Blockchain is one of the most intriguing technologies out there in 2017, in no small part due to its open nature. Open in the sense that there’s a lot of open source work happening (in particular, its two largest projects: Bitcoin and Ethereum). But also ‘open’ in the sense that blockchain is the epitome of a decentralized platform. For this reason, many see blockchain as a potentially huge disrupting force on the Internet. Think about what a decentralized eBay, or a decentralized Uber, would mean for the economy. Essentially, a blockchain version of eBay or Uber cuts out the middleman – meaning the buyer/passenger gets to liaise directly with the seller/driver.
If you want to see where a small or mid-cap tech company is headed to, take a look at their “Jobs” page. Most often than not, it offers a lot of clues on the kind of projects they’re working on, and the technologies that they prefer.
To me, ZenDesk is one of the few companies that the AI revolution should immediately affect, yet they don’t seem to be moving a needle on that front, at least from the surface. I don’t see a single post that mentions Caffe, TensorFlow, Torch or neural networks.
Your content is yours: this is a central tenet of IndieWeb. It’s a philosophy that promotes ownership of your online content and it’s been labelled POSSE, an acronym for “Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere.” Some in the IndieWeb community take this to the extreme and save literally everything they do on the Web, from tweets to check-ins and much more. AltPlatform contributor Chris Aldrich is in this camp – he’s even come up with an elaborate workaround to post onto Facebook, via his own website, but without getting the familiar “mom-autolike” (when your mother likes everything you post, because…well, she’s your mom).
So far in my ongoing project to IndieWebify my web presence, I’ve upgraded my WordPress site with IndieWeb plugins, installed a blogroll, and subscribed to a bunch of indie bloggers in a modern feed reader (I’m trialling Inoreader, but I’m also still using Feedly – both are great choices). Now I’m curious to see how social media fits into this Open Web picture. After all, my manifesto for AltPlatform was partly based on finding a way to route around the big Walled Garden social networks: Facebook, Twitter and all the rest.
Back in 2007, in our good old ReadWriteWeb days, I wrote an article on Amazon’s then-nascent cloud initiative entitled Why Amazon’s HaaS (Hardware as a Service) Strategy is a Winner. I was comparing Amazon’s then potential success to Google’s advertising business. In a nutshell, the point was that if Google had gained so much value by monetizing the revenue side of the internet, then Amazon had an equally significant chance at success by monetizing the costs side (represented by the graphic below).
Many of us are conformists, and we don’t take action unless a) that action solves one of our big pain points, or b) it triggers dopamine. Turning your site IndieWeb, or forgoing the nice UI of a well-funded bigtech social media site for clunky open source alternatives, provides presumably neither of these two. Yet, I believe you should still care about the open web for three core reasons.
1. Open Web = Opportunities
Open web is equal to open data. And data fosters innovation and creates new opportunities.
Word2Vec, which is an algorithm that computes the semantic relationship between textual entities without any human intervention or seed information, was a breakthrough for the artificial intelligence community. It strengthened empiricists’ hands such as David Hume in the centuries-old epistemological discussions around whether we are born with innate knowledge of the world (as suggested by Plato and Descartes) by mathematically proving that knowledge can be acquired solely by experience.
In my continuing 2017 project to IndieWebify my website, so far I’ve upgraded my WordPress site with IndieWeb plugins and then installed a blogroll. I also began to explore what the indie blogosphere is like nowadays. Not that I ever really left the blogosphere, but – like most people – much of my attention had drifted to social media over the past several years. So I wanted to re-engage with blogs in 2017 and subscribe to a bunch of new people. For that I needed a capable, IndieWeb-friendly feed reader.
There’s been a lot of talk about ICOs (initial coin offerings, named after IPO) in recent weeks, fueled by a number of companies you’ve never heard of raising ridiculous amounts of money. Status, reported to have raised $64MM; Bancor, another $153MM -a record in ICO history-; and a company, at least I’ve heard once or twice before, Kik‘s announcement of an upcoming ICO at the Techcrunch event — all in one week.
According to the ICO aggregator Smith-Crown, more than $290MM has been spent in such token sale transactions over the past two years. Which cumulatively raise suggestions as to ICO may be the new VC.
There’s a good reason for the “@“ character in the middle of your email address. It separates the two parts: your user name and your web site. Someday you might see something similar on social networking sites – Mark Zuckerberg could write on Facebook and mention Jack Dorsey “hey firstname.lastname@example.org” and Jack could write back from Twitter “hi email@example.com!” — that would be the Silicon Valley equivalent of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson’s first telephone call. When small social networks like Twitter and Google Plus start to interoperate with open source networks and blogs, they could eventually form a large enough base of users to “flip the iceberg” and have more usage than the dominant, non-interoperable player: Facebook.