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June 6, 2013
A panel discussion moderated by Martin Bryant, Managing Editor, The Next Web
- Anthony Gallippi, Co-Founder & CEO, BitPay
- Shakil Khan, Head of Special Projects, Spotify
- Roger Ver, Founder & CEO, MemoryDealers.com
Shakil: Investor in Bitpay, and just over two months ago there was a huge wave of interest in Bicoin. He realised that there was an information gap - so they launched Coindesk.com. People come for price, research and press releases. LArge scale finance houses are starting to take is seriously as an asset clews.
Roger: It's the most important invention in the world. You business should be using it. It will change the planet. BItcoin is the first time anyone on the pant can exchange currency with anyone else in the world. It's impossible for anyone else to interfere or freeze you account. This has never existed before.
Tony: Bitcoin works with public/private cryptography. If you lose that key, you lose your money. If someone steals it, they can spend your Bitcoins. The security is about understanding how encryption works. It's a bit more difficult - that's why businesses are adopting first. It's like living in glass houses - you have to put some clothes on to maintain privacy. if you expose your Bitcoin address, anyone can find out your currency flows.
Shakil: I mentioned that I'm a huge believer in digital currency, and Bitcoin is the biggest? Is this going to be different from Amazon's equivalent? Or the app store ecosystem? You're starting to see early adopters - EFF, Automattic, Reddit - using it. It's a long journey ahead. It's a bit like the internet in '65 or '96. That's similar to where we are in the Bitcoin space.
Roger: The supply of Bitcoin is limited by the laws of mathematics. The price of Bitcoin will have to increase to meet demand. If you buy Bitcoins today, if you hold them for a year, almost certainly they'll be worth more in a year.
Shakil: Will it replace cash? Probably not. Each event that takes place, though, tells the masses that the old system has flaws
Roger: it's possible governments will try to shut it down - but the only way of doing it is to shut down the internet worldwide. i don't think that's possible at this point.
Tony: People will start using it without realise it - it'll become a backend mechanism for money transfer that switches to other currencies either end of the transition. Who created it? It doesn't really matter. We're working with the product. We have no idea who the person who created actually is.
Shakil: We get e-mails all the time saying they have information about this, but it's not really relevant.
Roger: It's open source. Anyone can read the code and see how it's going to perform. That's far more transparent than the banks.
A panel discussion nominally about money in the sharing economy, but actually more about peer-to-peer lending.
Chaired by Nina Dos Santos, News Anchor & Correspondent, CNN World Business Today
- Samir Desai, Co-Founder & CEO, Funding Circle
- Raffael Johnen, Co-Founder & CEO, Auxmoney.com
- Renaud Laplanche, CEO, Lending Club
Raffael Johnen: We facilitate lending between individuals. We bring borrowers and investors together for loans €1000 to €20,000. Borrowers can put things like their car up as collateral.
Renaud Laplanche: We have also trebled our lending. We expect to get to $2bn in lending.
How can you guarantee that your platform will guarantee that people will get their money back?
Samir: We lend to established businesses, which have been trading for two years. We have rigours testing procedures, and underwriters. Because business lending is political, we've started seeing the UK government lending money through Funding Circle. This could end up as 20% of the market. 70% of customers would come to us in preference to a bank. This sort of product better meets the needs of businesses - half of applications are made outside working hours.
Raffael: Asking for regulation of our industry might be a good thing - it gives us a stamp of approval. We'd like government support In Germany as weil, to help support new businesses.
Samir: We've been lobbying for regulation. We have succeeded, and will be regulated from next year. It gives credibility and lets people see its a serious thing.
Samir: We're in a generational shift in financial serves. Before 2007/8 nobody had really come in and disrupted banks. Now, there are low levels of trust in banks, and the internet is really coming to financial services for the first time.
Do investors know which companies they invest it, and can they help them succeed?
Samir: Yes. You can go in and look at the companies, and pick and choose, if you want. A lot of lenders like to lend in their local areas. I don't think it's about anonymity, it's about transparency.
Renaud: Our transparency is in stark contrast to the financial instruments that caused the 2008 crash. All our companies have perfect asset:liability matching at 1:1 - there's no leveraging.
Raffael: We are built on technology from the group up. Banks come from a different base. It's difficult for them to get away from branches.
Bitcoin: are people trading in virtual currencies because they've lost faith in others?
Renauld: It needs more stability to really grow. You can't have a currency with 20 to 30% volatility.
What if you could capture your whole life as you live it? That's the goal of Memoto. Martin Källström, Founder & CEO spoke at LeWeb London:
Many of us struggle to find out who we are. Our kids grow up too quickly, our loved ones are gone too soon. What if we build a true photographic memory? What if we build a camera small enough to capture you whole life?
The Memoto life logging camera has GPS and a 5 megapixel sensor that takes a photo every 30 seconds, with the location captured, too. The battery isn't powerful enough to allow all the photos to be uploaded to the cloud, so they're stored and uploaded when you charge the camera. When the photos are uploaded they're analysed by algorithms on their servers that identify the key moments of the day.
His day yesterday was filled with media interviews - and he can see this through his stream. The photos his nine year old daughter takes are recorded from her perspective. She doesn't end up replacing her memories with those of adults taking photos.
The camera is always on when it's worn. That's for social reasons. If there was an on/off switch people will suspect that it's on when it's off. This way, if someone walks into a changing room wearing one, you know she's taking photos.
The speed with which they were funded on Kickstarter shows how much interest there is about it. They were on a Stanstead to London train last year, and the ticket inspector asked what the prototypes were, and ended up having five minute conversation about it. He thinks they'd be a great answer to harassment of train staff. An autistic son could share his life with his family better through this kind of tech. If you're regularly questioned by police about where you were - the camera could prove your alibi.
There are freedom of speech issues as well as privacy issues. Sometimes you have the right to take a photo of someone else, even without their consent - when they're stealing your bike, for example.
The battleground of ideas - and how to launch a company
The ideas you follow should be the one that emerges bloody and bruised from battle. When you find it, everything you read appears to be about that. You talk to everyone about it. That's when you start a business.
You need a team. Sometimes you feel that you can do everything - but it's not true, and nobody will buy it. You need technology, you need experience in build a product and you need marketing geniuses who will help you get the world out. It's not about one channel. When they launched their Kickstarter, they had posts on tech blogs primed and ready to go. They had a Facebook event, they had contacts with journalists... They created buzz on every channel. When one person sees the same thing mentioned on every channel he reads, that's when he starts talking about it himself.
And you need colourful socks. You need something beyond black and white socks - you need joy in life.
What's the best way to become a hippie? Write songs for the Grateful Dead which is exactly what John Perry Barlow used to do. By definition almost, a hippies is someone impractical, who has gone off to the woods, with moss on one side of his face and unexamined beliefs on the other.
For them it was practical. Very practical. They started off ignoring record company advice - and making no money. They ended up as a band who could fill any stadium in the US. And they did it by sharing their music. It prepared him for understand the virtual world in a way most peel struggle with still. With atoms it's east to see that they have a value, a relationship based on scarcity. Diamonds aren't particularly rare - but because one company controls most of the supply, they can create scarcity and value. If he had the world's biggest diamond in his pocket, he couldn't share it with us without destroying its value. If he has a sing in his head, it is valueless unless he shares it.
There are people trying to take ideas and information into their clutches, and claim it as their property. That holds back the moment - which is coming soon - that anyone on the afce of the planet can learn about anything that is known.
If there is a right to know, the human race will become a more advanced species more quickly - it is in our nature to seek the truth. When he's feeling hopeless about this, he goes to a Wikipedia page about something he knows and cares about - and finds to his satisfaction that it has grown since he last checked it, and there's nothing there he would disagree with.
He wants to write the dot.Communist manifesto. Things have changed since the communist manifesto. We need to move on. We'll need to kill some things - old, godless institutions, for example. He finds music companies talking about piracy deeply ironic, given what they did to musicians.
He's spent a good chunk of his life trying to eliminate broadcast media. They're doing a pretty good job of it alone, but he'd like to hustle that along. He doesn't want to be broadcast - he wants this to be a conversation.
Jacqui Taylor - what should a forum I'm developing with "agile" lawyers deal with first?
Abolish the notion of intellectual property. It was a limited term monopoly on expression of an idea, but it grows and grows. It's impractical to own this stuff. There are many other relationships of a service nature we can have with our work.
How are people who write a book or write a song going to make a living?
Just because we gave away our music doesn't mean that we didn't make money. The Deadheads had access to all our music, but all our studio records went platinum eventually. As long as you have a model that allows ownership of a work be taken away from them, it's easy not to pay musicians. I want them to be paid.
Fun fact: He was in the middle of a dance and quite drunk at the World Economic Forum when he wrote the declaration of independence of cyberspace.
During questions with Loïc he suggested that todays news - that the Obama adminstration is routinely accessing more records tham anyone expected - shows that the situation is worse than he though. He doesn't expect the battle for digital freedom to be won in his lifetime, but he will stay faithful to the fight. He wants to do his very best to be a good ancestor.
Axelle Tessandier, Founder, Axl Agency
Being a digital hippies is a mindset. We are the first generation used to pervasive interconnectedness - and so we're constantly exposed to ideas, news and emotions.
73% of Generation Y think that access to the internet changes the way they think about the world.
The overview effect is what astronauts get when looking at Earth from space. The political or religious divisions disappear, and they see the planet as one interconnected ecosystem. The internet is creating this effect for a whole generation. You can't have empathy for the whole planet, but her generation think that the can - and should - have an impact on the world as a whole.
Are these feelings new? No, they are what drove things lime Woodstock - but the people then didn't have a device in their pocket that allowed them to create a worldwide movement. The feelings are the same but the context is very, very different.
Oh, and Gen Y don't trust the government - only around a quarter do. Gen Y are the children of the recession and endless crises. She quotes Darwin suggesting that those most likely to survive are those more responsive to change. Her generation are responsive to change, she suggests.
Don't wait for a job - create it. Many digital revolution jobs will have to be made. This is a do-it-yourself culture. It's about meaning, not profit. It's about improving the lives of your users. Everything with a c is changing: corporations, communities, currencies... The life span of companies is reducing. You have to be fast, you have to be resilient, you have to change. The best companies stand for something and contribute to the world.
New leaders will be like artists not business leaders. The world is changing.
June 5, 2013
Is sharing a product of the urban environment? That was the message emerging from pre-lunch session at LeWeb London today. Lisa Gansky took to the stage to argue that the city is a platform we can build upon.
75% of people will live in cities by 2050, she suggested, and that's equivalent to the whole population of the world right now. That density of people makes sharing sexier. The result? Cities are platforms.
The Urban Platform
Like platforms, cities are open. To make the most of this, identify the excess capacity of the city around you. Things we thought were too small to be interesting are now an opportunity. 3Space in the UK opens up space that is available temporarily. It's a charity that works with property owners to offer space to organisations working for the public good for free - but for short periods. 3Space Blackfriars is a great example, Gansky suggests. 3 months in a space here, 6 months in another property there can create things in the cracks which are valuable.
She presented various facts to back this up - increasing numbers of people looking to use more shared services or borrowed objects suggests that disownership is becoming the new norm. And, of course, the internet is facilitating this. The mobile is a remote control for a new city when you arrive, she suggests - and also for finding shared services in the city where you dwell.
Unused value is waste, she argued. Idle objects are a form of waste. Equally, unused capacity is a form of waste. For example: manufacturing capacity. Can that be freed up to facilitate building prototypes of new products? And there's power in physical waste - a ton of mobile phones will yield more gold than a ton of gold ore.
The Urban Privacy Problem
Julien Smith followed Gansky onto the stage to launch a product which illustrates the positive and negative aspects of urban density. One of the problems, he suggested, is that we lack private space. We're not used to sharing. Many urban homes are tight for space. If you're a visitor, you choices are your hotel room or a grabbed table in Starbucks. But there's plenty of under-utilised space in a city. Could an app on your phone unlock space in the city for you?
When urban density, inefficient use and the internet meet, there's an opportunity to make every more efficient - and life more pleasant. Intruiging.
Liveblog of Jeremiah Owyang at Le Web London 2013. Prone to inaccuracy and howling errors. Warning: here be typos.
What role do corporations have if people don't want them or need them?
A new economic model - where ownership and access are shared. Corporations have to let go in order to gain more.
Sharing is not new, but it's happening with more speed and velocity than ever before. We can use Lyft to skip taxis. We can skip hotels with AirBnB. We can get funding from LendingClub rather than the banks. We can use oDesk or TaskRabbit to skip hiring agencies. LiquidSpace allow us to cut out the real estate business, and rent excess space from other businesses.
A shared car could have $270,000 to $1m impact on the ecosystem of manufacturers, financiers, insurers and so on...
So, is this a fad or a trend?
Three major themes:
- Societal: Right across the age range, people expect to share more.
- Economic: Earth's population is ever-growing, but its resources are fixed. People need to do more with what the have - and products which can be shared, resold and reused are more important.
- Technology: There 87 phones per 100 people on the planet. Most star ups use social information rom Facebook. 200 startups are funded to a total of $2billion.
What do you do if you're being disrupted? King Frederick saw the revolution coming to his gates. Did he fight or collaborate? He chose the latter.
And so, they have the collaborative economy value chain.
- Company as a service. You need to rent out your products or services, rather than selling them. Software as a service has done that for a while, but it needs to move to physical goods. It's an opportunity for a longer-teem relationship with customers.
- Motivate a marketplace: Could Marriot certify guests via its loyalty scheme for services like AirBnB - could it offer concierge services to people staying in such properties?
- Provide a platform: getting your marketplace to build products. Co-ideate, co-fund, co-build, co-distribute... It blurs the distinction between customer and employee. Nike allows you to design your own shoes - but that's just co-creation on top of an existing business. This is unexplored in the market.
Why would you do this?
- You become more efficient, as the crowd helps
- You build a deeper, more long terms relationship with customers
- You add value in the relationships between customers
- No-one's doing the yet. Go no, and you have first mover advantage.
King Fred is a hero. He stopped bloodshed, gave his people what they want - and his family still live in that palace today. He let go of his throne to gain the kingdom.
Corporations: let go of your company to gain the market.
May 15, 2013
Gosh, Le Web time already? Yup - it's now held twice a year. Summer's Le Web is held in the UK. While it's smaller than the main Parisian event, it still brings together an inetresting mix of European and intercontinental digerati for two days of discussion and netwoking. And, once again, I'm an official blogger at the event.
in three weeks' time I'll be in London for Le Web's UK edition, liveblogging as I normally do. (You can actually see me at work in the front row if you look carefully at the image above from last year...)
This year's theme is The Sharing Economy.
If you fancy coming along - the event is held in Westminster - I have a discount code for you: OBDISCOUNT will save you £200 on the cost of a ticket for Le Web.
December 6, 2012
Matt Mullenweg, Founder, Automattic, interviewed by Om Malik, Founder & Senior Writer, GigaOM
WordPress powers 17% of the top million sites on the web - and that's a huge responsibility. He wants to democratise publishing - but he also wants to build a sustainable business. Automattic sells services around WordPress, and they're growing it to be large, sustainable and independent.
"Some of the things around Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are troubling," says Matt. Facebook and Twitter's primary customers aren't those of we think as users - it's the advertisers. Apple does well when they make something amazing, and you get your wallet out to pay for it. Their primary customer is you. He doesn't approve of Instagram's move - it doesn't benefit users. WordPress comments work wit all sorts of logins, and they have the freedom to do that. Data silos don't make sense to him.
Does he plan on integrating other services into WordPress? Absolutely. You can always come home to your blog, whatever else you do. If you can back up some of that other content in your blog, so much the better. And you can push posts from WordPress to other engines. People said years ago that blogs were dead because of social media - but it has ended up providing a distribution channel for blogging instead.
Om is one of the philosophers of the web, says Matt. He love bespoke, hand-crafted things. How does that fit into the modern web? More personalised experiences, based on sensors and data input, says Om. It becomes our web, not their web. Facebook and Instagram are trying to sell us their web. We are the hub, not them. It'll happen by 2020. If you try to control the user experience on the web too much, that's when the ecosystem fights back. Matt doesn't want one device and one service that does everything, just as he doesn't always want to eat in one restaurant.
Where is the next big innovation for WordPress going to happen? Probably in plugins. There are 20,000 of them, and that's where the open development happens. The first four years of WordPress were about blogging, the second four were about being a CMS - from being something on your website, to being your website.
He was shown a YMCA login app, and wondered what the WordPress connection was. The answer? The backend was all WordPress. The next four years could be WordPress as an application platform.
Mobile? He describes WordPress as being like an SLR, full of functions advanced users can find in the application. But for mobile, you can simplify and simplify the application's UI to make it work in that environment. And they have more people working on the mobile version than the desktop one right now.
There's something about the time it takes to create something and the time it take to consume something. People appreciate that. That's why books are so good - and blogs.
Brian Solis, Principal, Altimeter Group
Computers are everywhere. Data is everywhere. Unless you use the stream of data to help you provide better experiences and change people's behaviour, it's just data. What are we going to do with big data that counts? We know that the lack of information is linked to loss of revenue opportunities. Altimeter refers to the internet of things as the sentient world.
We see a lot of devices that allow us to control the world around us remotely - lock doors, change the lighting, control the heating. This is about controlling environments and controlling the experiences around us. We're creating a relationship not just between you and me, and between you and the device, but with the information shared between them Some of you will create amazing utilities, but I'd love you to create amazing experiences. There's a human algorithm that produces a code that people aren't looking at. I want you to give me something I didn't know I wanted.
It's that dream and vision I want to see more of. It's about creating a better idea in the first place. The human algorithm is the one platform that is open source that we haven't tapped yet - it's you and me and what is possible.
Solis believes that Steve Jobs cracked the code of the human algorithm. He was the great UX designer, who create great experience for people. All the digital breadcrumbs we leave - our phone knows were we are and who we know, our home knows what temperature we like - and that's powerful.
Fitbit gets you thinking about your health and lifestyle. And that's wonderful. But it also connects you to other people who will encourage you. Think about how the experience you're designing will bring people together. This one brings people together to make each other better. What was once a life hack is now just life. We need to look at opportunities to help people change their lives.
A baby trying to use a magazine is funny - because she pinches and zooms (unsuccessfully). That's the world she knows. But isn't it hilarious that Apple has patented the page turn, when she will probably never read a paper magazine in her life?
As you develop products, think about what it tells us about ourselves, how it will communicate, how it will bring people together for a purpose, and help us optimise our lives. Experience architecture is a blank canvas. You get to determine it. Don't just make a cool product - you'll becomes just another thing at CES. Create a cool experience.
How do we find what people don't know they want? We need to filter out the noise. There are too many "me too" products. Do something different, something inspiring.
Life is about living - and creating - experiences that are worth sharing. This is about how devices and technology and data bring people together to do, see or experience something they couldn't have done before.
You're not just a developer, or an entrepreneur. You're an experience architect changing the way we live our lives.
A force of nature on stage - Ramon de Leon who does social media marketing for Dominos Pizza. And I love him for never saying "engagement" - and for bringing a sleepy Le Web crowd to life with the sheer energy of his performance.
People listen, people watch, people share. Have you never seen a dog with a video camera? Go to Chicago on St Patrick's day. GoPros are all over Le Web. Technology is wearable
He sorted a customer's pizza needs from a party in Paris at 1.30am. She had just lost her dog (he'd been put down) and she tweeted her appreciation.
His secret to social media: ask how you can make people feel.
Why do people make graffiti? Passion. In 2005 he considered going back to school just so he could have a Facebook account, because he wanted to use it to learn about his customers ay university - and beyond.
You need to believe in yourself and your own instincts. No way you can lead your team without this. You need to be your own caffeine - look inside for your own inspiration. don't be lazy. Success only hits a moving target. And don't be boring. If you're running a brand and you're boring - better up your ad spend, 'cos that's the price of being boring. He advised Disney to make its toilet paper interesting with origami. People take photos of it and share it.
His goal is keeping the conversation alive at all times, in helping them know the face behind the logo. "Social media fire can only be put out with social media water." If you're worried about people saying bad things about your brand - don't do bad things. And when you do wrong - fix it. If someone's pizza is screwed up, reach out to them and make them feel better _now_. Brands don't do this - they need to.
Social media is about people, not technology. It doesn't change your business, but it allows you customers to hold you to account. Get out there, get on your customers blogs. You are a media company whether you like it or not. Get your message out there. Content is always being created - and there's a level of excitement. But he's always trying to be found.
Update: Some background on Domino's social media history from Neville.
Liveblogging just can't transmit the sheer charisma of this guy.
I'll embed the video as soon as it's available. Below:
So we need a separate network for the internet of things? Ludovic le Moan, ceo of Sigfox, thinks so. Most internet of things products use existing networks. Around us their are many object, and most of them are deaf and dumb.
There are two categories of wireless now: short range (WiFi or Bluetooth) or long range (telcos/satellite). Both are energy hungry. The long range stuff is expensive. So, how do you build a low cost, low energy long range network? Sigfox claims to have come up with something that can be connected for less than $1 per year. And the price of the chipset to do it? <$1.
He demos a fire alarm which sends a message to Twitter when it goes off:
He suggests that they could cover the globe for €200m Euros.
This is a very cool idea - if it works as advertised. Worth watching.