YouTube: not a real business

Jason Calacanis nails the reason why YouTube is not a real business. Why? Because it’s making a lot of traffic out of pirated material. Bully for them, but a real business this does not make. Still, YouTube’s service is useful for the rest of us in the mean time, whether they get bought or not.

Will the UK catch the Web 2.0 wave? Or a burst of Bubble 2.0?

“They stole our revolution. Now We’re stealing it back”. So runs the tagline at the end of the weekly email newsletter for technology geeks, And although the slogan has been running since 1997, in 2006 the slogan has never been more appropriate. Standing outside a cold London town hall, watching hordes of mostly fresh-faced young men (I counted six women among 800) file in to a conference on the future of web applications, “stealing back the revolution” feels like an appropriate phrase. It’s a long way from an autumnal day in San Francisco, Oct 2004. But was this dawning of the mythical “Web 2.0” movement in the UK, or another false dawn for the Uk internet industry?

Is SMS really going to die?

Returning from the 3GSM Congress in Barcelona, I couldn’t help wondering if all the hype was really missing something important – why we love SMS.

So let’s review that hype.

Basically the “Mobile World” thinks it’s going to move towards a totally Internet-based future, where every phone is IP-enabled and we all roam around, using voice and data on the move. A vast new world of video and music downloads will open up to us. Oh yes.

Blogging at 3GSM

Check out MocoNews for my blog coverage of 3GSM.

Unexpected trip to a Bristol Dentist

I was not expecting it, but yesterday I had the unfortunate incident of one of my crowns falling out. I was driving past Bristol at the time so given that I was in some considerable pain I thought it best that I stopped and tried to get it sorted out.

I ended up going to a private dentist in a place called Redfield, Bristol. It was a relatively small family dental practice with a low profile frontage next door to an Aldi supermarket. I was lucky that the dentist was able to fit me in between other patients, which was great.

To be honest I’m not particularly good with dentists but the environment was welcoming and the dentist seemed to know what he was doing so it didn’t take long before my crown had been glued back in, and although I was dreading it it actually wasn’t that painful after all.

Despite the fact that nobody really likes going to the dentist very much, this particular dentist was relatively easy to find, and all in all experience was a lot better than I’d expected. I thoroughly approve of private dentistry as opposed to NHS dentistry, as I think the quality of treatment that you get is better, and of course I been treated on the NHS it would have unlikely been done that day, I would probably have had to come back at some future point in time which I really didn’t want to do. In fact had that been the case I would the crown refitted at home and not in Bristol. So the fact that they were a private dentist that they actually managed to get some income from me when otherwise they might not have done.

As I said, this particular dental practice was a relatively small one although it seemed to offer quite a lot of the way of services, as I believe that it also offered orthodontic services too, which is quite good for such a small practice. I do think that the loss of widescale orthodontic services is a shame as they seem to be centred more and more in big factory type dentistry outfits. Anyway enough said on this matter it is to say I would recommend this particular dentist to anyone.

Mature markets the toughest for mobile

The Inquirer is reporting on some Strand Consulting research which says:

While many players are focusing on the growth markets like India, Brazil, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh – countries where cheap handsets and SIM cards will attract millions of new customers – that’s not the interesting bit, Strand says.

The real challenges are markets like Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Switzerland and Germany, where mobile prices are plummeting at the same time as the operators are investing in the launch of 3G.

Going to 3GSM

I’ll be at 3GSM in Barcelona next week. See you there if you’re going!

Mobile gets analysed

It was a warm day in Helsinki. Minus five. And I found myself walking beside the city’s frozen lake, talking about Web analytics.

Jouko Ahvenainen heads an analytics firm which has hit upon an idea. Over lunch beside a wintery, but beautifully sunlit setting, we talked about the dramatic changes which are about to take place in the mobile industry.

Jouko runs Xtract which has traditionally been a high-end anlytics firm. Like many in the space, it creates software to analyse millions of customer transactions every hour, automating the routine work of customer analytics. Like many, they think they are unique.

But one thing might set them apart from others in their space, which is the increasing concentration on the mobile arena.

Put it this way.

We have heard quite enough about how Web analytics are wonderfully useful for working out how users move through web sites and how it can be used to improve sites. But what about mobile?

Think about it. When you go “online” via your mobile it can be a frustrating experience.

Often you are presented with a completely Web-like interface, through which you must navigate to the area which interests you most.

But this is the wrong way round surely?

Using analytics software, would it not be possible to work out – through techniques like collaborative filtering – what sort of user you are, before you even got there. Then, as you arrive, it could present you with the kind of information the brand or publisher reckoned would be most relevant at that moment.

Why not think in terms both of demographics, but also of time of day, or even type of mobile handset. A smart phone user with a more sophisticated mobile browser client is going to want something different than the user of a Vofafone “Simply” phone, yes?

Since we often interact with our mobiles at least as much as the Web – plus we take it with us, unlike the desktop PC – it makes sense that analytics solutions should start to move towards the mobile phone.

And, of course, why stop there? With so much talk about IPTV occuring these days, analytics is certain to become a feature inside the flat screen in the corner of the living room.

But, you’ll be delighted to hear, talk of mobile analytics didn’t entirely dominate our lunch! The food was far too good for that.

Covering Future of Web Apps conf

There’s nothing like being surrounded by 800 Geeks. You start talking in code – Ajax, RSS, tags, XUL.

Guests and sponsor(s) wanted for new podcast show

In late February I’m launching a series of weekly podcast shows in Central London. “Bitecast” will be a half hour show looking at interesting new trends in the digital media business, covering mobile and the web. In particular the show will look at the shift to digital music, entertainment and the impact on mainstream media. We’ll review the week’s news, check out the latest mobiles, shoot the breeze about the new trends on the web and generally have fun. We’re looking for guests to come on, as well as potential sponsor(s) for the show (although let me make it clear from the outset that sponsors will have no say in the editorial content other than being billed as a sponsor). Contact me on mike AT for more information.