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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Bill Gurley: The Internet Has Not Peaked

Bill Gurley in a FT interview covers a wide range of issues on Emerging technologies & Business models. I am excerpting from a lengthy interview, Key points which I fully agree with ( except the broadband hyperbole in Asia- True parts of Asia-Particularly SEAsia, Japan & Korea have good broadband infrastructure- others are clearly behind the US in terms of broadband availability- Lets face it).
- On Silicon Valley: There are many reasons why Silicon Valley is an epicentre, and there have been death-knell calls before, as far back as several decades. But Asia and Europe matter in innovation and will forever & says he is concerned about US broadband policy& education quality .
- On e-Learning : The University of Phoenix Online has a massive market capitalisation. Plus you have Blackboard BBBB out there that is not doing bad either. What I keep hearing is that online education is on fire in Asia. Now there are two things that are different about Asia. In many Asian countries, access to very high speed broadband is more prolific - Also, as you continue to read the insatiable thirst for learning in countries like China is well above the Western world. In these areas, and for these reasons, you should expect online learning to thrive - it will be huge. But it will be correlated with broadband speed.
-On Podcasting : I suspect someone will make money out of podcasting, but you have to look at supply and demand. If there are a number of people that want to do it for ego reasons, than supply is inflated and pricing comes down. I would suspect - because of the targeted nature - that “subscription” is more likely to be the model that emerges.. But its not mass market by definition.
-On Innovation : Google and now Skype give me confidence there is still plenty of room for innovation. Plus the connected medium allows for viral adoption at every turn.
- On Leisure Time Trends: The most amazing shift in free time usage is clearly the move to MMOGS [Massive Multiplayer Online Games]. People are spending hours and hours in the multi-player environments. The biggest bang has been in Asia, but World of Warcraft’s success in the US this past 9 months is nothing short of remarkable. For those that don’t know WOW launched last December - $50 for the CDs and $14/month to subscribe. 3.5m users now. The top success before was Everquest - 400K.People are spending 8-20 hours a week in these “Worlds”.
-On Tagging: I think (and could be wrong) that tagging is another one of these “tricks” I have mentioned that simplifies the problem. It’s not a universal solution, and it works much better with some data types than others. Allow sorts and searches on tags and they will be increasingly used, but I wouldn’t put VC money behind a company focused on tagging.
- On Internet disruption of regular business: Telecom will face the biggest upheaval from internet-based communications in the next 10 years. The telecom sector is undergoing major disruption. You have the obvious erosion of price/minute voice. Newer technologies are disruptive - the market will choose the cheapest solution. The world of video will see disruption as well.
-On Hot Innovative Companies & US: The two most talked about emerging companies in the press this past week are Skype and Baidu, neither of which are based in the US. It’s a global game for sure, and Friedman has it right - the world is flat.
-On Small Business & Internet : The small business of the future will be dramatically aided by technology. First of all, I think any small business will simply have laptops and a printer all connected via WiFi. Everything else will live in the cloud - e-mail, storage, PBX, applications. Salesforce.com is a great example. New VOIP solutions will allow all members of the small business to be distributed, yet it looks to the outside world like they are not. Plus, with good graphics and creativity, you can look as large as you want to be on the internet.
- Has Internet Peaked : It would be very hard to suggest that internet has somehow peaked. Certain sectors like online dating, where the companies and offerings are quite saturated, could be viewed that way. But the new things like Skype and KartRider continue to amaze and shock me. An interesting perspective- except that Asian business success potential looks slightly overrated(pl. note- am not talking about technology advances in asiahere).

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
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