Tag Archives: US

Nick Black – Common Enterprise: Building a Business on Free Data [reboot10 notes]

Mr. ZIP promoted the use of ZIP codes for the USPS during the 1960s and 1970s.

Image via Wikipedia

Nick Black, Common Enterprise: Building a Business on Free Data, is involved with OpenStreet made and his company Cloudmade, that is trying to figure out if it’s possible to build business on top of it.

He starts with a point – nothing is free. Most free data has a cost, there are costs associated. Even though I write article for Wikipedia for free, I probably value this time more then the money I could get for it. There also some architectural costs, bandwidth, hardware etc.

Example: OpenStreet map server network card broke, even though it costs only 20 pounds, it costs about 5 hours of someone’s time.

Different free models:

Most projects distribution are free.

it’s also possible to get free at point of collection or creation, like Wikipedia.

There is also lots of data, collection is paid by tax payers, and then it’s given into Public domain, like US ZIP codes.

Free:

  • Free to reuse
  • Free to re-mix
  • Free to re-sell
  • Free to alter and transform

Example: taking oranges, and making orange juice at a convenient time for me, creates a great value for me and this way massively increases the amount I can make in the process.

Example: Choosing Zimbra vs. Exchange. Zimbra – 3.5 pound/month, Exchange 4.0 pound/month. Even though Zimbra is free, there is a lot of added value, and licensing at the end of the day represents only 0.5 pound/month in costs.

When the data is free, delivery becomes everything. P2P (Bit-torrent etc.) are examples of how the value changes. It’s not anymore about the money for the CD, but is it worth to me to click and download and listen to it.

Free data as valuable as an alternative hedge against proprietary data. It serves as a way to prevent vendor-lock in because I have commons alternative so I can either help myself or go to some other provider.

Examples of companies that got bit by that are Yahoo and Google maps that have problems in relation to their map providers.

When you are building a business that is available as a data in the commons, it gives you a great advantages.

But, there’s a more interesting answer to this question:

Data alone is not that useful, it needs to be augmented to add value.

Data itself is not really useful, but when it’s combined with software and communities, it gets really powerful. In addition, you want to create a circle that feeds itself and gets better and better with time.

Some comments on distributing free data

Once I distribute something I can’t stop it being redistributed. And we don’t want to stop you, since it’s a fundamental part of data redistribution. You have to make sure that data redistribution is an integral part of your business.

Creative-Commons is your friend. Links are currency on the Internet. Using linking back as an Attribution requirement and this at the end of the day drives back traffic, SEO, etc.

Can I pay people to collect free data?

The reason this is significant, it takes a long time to build communities.

Coase’s Penguin (Yochai Benkler)

Commons-based Peer production:

  • Non-monetary motivation (people have fun, and instead of obsessing over why, lets give them more ways to have fun doing this stuff)
  • Discrete multisize peices (it should be low cost integration, it’s got to be easy to do)
  • Low cost integration

Communities give you so much more.

Services:

Aggregate and Organize (Geo-Commons)

Create a Market place (A Flickr market place; Weogeo – ebay for data)

Suppose all maps are free:

  • Value can be created by end product
  • Customize
  • Personalize

.. at the end of the day it’s all about the communities: they greatly enhance the value of data. Need needs to be loved.

If you want to use the community, you have to respect the community. Remember the CDDB? Bits of freedom was taken from the community, until it broke apart. No matter how big you get, the community that built it can turn back and destroy it if you don’t treat them kindly back.

Free data is fine, but communities make it way better.


Zemanta Pixie

Ian Kennedy – Collaboration in an Open Innovation World, Cisco systems [Thinking digital session notes]

Confesso che ti (in)seguivo...

Image from Flickr

How relatively small organizations could grow so quickly to overtake traditional organization? There are two different styles of innovation: open and closed innovation model. Closed model assumes they can go and hire all the smart PhD’s and other individuals.

About 3% of any national population is “smart”, “clever” – entrepreneurs, innovators, people who will make a market difference. This equate in US to about 9 million people. China would then have 39 million of smart people. This is so many people that it’s not possible for organization to retain them all – the need for open collaboration model arrises.

From this follows the need for collaboration and sharing on a level of a personal face to face contact. So what we can do about this in virtual worlds, without getting lost in the hype of Second life? It still is a very interesting collaborative space.

World Economic Forum in Davos had a main topic of Collaborative Innovation. The appearance of co-competition is one of the trends – the fact that you can compete and work together at the same time.

Some interesting statistics about timeframe in online world:

  • 2 weeks – Time it takes to build trust in the e-world
  • 4 times – As long to communicate a message electronically than face to face
  • 64% – of communication is non-verbal. Visual cues messages can be easily interpreted
  • 17 weeks – time lag for culturally diverse teams to begin outperforming single-culture teams

Tele-presence system, that is not a video-conferecing system. It’s a system to be remote from somebody but it feels like they would sit across the table. The idea is to start building these system and bring in remote people. While the technology is not trying to solve the problem of speed of light, they can optimize the software and hardware part of equation. They have proof-of-concepts using HD televisions that are good enough to use and be a good experience. Possible usage of the technology is to add a HD camera to the TV and just be collaborative over the system. This has important implications for health.

Lessig’s new CC and Slovenia

Lawrence Lessig, founding father of Creative Commons, announced his new initiative – change-congress.org. It’s an idea to promote basic reform of United States Congress and fundamental principles that in reality steer it – corporate money. The campaign is using basic technological tools like Google Maps mash-up, together with Wiki’s and pledges to start building public awareness and help keeping track of who said what and how they kept with their promises.

This is an idea that I’m  deeply excited about. Even though hanging US congress does not affect me, I love it for the meme it brings to the world. As with Creative Commons that started as US initiative and then with time ported to most of the World countries, it brings the hope, as collateral damage, also to countries like Slovenia.

While I am not a lawyer or a political scientist, I like to think myself as a hacker and with that it makes me want to build similarly inspiring things in my local environment. It also allows me to take a look what other fellow hackers built and then start asking locals here, how this ideas map to our situation?

My call out to Slovenian and also Europeans (regarding the EU legislation) that are more intimate with political scene:

  • what is our equivalent regarding US PACs and lobbyists?
  • do we have “earmarks” problem?
  • what are local initiatives for more transparent parliament?
  • and how do we compare regarding the public funding of elections?

(adopted from C-C.org)

With some help of a local groups like e-demokracija.si or kiberpipa.org, we could firstly map in a wiki-like the differences and then start forming local issues. Hopefully with time people won’t think anymore that our Slovenian government is fully corrupt and bad because thee will be full transparent accountability that is not felt right now.