The advent of the real-time web founder Marc Benioff told the Structure 09 conference that technology was inevitably becoming real-time.

“Any concept of batch or delay in development or execution, I think, will not be tolerated by customers anymore. Even in development, customers are demanding now that they want to be able to build in that sandbox and deploy immediately, instantly, no delay.”

According to the Digital Beat blog Benioff warned that many companies hadn’t understood that this was where the web was heading.

“I think corporations have to step it up in terms of integrating with these real-time systems,” he said.

UPDATE: One of my colleagues pointed out to me Techcrunch’s analysis of the reporting around Michael Jackson’s sad death as another example of the real-time trend.

Technorati Tags: ,

Iran reporting tests journalism

This morning’s piece in The Observer by Lindsey Hilsum, international editor of Channel 4 News, and Peter Beaumont illustrated perfectly the challenges and dangers of reporting in a user-generated world which Jeff Jarvis outlined so well yesterday.

The story reads as if the writers had either personally witnessed much of what went on in Tehran yesterday, or had personally spoken to people who had. And yet, we know from other sources that reporting in Tehran was practically impossible in a conventional sense yesterday. Take this morning’s BBC story as an example. “The reports cannot be verified as foreign media in Iran are being severely restricted.”

Indeed, The Guardian’s own Matthew Weaver yesterday was one of the few around the world trying to make sense of the shifting landscape – and relying heavily on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr to do so.

The risks of not being absolutely explicit about what you know first hand, have verified yourself through witnesses or are merely repeating as heresay are very great indeed.

The role of the mainstream media is changing. The world still needs professional journalists to help it navigate: to tell facts from supposition. But fulfilling that role requires an openness which may be very difficult for some. The quicker journalists adapt to their new role as curators, the better for all of us. The situation in Iran illustrates perfectly the need.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Building the new news archetype

Jeff Jarvis has an interesting post arguing what mainstream media needs to do to meet the challenges of the user-generated world. Using what is happening in Iran as the catalyst he argues that news organisations should concentrate on curation and on trying to verify the enormous amount of content coming out of the country on Twitter, Flickr and the like.

So I imagine a news organization creating a kind of anti-wiki – a dynamic, collaborative Snopes: a list of what we don’t know so we can see what is unconfirmed and so these things can be confirmed – so journalists can add journalism.

This live blog by Matthew Weaver of the Guardian is attempt at what Jeff Jarvis is driving at.

Technorati Tags: ,

Bezos on innovation

Om Malik blogged about Jeff Bezos’ talk at the Wired Business Conference in New York and it makes a thought-provoking read. He says the Amazon founder talked about a lot of things covered elsewhere so he chose to focus on what he said about innovation and entrepreneurship.

The key lessons?
Innovation is hard in big companies because 1. they are small in the scheme of things and 2. they are necessarily long-term.
“You need a culture that high-fives small and innovative ideas and senior executives [that] encourage ideas,” he said.

Focus on the customer. Winning with the customer is more important that the stock price. Results will follow happy customers.

In tough times step up internal communication with your employees. With so many external inputs it’s important to ease employees concerns with high-quality internal communication.

Be stubborn. Be stubborn about the vision but flexible about the tactics.

The biggest pre-requisite for innovation is a willingness to fail. If you don’t have that, and aren’t prepared to think for the long term and be ready to be misunderstood for a long period, you should stick to incremental change.

He also contrasted errors of omission with errors and errors of commission: People overemphasize their failures when trying something new. Actually failure is not that expensive and it’s part of work.”

Technorati Tags: ,

Twitter’s 10 rules for radical innovators

I’ve been reading an interesting post by economist-of-the-moment Umair Haque in which he set out the ten rules which define Twitter.

  1. Ideals beat strategies
  2. Open beats closed
  3. Connection beats transaction
  4. Simplicity beats complexity
  5. Neighbourhoods beat networks
  6. Circuits beat channels
  7. Laziness beats business
  8. Public beats private
  9. Messy beats clean
  10. Good beats evil

Read the post to find out what these mean – guaranteed to be thought-provoking!

Technorati Tags: ,,

The opportunities of online data

The presentation given by Tom Coates, the product manager of Yahoo’s FireEagle, at Webstock 09 in New Zealand is now online. It’s well worth a look if you’ve got 50 minutes to spare as he has produced an excellent summary of the online data space and has some good pointers to future opportunities.

In particular he argues:

  • data is meant to be shared
  • there are real possibilities in real time data on the web
  • privacy is an opportunity not a threat if you view it correctly.

As I say, well worth a look.

Technorati Tags: ,,,

BBC Jobs Tracker

The BBC’s Jobs Tracker is a nice example of taking news – in this case about job losses over time – and providing access to the information in various ways:

  • on a map mash-up
  • as an infographic with a time slider
  • as stories
  • and as analysis

There have to be plenty of examples of running stories where this kind of multi-layered approach is better than the conventional publish-and-forget model.

Technorati Tags: ,,

Google adds people into the equation

Google has launched a tool set for aiding the mass translation of documents. Called Google Translator Kit (Techcrunch review here) it adds a human dimension to the already pretty awesome computerised translation available for free among other things through Gmail. In a nutshell the Translator Kit allow people to upload a document (or add a URL) and then in a pane it displays the original, the machine translated version and a search results list showing exact or partial matches to particular phrases from the search index. This way would-be translators can improve on the translation and upload again. Brilliant!

Technorati Tags: ,,,