Oh No! A Tech Rant!
I am getting a bit grumpy. I should be jumping for joy with the new IPad coming out that will “revolutionize” my web consuming habits and shower me with a million new apps. I should be smiling as I grub for Facebook friends and Twitter followers. But I am not. Instead, I think that there is something wrong with social networking software development. For example, check out Om Malik’s latest reflections on what is “hot”. Here is the link. I would argue that in the so called “hot” group, the services offered are getting more and more trivial. Like Daily Booth, a “twitter for photos”. Isn’t twitter trivial enough already?
I get the sense that as software developers keep swinging for the fences for mega hits, they have bought into the idea that “one size fits all” platforms trump everything else. The truth is that in many cases, one size just doesn’t fit all. You need something tailor made to a local activity.
Fred Wilson commented on this indirectly the other day, when he noted that the major platforms (Google, Facebook, and Twitter) are largely monetized in the US market, even though up to 80% of their user groups are outside of the US. Huh? Why is that? According to Fred,
The conventional wisdom is that international usage cannot be monetized as well as US traffic
Here is the link to Fred’s post. And why is that? I think it is because these platform services add generic rather than local value. Generic services find support in the huge inter-connected US market. But the rest of the world doesn’t buy in the US market. People there buy in their own markets. And it is apparently difficult to “monetize” something that is not plugged into a local buying market. In other words, sometimes local trumps generic. BTW, Google and Facebook have made some efforts to look local. But do their products really have any local DNA? I think not. Fred thinks they can get local. I’m not sure.
Can local tech trump the big boys? Sometimes they already do. In Russia, for example, Yandex has beaten Google in the search market. Here is a link to a Tech Crunch article on its success. Just one example, but interesting, I would say again — sometimes local trumps generic. And BTW it should!
FOLLOW - Doesn’t FourSquare show that a platform can be both local and generic? Sure, in a limited sort of way. FourSquare shows some local DNA by giving voice to preferences for restaurants and bars in a given city, as well as personality to heavy FourSquare users. Great. But this caters to the lifestyle of a single demographic group (affluent, young urban dwellers). What about the rest of us?