Saturday, October 27, 2007

Website vs. Web Presence

 I am wondering about the real value of a website for business recently.


It's so web 1.0 for any company to have a .com website today. As a communication tool initially, a corporate website is really outdated. the channel and conversation happens 99% of the time anywhere but the corporate website. A company should focus on building a Web Presence but not a website. A web presence means many common web activities people are doing everyday:

- put your software driver to CNET's
- run your marketing program at Facebook if targeting Gen Yers.
- do product intro at leading review website
- Sell product at
- setup online support at

why you need a website? When others can achieve the same goal with less fixed investment? larger audience?

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Monday, October 22, 2007

RE: opinion as you can..

I think you are actually making a very good point related to Marin's previous Internet game platform. I think Internet is begin to dissembly itself into many parts, very different than web 1.0 when portals like Excite@home tried to be one for all. However, this dissembly is necessary to have a bigger integration. Sorta like web service.
Vruz's comment is right about Flock is not an organic integrator and it will fade away.
Twitter is a very good example here. By createing a micro-blog platform, it enables twitter to twit everywhere so it's always with you, either by a firefox addon or by mobile or by email. It's immersive.
Also this is related to the reason I think Yahoo! will just fail because it till now didn't get the reason why it failed the fight against Google. Google is an ecosystem play. By helping all the others making money (startups and blogger using adsense, people use gmail to avoid paying Yahoo! Mail Pro account and the same for Google Docs), Google is gaing fundamental support. Look at Yahoo, who cares? The only user I believe that using yahoo today is for people either used to access Yahoo from the '99 days or trapped by switch-cost such as email account. I could NOT find any reason I will use Yahoo if I dont have a Yahoo! email account. 
Look at Google's recent add other search engine links to its own search result page including Yahoo!, Ask etc. That's the best way to show confidence."sorry, I just don't count you guys as my competitor anymore..."
Yahoo! had done its thing. Someone else will carry on.
MBA Class of 2008
Babson College
Skype: cefs99

From: John Gorman []
Sent: Sun 10/21/2007 2:06 AM
To: Hong, Li; Baraba, Marin
Subject: opinion as you can..

Hi guys,

As you can, Im interested in your thoughts here. I dont comment on blogs much, but i did on this one as it got me thinking given all the points you 2 have made on better information aggregation, visualization etc.. See my comment..

In watching friends on facebook, myspace, flickr, different IMs, blog networks, etc.. I get totally frustrated in point to point page view navigation,

This concept of a social graph, for me is a bit overplayed. But indeed graphs and tree structures are much better understood and navigated visually. So i envision a sort of CNET big picture service for all the ever increasing web 2.0 open platforms and UG content and actions. To be honest, I even want to see my emails and IMs from you two integrated with your UG trail on the web.. Your activities and messages of interest to me all come from YOU regardless of whether you are addressing me specifically or indirectly.

If this all including my blog comment doesnt make any sense, well dont worry about it ;-)


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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Amazon/Google/eBay/Facebook vs. Microsoft/mySpace/Sony...

I would say that the core competency today is the ability to create a sustainable ecosystem where all(most) participates can gain either monetary or non-monetary benefit. If can achieve that, then as the "god" of this ecosystem, sure you can gain more. Thus, I don't think Yahoo failed because of Google's introduction of AdWord but its failure to create such an ecosystem around its massive property. Microsoft is falling because it's canalizing its previous ecosystem, Windows + 3rd party application developers, while didn't create a strong enough new ecosystem in new territories such as Internet. Microsoft has some reasonable success in the new home entertainment ecosystem with XBOX, to be fair.
That's why Google and eBay are so successful because there are way more people/business making money within their ecosystem. And that's where Amazon is heading to I think. Amazon opened its ecommerce platform to anyone want to do online retailing and now open its AWS system to any Internet company wants to save money. Facebook is heading the same way by launching its F8 platform and what's also where MySpace is lagging behind.
Indeed, the same reason why so many more people care about the environment today.
MBA Class of 2008
Babson College
Skype: cefs99

From: on behalf of Joseph, Vivek Nicholas
Sent: Sun 10/14/2007 12:30 PM
Subject: RE: [Babson_TechTalk] News and Information from Factiva


Thank you.

Yes, Amazon is helping the small stores & yes, small stores will gain. But what is Amazon getting out of it? It has to invest in infrastructure for all these guys & the same infrastructure can be provided by others like google/ebay also. I don’t think sellers are going to be loyal only to amazon if ebay/google/ms come up with the same idea. What I am trying to see or discover is, what should Amazon do, to get better of the new players who might enter the market? How can Amazon go one up, always.

The biggest advantage AMZN has for now is that they have the customer base. If they can turn more sales revenues from each customer, that would help them immensely. (Wall St would hike its price by another $50 maybe). But how can they do that, for one. Second, if Google/ebay comes in, how can AMZN retain its customer base (both sellers & buyers) & prosper? (Currently they are spending cartloads of money on the infrastructure & I don’t see it giving them a great ROI as of now. How long should they wait for that is another question)

Any thoughts?


Vivek Nicholas Joseph


From: [] On Behalf Of Meenakshisundaram, Alagappan
Sent: Sunday, October 14, 2007 12:11 PM
Subject: RE: [Babson_TechTalk] News and Information from Factiva


Amazon wakes up one fine day and says ‘ok hold on guys, what is our core competency? A robust infrastructure and proven business model. Ok now how can we increase our revenues? We are already selling all products we can get hold of. So lets help others sell a product and convert this into a service model so that we can leverage our biggest expense – R&D and maintenance’.

I think Amazon is taking down a barrier to entry into commodity markets for small businesses – payment / storefront infrastructure.

In effect, they are replicating ebay’s service. But they are also running risk of one big downside – they can potentially dilute / damage the brand image and customer confidence they have built over the years online.

Ebay has also coming up with an interesting social network for buyers. Check it out.

Thanks and regards


MBA Class of 2008 | Babson Fellow | Babson College

Cell |

From: [] On Behalf Of Joseph, Vivek Nicholas
Sent: Sunday, October 14, 2007 11:41 AM
Subject: RE: [Babson_TechTalk] News and Information from Factiva

Thanks Firat & Li.

First of all, I don’t agree with wall st on valuation. But now I know why the stock prices are insane. That apart, I was wondering if the business models of Amazon and/or ebay are sustainable. (I talked a lot with Prof.Marty about it. He thinks that Amazon’s current foray into AWS is not all that exciting, but I am not sure if I agree with him). What do you guys think?

Background: AWS is a service where any third party (like you & me) can sell products on Amazon. They charge a flat fee of ~$40 a month & also charge a commission/sale. The shipping is the responsibility of the merchant. They have storefronts now for target & the like & they are expanding.

The question I have is, what can Amazon do, to have an advantage over the rest? I ask this because, all they are doing currently is providing an infrastructure for everyone to have their stores. Tomorrow, Google can do it too & ebay is almost there. They would have no problems in coming into this domain. So, what can Amazon do, (other than having the customer base), to have an advantage over others? (International competition just adds to the problem, but this is just the start of a discussion)

Thoughts? Did what I say make sense?


Vivek Nicholas Joseph


From: [] On Behalf Of Ozpinar, Abdullah
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 2:28 PM
Subject: FW: [Babson_TechTalk] News and Information from Factiva

Following on this, we were doing E-bay for last week’s class and there were several growth drivers. I think they somewhat apply to Amazon to some extent so here they are.

First some industry numbers:

Within the U.S. electronic shopping and auction industry, the growth rate has been in the low teens with revenue growing at 13.1% in 2006, up from 11.4% in 2005. The two major product categories are computer hardware and clothing and accessories, based on percentage of industry revenue. The percentage of online consumer spending that is conducted online as compared to traditional retail is 6.5% excluding travel in the US and expected to increase to 10% by 2011. The global e-commerce growth is expected to be around 15% over the next five years. Global penetration is 2% and expected to double by 2011.

Then some growth drivers:

1- Rising barriers of entry (Although it is relatively easy to form similar sites, E-bay (and also Amazon) has established very strong brands.

2- Increasing global growth and cross border trade.

3- Weaker dollar contributing to earnings of companies with international operations.

4- Increase in the use of social networking sites with potential collaboration opportunities (how is this for BS?)



From: [] On Behalf Of Hong, Li
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 1:53 PM
Subject: [Babson_TechTalk] News and Information from Factiva

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Why ebay and amazone stock price are up recently ?

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ecosystem play

Just thinking of this in the EEM class.

Google won the leader position in the search business by creating an ecosystem based on its search engine. many people can make money upon Google's service and Google gain direct and indirect benefit off it. Amazon seems towards this way by offer its shopping engine, infrastruture service like S3 etc. Bezos is going to build an ecosystem in the ecommerce industry too. Big. Bold.

Who else taking this approach?

How can we achieve?

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Monday, October 08, 2007


A great post from Financial Times China:


Chinese version: 靠谁创新全球经济?




Unfortunately, these important initiatives undervalue perhaps the most important transformation now redefining the world's innovation economy. Ingenious leading-edge users – not everyday consumers or profit-focused producers – are becoming the economic engines that drive innovation. In sectors as diverse as software, biotechnology, medical instrumentation, telecommunications and sports equipment, users are spurring growth.



Basically it says that it's the consumer/user, especially the early adoptor or visionary segment, is driving the innovation in the past few years and will continue as a major force in the near future. How interesting it is? I would also add one thing to this is that because most of those early adoptor or visionary consumer are also very entrepreneurial so that the mature technology can easily allow them to launch their own startup to address the opportunity if current vendors failed to respond to their voice.


Considering those initiatives from most innovative north european countries like sweden and denmark:


"Denmark has been the first nation to turn this into policy. In 2005, the Danish government established “strengthening user-centred innovation” as a national priority. Sweden's tradition of “participatory design” has positioned several of its industries to take good advantage of this phenomenon. Britain's National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts has begun funding policy research in user-driven innovation. These early efforts are important and more will follow."


Taking account into Google's recent open bid for wireless spectum to compete with Verizon etc, Open becomes the trend. What if Chinese government re-organize China Mobile and China Unicom to take back the ownership of the GSm and CDMA infrastructure network but lease back to China mobile and China unicom. Then use this state-owned infrastructure network to encourage wireless innovations such as MVNO, WAP, LBS etc etc?


Everything here is following the step of Wikipedia. When you have millions of well-educated user that are ready to helping contributing together, the only thing you need is a mechanism. Oh, is Democracy such a thing?

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

How/Why Microsoft lost ground for Tablet PC?

A real email from my professor to address a midterm paper thing but has some interesting points of Microsoft:


We have here an extended enterprise lesson in real time.

The reason for all this is the Microsoft monopoly. By trying to force the world to upgrade to RAM hog Vista, the following 'ant farm' things have happened:

1. Big users are rebelling against the massive hidden investment in RAM and CPU's required for buggy Vista. How - by buying up all the 'old' XP PC's on the market.

2. Some large PC companies have told MS they will continue shipping old XP.

3. Some manufacterers have even started putting Linux on their PC's for free - to provide an alternative to the monopoly.

4. The market that needs Tablet PCs has discovered that Vista stinks for that application, not just because of the RAM hog issue, but because it breaks apart the linkages among Tablet I/O screen, XP for Tablet, MS Office in Tablet, and One Note. It tears apart the de facto standards that users needed - even though all of them were inside the Win-Tel monopoly fence.

5. This is why the XP Tablets are selling out on eBay - as I mentioned in class - and why they are also sold out (but on order) and at most of the resellers, and even at the manufacturers international sites. (Vista Tablets will not run things well, and also require buying about $300 of software, under most circumstances.)

6. Further, if anyone is using Office 2007, I have discovered through experiments this weekend, that they will not easily port over into the 'electronic ink' applications that power Tablet PCs and graphics pen-tablets (like Wacom)

7. And even when I managed to create work-arounds for some of these Vista-disabled applications, they will not PRINT with current print drivers.

Several EEM take aways:

- Notice how complex networked solutions really are.

- Notice how toxic to innovation are monopolies like those held by MS, traditional telephone companies, CATV, etc.

- Even if MS wanted to solve these problems (which it clearly does not - because it has made most of its money by forcing a huge change in social infrastructure with each 'upgrade') - it can't possibly forecast and anticipate all the possible bugs buried in the millions of lines of Windows code, as that code tries to work with literally trillions of user 'transactions' or 'service events'.

- That's what gives Google the entry point.

- That's why Linux and other OS's are still gaining ground in 'less developed' markets.

- That's why MS is not in the world's wirless phone systems.

And that's why you, a new earth-conscious generation of humans, must kill trees if you want me to comment inside your documents.

I tried.

I really was going to invest $1400 on your behalf.

But - my conscience will not let me invest that $1400 in a Windows machine, plus $300 for more MS software, and then all the hassle of integration - just to feed the monopoly.



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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Meeting experience with VC

Had an one-hour meeting with a partner of a local VC for a mixed pitch/discussion meeting. Very helpful. Would like to share but it's already 0:36am here so will follow up tomorrow. G'night!

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

TripAdvisor acquisition story

First of all, recommend a great news website for the travel and lodging industry: Hotel Marketing

I just found a interesting post at Hotel marketing about TripAdvisor acquired 5 small travel community/content website in a roll this May.

I did a quick check of those 5 sites and following are their Alexa status (I know, I know, Alexa isn't trustworth but better than nothing),114,470, 14,624, 13,581, 18,712, 27,078
Travel Blogs:, 21,957

All those websites operates in a biz model like this: some UGC + some Other's content + Ticket/hotel search (revenue source)

My quick conclusion:

1. Content is king for online travel and people trust UGC
2. It's very scattered. So TripAdvisor is trying to consolidate to be the No.1

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Skype experience

I had been an active user of Skype for a long time since moved to US. No such a cheap phone card like in Canada here at Boston. Most of my call is with J at Thailand as an one-to-one calling. Then start doing conference call when M getting introduced. Overall SKype deliveries what it promised and I am an active paid user of almost all skype's premium service such as SkypeIn number, voicemail, $25 for all North America call etc.

Then suddently started talking about SKype after home.

1. K brought the news that eBay just changed (*fired*) the CEO/co-founder of Skype to Chairman due to its poor finance performance. I always wonder why eBay bought Skype in the very beginning. Same doubt for eBay's acquisition of StumbleUpon. No synergy IMHO. Best acquisition target should be the one can adding more auctionable items to eBay such as my lunch time etc.

2. Then our EEM study group tried to do a Skype conference call with 6 people. Turned out to be quite a challenge. We end up with group chat via Skype rather than group talking. Or should we try the free conference call service at all. The service gives you a free 800 number to call in. (So disappointed with for the 1st time that I cannot upload/convert the syllabus file of Extended Enterprise Management so I am with this time)

Tomo has no class. Then it means I will be busier...

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