Big Theme: Serendipity, Patterns of Interaction, Culture.
When John Hagel speaks, I listen. Today he posted about "The Big Sort" and "The Difference", and the role of cultural diversity in creating "productive friction", which in turn enables long term innovation. While many theorist have pointed out that the urban flows (of traffic, of housing, and retail / commercial districts) set up a little "social tube" that we move around without really reflecting on it, I think not enough attention has been paid to "interaction styles" and culture. We can all pass each other in the street and say "good day, nice weather, I hope it holds", God knows, in Ireland the weather is always an occasion for conversation. But its a known pattern that isn't deviated from often. I am sure that just as many "known patterns of interaction" take part every day when a sales person is speaking with a customer, or a customer care agent is dealing with a call. The "formula" enables you to get through the interaction predictably and without offence. But it doesn't create the opportunity for insight. It doesn't help you understand "what else is going on around here" that could be influencing this interaction.
Little Theme :) Cumulative Benefits
Companies are now starting up to compete with SpinVox and the heavily funded Speech to Text product companies. Speech to Text means that you can dial a number, say what you want to do, or say a message, and have it delivered to a number of media or modes (i.e. email, SMS, etc.). VentureBeat reports on MessageSling which allows you to send a message to a group in any mode on any network. The article points out that you can do any network messaging on from SpinVox through uReach. I can also point out that www.dial2do.com has a speech to text engine. Yesterday ReadWriteWeb had a piece on using the iPhone as a satnav type offering. The opportunity to create applications and services that are a mix and match, a mashup, of various other platforms can often be a problem too, inthat the start up hasn't really thought about cumulative "lock in's" that discourage the user from leaving for another service.
Getting With The Big Themes: SaaS and Media Consumption
TechCrunch carried the piece that Joost would move to entirely browser based delivery. The even bigger news was that the social consumption aspect of the service would now be much more prominent. I always thought that joost should be the "virtual couch" where you and your friends could watch TV, Media, Games, and then just comment, show other related clips etc. You could say to your friends "hey, wanna watch CSI tonight at 10.00?". Others say that Joost just didn't have the compelling content it needed to draw users in. I learned a lot from my trial of the spotify.com alpha service. It has great player, loads of content, clean interface. What I missed about my lastfm was serendipity. And that is what John Hagel was talking about.