides motivation for the younger worker - something to strive toward. Performance should definitely be taken into consideration.

I bring up this point because it is one of the few examples of politics and bureaucracy in many small firms. So why not eliminate it? I think that all companies should post salaries on the wall, in clear view, for everyone to see. Revolutionary idea? Not really, but it would motivate employees to work harder and put the slack asses out of a job.