@madpilot makes

Hot or Not

Call it lazy blogging, but the beginning of a new year is a perfect opportunity to write a list post. I’m not going to call the list below predictions for 2008 as there is absolutely no scientific basis for any of this, so I’m calling it Hot or Not – stuff that I think/want to be hot in 2008 and stuff that I would love to see head to the big TCP/IP stack in the sky.

OAuth: Hot. Anything that brings some sort of order to the big bad world of web APIs is a good thing. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is a specification that describes a method for token-based access to third party applications. So now there is really no excuse for that confounding social network to ask for your usernames and passwords to all of your other confounding social networking sites, just so it can spam have access to all of your friends.

Confounding Social Network sites: Not. OK. That is enough. I am over been bamboozed at the sight of another social network that has no direction, meaning or business model. The concept behind a social network is cool – we used to call them forums, remember – but it is now officially out of control. To the “entrepreneurs” behind them – stop trying to kill Facebook, they have more money than you and careless less about their users than you ever could (Exception: Spock – You are still Satan’s spawn).

Software as a Service: Hot. It’s kinda like Web2.0 but this time with meaning. Bring back computing to what it was meant for – helping humans to do what they do. The web is the perfect delivery method for a lot of the desktop software we use everyday. Google has already shown us what can be done with apps like GMail and Google Docs and there is a myriad of web applications that have made the leap (If I can build one, anyone can). Pay for what you use, don’t worry about license fees any more, don’t worry about what happens when you hard drive crashes, or about deploying to all 500 machines in your organisation.

Advertising as a Business Mode: Not. The darling child of Web2.0/New Media/Social Networks. Unless your site is already doing the traffic of Google/YouTube/Facebook or your are a porn site, go and erase the “we will pay for our hosting via advertising” line from you business plan. Seconds thoughts, if you are Facebook, you should probably do the same (Nice work on beacon – at what point did that actually seem like a good idea?). Advertising only works if there is eyeballs a LOT of eyeballs on pages and if your target audience is the type that clicks on ads. And since every man and his dog has released a social network this week, you aren’t a unique snowflake. Get a real business plan first.

Mashups: Hot. Yeah, I know – these have been around since the first beta of Web 2.0 but it has never really extended much beyond adding a Google Map to your site. I think 2008 and will see some really cool productivity apps built leveraging the webservices of other web sites. I think that it may even spill over in to the corporate world – I’d love to see company intranets using webservices to customise workflows.

Getting VC funding then hoping to sell to <insert large company name here>: Not. Now, I have no problem with the concept of funding, or the hopes and dreams of having a large company with a bank balanace bigger than your phone number (including country and area code) throw you some bones, per se. Where I do draw the line, however is pitching with a business plan that can’t really pay back a return to the investor unless the business get bought out. Mind you, the investors really should know better – or maybe they are just much smarter than I am, who knows. Regardless, when this whole thing collapses in on it’s self, I’ll be dancing like it is on sale for $19.99…

Mobile: Hot. This is the next frontier for the web. Everyone has a mobile (some people two or three) and they are generally on their person at all times. Extend the SaaS idea to these small devices and you really will be able to get your stuff done when it suits. Again, this isn’t new, but there have been some advancements in technology and some new players who understand the web much better (that’s Google if you were wondering). I think 2008 is the year that see the mobile platform as a first-class netizen rather than something that the work experience kid gets to work on.

Using user data with out permission: Not: You would have by now seen my (MANY) rants about Spock and Facebook. Those playing in the dirty, back alleyways of social networking really need to take a long hard look at themselves. It’s my data, and I’d prefer it if you didn’t sell my browsing habits to the highest bigger. And don’t even think about scraping my data from other sites without my permission – they asked nicely, you didn’t.

Company-as-a-Service: Hot. Haven’t heard of this? That’s because I just made it up. We have seen Software-as-a-Service, Hardware-as-a-Service (eg Amazon EC2), so why not have have companies that can shrink, grow and churn as required? There are so many freelancers and consultants out there, as well as a huge number of micro businesses. If they all grouped together, they would be able to work on sites ranging from the very-very big to the very-very small. Many places kind of do this already (this is why contracting was invented) but I can see this working in a more peer-to-peer sort of way – you aren’t contracting for someone, you are contracting with someone (there is a remarkable difference).

New years lists: Not.

Leave a comment – Is this Hot or Not ;)


  1. Company-as-a-Service: Good idea, but someone has to be the lead. Or some company needs to be the client face. The legal implication of the contract arrangement could be a road hump.

    Mind you a freelance coop type model may work. This could be a very powerful force. This has got me thinking...
  2. Company-as-a-Service is exactly where I'm taking Working Solo this year. Although as some smarty-pants has said "then you wouldn't be working solo".

    I also agree that if I get another invite to another "social networking" site from a "friend" then I'm going to scream so loud you could here it in Perth.
  3. Gary: yep, you are right about contracts being a hump, but there is no such thing as a perfect solution :) Having said that, you aren't stuck working with people that turn out dodgy in the long term, like you would be in a traditional setup.

    Leah: I think it is the way to go from freelancers. You can't do it all your self, so why pretend. The next problem is finding people... (Hello skill shortage)
  4. Just found some other blog posts that mirror some of my opinions. I love this time of year:


  5. Yeh, I'm sick of trying to do it all myself. I already outsource most of my design stuff to other freelancers, so this is a just another step in the right direction.

    Plus, it's lonely working by yourself.

    Ahem, if your interested, get in touch. :)
  6. Here Here! Some good points as always.

    How many business ideas are born out of the desperate need to line someone's pocket, rather than making a difference to someone's life. If you aim at the second then the money will come naturally.
  7. Love the Company-as-a-Service idea. I wait for the Western Australian New Company as a Service (WANCAS) to be announced.

    Seriously, I think you're onto something - I guess freelancers have always outsourced the bits of their contract they couldn't do - but to me the change would be in how it looked to the end user. They'd see a smorgasbord of skills available to them, even though it was still probably co-ordinated by the one contractor.

    Guess it's just making those social networks among freelancers more visible to the client. :)
  8. Pingback: Freelancer Friday - 2008 Edition | Bloggy Hell

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