Squawk Box March 4

by alec on March 4, 2008

We had a pretty interesting and interactive call today.   

Yesterday at the O'Reilly Graphing Social Patterns conference in San Diego, Charlene Li gave a talk on the future of social networks.  Like many folks in the industry, she focused on the creation of portable data. And, when asked about what she would do if she were Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, she had this to say:

I would make my social graph open. I would preempt all the portals in saying: Instead of using their social map, I’m going to enable you to import your social map into Facebook, and then take it anywhere else you want. If you want to put your social graph in LinkedIn, press a button. You want to upload your Gmail email relationships from a Pop account? And I’m not going to look at the content, I’m just looking at who you are emailing and map those relationships for you that way by email address. They would preempt every single other player from being able to do that. They will keep all those early adopters and pioneers from going some place else to do that aggregation.

It takes Zuckerberg's notion of being a social utility to a logical conclusion.  We discussed what this means,  how we might get there and the implications (especially) for privacy. 

There've been a couple of mobile announcements today, all focused on adding platform components to phones.  First, Google announced that Google Gears would be transported to mobile devices — starting with Windows Mobile 5 and 6 — to allow offline experiences to be created on these devices.  Apparently Zoho and Buxfer have already signed on to build apps.  And next, Nokia announced a deal with Microsoft to put Silverlight (their Flash competitor) on Nokia S60 and S40 phones.  The appeal to Nokia?  Well, CNet calls out the fact that content partners like MLB.COM, and the Olympics are already signing on to use Silverlight.  Now that content will be portable to Nokia handsets.

We had some good discussion around the significance of these announcement, including the observation that without distribution Gears is interesting technology, but not significant.   

Over the weekend a storm erupted over the suicide of ad man Paul Tilley.  The Creative Director of DDB chicago jumped from the upper floor of the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago after blogs apparently after AgencySpy and AdsCam published blog entries critical of his management style.  Then, Mike Arrington called out ValleyWag asking "when will we see our first Silicon Valley Suicide".  Now, blogs can be nasty, and cruel.  Our conclusion, though?  Tabloid journalism has come to the web.  

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