Lift11: David Galbraith, Four trends for the digital world [en]

[fr] Notes de la conférence Lift11 à Genève.

Live and India-lagged notes from the Lift11 Conference in Geneva. Might contain errors and personal opinions. Use the comments if you spot nasty errors.

First trend: people vs. celebrities

Valentino, first movie star, after 3200 years of acting. 300 people were injured at his funeral *steph-note: did I get that right?*

Networks favour the big guys. Insert cliché long tail slide here.

Digital goods: infinite supply > demand — and that’s where the long tail stops. Celebrity increases the head.

Celebrity is genetic: in MySpace, the “celebrities” are male singers — songbirds! A male thrush will sing itself to death to attract females.

Racks of servers at Twitter to deal with the Bieber load.

The celebrity effect allows the system to be gamed.

Gaga’s bandwidth bill: 10 Petabytes @ 15c/140 bits SMS rate — if she paid for her bandwidth, 10.5 trillion $

Second trend: peope vs. robots.

Robots = Google.

Google’s Achilles’ heel is it’s idealogical attachment to its algorithm.

Facebook is about people. Ask both “dear Google/Facebook, can you recommend a good sushi bar?” and compare the results. Friendship is a special relationship: un-spammable.

Here’s a trend: recommendations from friends replace algorithmic results

Third: people powered design (amateur is better than pro) — consumer vs corporate design

Consumer Internet products are better than professional ones. Because:

  • low marginal costs (digital goods are mass markets, exclusive ones are a bit crap)
  • architecture vs features (pass features to contractor)

Until recently software wasn’t designed (marketing => engineering). This is changing.

It’s not about features — cheap hifi has lots of features. It’s about design.

Even astronauts bring their own computers alongside NASA’s. The important thing is design.

Fourth: public vs. corporate networks (or why Skype is free)

5 hour video call: 0$ — compare that to the cost of a voice call through the cellphone network.

It has to do with the infrastructure. The web as wiring.

Two kinds of network, incompatible: free (internet, roads) and pay per trip (phone, rail)

But the internet runs over the telco’s network.

What video is doing to the net is increasing traffic thousandfold, but with the same road.

Messaging is overcharged and video is undercharged. Not all bits convey the same information value (video vs. SMS) but they are charged the same — so the charge per unit of information is completely unbalanced.

Something has to give: either government control (Internet runs on non-corporate networks) or 2 internets (corporate message network) or net neutrality is dead (messages prioritized over video, for example). Trend is no more all-you-can-eat data.

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