The guest speaker, T.A. McCann, was an energizing visitor. His presentation about various manifestations of The Long Tail and Web 2.0, in particular Facebook Answers, LinkedIn Answers and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, demonstrates the kind of personal production that is not only interesting to me as a participant but to my business. Businesses spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to incent their communities. Many of them never get beyond transactional (cash) incentives. Further discussion about what incents production the further one goes into the tail was thought-provoking since you get into intrinsic value and prestige in varying degrees. His description and demonstration of his new business, MineBoxx, was interesting. His preface about tightly focusing the scope of the target market makes me wonder how valuable this service would be to a broader audience in different context, price points, and levels of functionality.
In the discussion about iTunes and interoperability, I found the question, “Is the real purpose of DRM really to prevent unauthorized copies, or is it to enable companies to limit the interoperability of their products?” thought provoking. In particular, the comparison of Apple’s use of DRM in order to comply with the music industry and Amazon’s non-DRM solution. This makes Amazon look like the open-source hero, until the discussion turns to the Kindle and the proprietary format used for the books and other content that can be used on that device. It seems that if a business “owns” the platform, they may be more interested in a proprietary solution…..for now.
Sarah’s session on online news subscriptions was interesting in the questions posed:
- What constitutes a journalist in the info economy model?
- What might consumers be willing to pay for from news producers, if not the news itself?
The info economy seems to easily fulfill the old saying that “One person’s news is another person’s fish wrapper” in that the choices of points-of-view, interests, delivery, etc. are innumerable.