Scripting News for 1/22/2008

The UGC limb, day 2 

Following up on yesterday’s piece on UGC as a business model.

Lots of commenters, including John Furrier, who asked what I meant by: “We could and should be cutting more fair deals with the people who create the value on the net.”

Here’s what I meant…

We should be sharing more than kudos with the creative people and more than revenue too. That’s the next bubble that bursts, imho, it’ll soon be possible for people to set up their own server systems and route around the scams that get people to write stuff that’s worth $100 and get paid $10 (and often $0).

It always works that way throughout history with technology. What’s difficult and mysterious in 2002 is commodotized in 2008.

I think Amazon S3 and SimpleDB and EC2 etc point in that direction. Scalable apps are quickly becoming commodities. The priesthood of developers who can make scalable apps is about to burst into flames. I’ve been around this loop too many times to not recognize it.

Now, what would be more fair deals?

1. First and foremost — equity. If I’m going to pour my creativity into your business, I want the same upside you give a key engineer, or the massage guy or cook at Google. There’s an invisible line that Silicon Valley hasn’t figured out how to cross, yet. Some startup will figure it out, they’ll give equity to their key users and community members, and their business will get all the good content.

2. Control of my own data. The clearest sign that a company thinks I’m a sharecropper and they’re the bossman is that they won’t let me move my data where I want it to go. If you give me the power, that doesn’t mean I’ll use it, btw. It might mean quite the opposite — empowered to use my data in more meaningful ways, I might be happy to leave it where it is. Imagine if Fidelity wouldn’t let you move money to Schwab. I don’t imagine too many people would put their money there. Great writing and art work the same way.

Now what are the key trends to watch for?

1. As I said above, the key elements of scalable systems are being commoditized. It’s amazing how many apps are migrating to S3. Why Microsoft, Google and Yahoo, to name just a few, aren’t getting into this business is a mystery. It can’t be much longer before one or more of them do.

2. The next step after that will be packaged applications that deploy through Amazon that you can buy for shrinkwrap prices. Yesterday I downloaded a Jabber server from Jive Software. Nice, but it would be so much nicer if, instead of installing as an app that runs on one of my machines, it deployed to run on one of Amazon’s. If would take care of backing itself up, controllable through a web interface of course, to S3. Give me a small, simple desktop app that burns a DVD of my data, so I can have something local to put in the safe deposit box, guarding against the possibility that Amazon goes away or S3 loses data. This is so rational, we have to be going in this direction. When we do, it’ll mean that the magic of the backroom scaling expert will become a commodity you can buy cheap. Another priesthood goes poof.

And here’s the key point, all that will be left will be the creativity. The users won’t need you. So you’d be better off investing in users instead of priests. Or hedge, and invest in both.

Sit down Bill Clinton 

If Bill Clinton doesn’t get off the campaign trail, other leading Dems should get out and stump for Obama, to level the field.

I said this on Twitter and Adam Wygle sent a pointer to this site, that says it better than I could.

22nd Amendment: “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice…”

FlickrFan update 

Change #28: Roll back the clock on updates.

A new page that lets you set the date for updating. We install all new or updated parts since that date.

Screen shot.

NY Times on the Internet 

AT&T makes a deal with the NY Times for their mobile site on their “operator portal.”

Curious speculation that Google could buy the NY Times.

They could, easily. Google’s market cap is $185 billion. The Times is worth about $2 billion.

iPhone as photo gallery 

Kevin Tofel explains how to use an iPhone as a portable handheld photo gallery using the beautiful AP wire photos and FlickrFan.

I did a Qik video demo using my Nokia N95. Lots of computers involved, the quality ain’t great but the idea is pretty neat.🙂

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