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Friday, October 29, 2004 

Mary Meeker: An Update From the Digital World

I know I should be more cautious of views coming from Morgan Stanley Internet Analyst Mary Meeker, as Richard once warned me about her track record.

But I cannot agree with her more when Meeker said in her latest update from the digital world that blog, rss and the next generation of internet content will gain usage traction in 2005; although I am not entirely certain on her revenue outlook on for both microcontent providers and related services that facilitate microcontent creation at least in the near term.

For sure, Yahoo already stands to gain from the emerging next generation of internet content with its recently improved My!Yahoo service, a personal content management portal which allows even non-technical savvy users to easily aggregate and search content from all over the internet, including those in blog and rss format.

With an enormous user base around the world, Yahoo will be the catalyst for a wave of new internet businesses and idea marketplace, in my view.

Below are some points from Meeker's report that I think that ring particularly true.
"It seems to make sense to allow users to read your blog when they want it and where they want it. As we will show, with blogs surviving on viral marketing or word-of-mouth for the most part, an aggregated rating/feedback system could expand the markets for the most serious bloggers." (p.8)

That's why I have made every bits of this site available in RSS / XML (as seen in right-hand column) whenever possible. I was also hoping that by providing xml or atom feed for blog, comments, calendar, photos and bookmarks, someone will one day make use of the data/information I share out here and create something more interesting out of it.

"a universally available platform such as My Yahoo! provides for greater portability from computer to computer or from computer to other devices, without the need to deal with locally saved profiles. There will more likely be a market for both, but for syndicated content to overcome a "techie" stigma and reach the mainstream, it will most likely do so via the Web." (p.9)

"RSS technology may not necessarily be the future standard for syndication; simply, we feel that RSS has become shorthand for syndication, in the same way that MP3 was shorthand for digital audio for the longest time." (p.9)

"By integrating blogs with search, and by making it easy for end-users to find and add blogs, Yahoo! is playing a key role in driving blog readership and RSS usage among endusers." (p.10)

"for the Internet, the popularizing of syndicated content further enhances the medium as a democratized content platform." (p. 12)

"we believe that a company—such as Yahoo!—that provides an aggregation point for amassing content coupled with a rating system for determining what content is worthwhile, could stand to realize substantial upside from media feeds and associated smaller payments." (p. 14)



David on IT Outsourcing in China
, in reaction to Meeker's report said that: "China's internet underground gets it, i.e., they understand what's happening. They were the first to understand the importance and value of P2P, MP3 and podcasting, too. However, corporate IT types in China (and in the States, for that matter) don't really get it."

He is very right. Wego a P2P based personal and social knowledge management tool, Blog+SocialNetwork: Road to Personal Portal and WeTaste, a web application that allows users to generate rich text web clippings and compliments del.icio.us a social bookmarking tool are just a few examples I have heard from Isaac Mao and Kevin Wen.

What we are seeing today is just the very beginning. To borrow the metaphor of Metropolis, a paper and powerpoint presentation by Pat Helland from Microsoft I recently read which compares the evolution of American cities in the 19th and 20th centuries and the development of IT shops, this is where we stand in terms of blogosphere.


Source: Metropolis, Pat Helland, Microsoft Corporation, April 2004

Update:
John Palfrey: "But of greater interest seems to be a) the next generation things that can be done with RSS and b) the social implications (i.e., how it will affect how we get and interact with information -- text, audio, video, whatever -- online)."

Rebecaa Mackinnon: "Is this the democratization of media? Or will commercialization eventually drown out the free voices that have been putting the fear of God (or at least the Fear of Truth) into politicians and network anchors? We must work to make sure that as business models evolve in this new medium, the public debate is enhanced, diversified and made more free, not less."

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