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A micro-blogging platform, a great way to save cost for start up businesses

What does Lightweight Models & Cost-Effective Scalability means in Web2.0?

In the web 1.0 era, online start-up businesses do not know about scalability in business models or technology which helps to deliver products to the market faster and cheaper without sacrificing future growth. All these can be depicted by the use of web 2.0 which qualifies in a strategic move that can be done for a fraction of the initial price. With the olden web 1.0, traditional cost and risk are relatively high. A huge amount of initial capital is required which leads to a longer reach to foresee a good return on investments.

Developpement durable

“Most widely deployed web service is because of its simplicity, while the complex corporate web services stacks have yet to achieve wide deployment’ –Tim O’Reilly 

In relation to the above quotation, any start-up business model should be as simple as possible to attain a high possible success rate. It is recommended to utilise a scalable business model that allows one to start small with a small budget but gradually increase costs as revenue is increased. An online business without a big budget will certainly be a cost-effective approach. If the business fails, there is no large amount of capital that is being lost. Another reason to start an online business is one would recognise a quicker return on investments as the capital is low and after the business products has been marketed and revenue has been generated.

Tumblr

Tumblr is a micro-blogging platform that receives over 15billion page views/month thanks to David Karp, the founder for Tumblr.  Tumblr is a young company that has a lot of opportunity growth. Recently, the platform has been ramping up its content curation efforts, building out its fashion community and expressing plans to build out communities in other entertainment sectors as well. As Tumblr continues to facilitate content curation and help its users discover more of what it has to offer, we can see it becoming a ripe playing field for business of all stripes.

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Tumblr is a great platform to enhance ones business brand’s presence and drawing more customers into the fold. It visually presents an image of what the company is and who is ‘behind the scene’, as well as what products to offer.

Compare to WordPress, Tumblr is super simple. It is easy to set up and customise and within minutes, posting is easily reachable. Tumblr is one of the most visually appealing and user-friendly platforms. It is an effective way to build community or small business online. With a little modification of HTML wizadry, one can alter Tumblr themes by adding widgets and sidebars, etc.

How does Tumblr contributes to the pattern: ‘Lightweight Models & Cost-Effective Scalability’?

Tumblr followed some best practices that help to minimise start-up costs. It uses available tools such as API. Tumblr uses LAMP (a combination of free, open source software, such as Linux, Apache HTTP Server, MySQL and PHP/Perl/Python, to build a viable general purpose web server).

Tumblr did not manage their own servers and are not responsible for backups. Instead, they acquire a cost-effective solution of outsourcing their storage for their media to Amazon S3 service while tumblr themselves did the development for their platform. Tumblr’s decision to reach out to Amazon S3 is that they have the intention of creating a large user-base that requires the building of platform with scalability in mind. The growth in user-base in Tumblr over the years had made Amazon the need to enlarge the storage space.

Tumblr has self-service accounts which increases scalability where users are able to manage their accounts freely. This means that Tumblr are able to work on the main platform only rather than managing individual user accounts. Hence, saving cost (small expertise needed to maintain platform only).

In regards to Tumblr’s scalability in its revenue model, it generates most of its revenue through organisation and individuals who participated alongside with the Union Square Ventures (in an 85 million dollar investment round in 2011).

The downsides of Tumblr

Compare to WordPress, Tumblr has lesser control over formatting which might be a hassle for some who alters a lot. Tumblr doesn’t allow self hosting where when one host your own site and in which Tumblr has issues where the site is required to be shut down momentarily, your site will go down with it.

Other Links:

Tim O’Reilly’s web2.0 report 

Amazon web services (Amazon S3)

Best practices for maximising scalability and cost effectiveness of queue-based messaging solutions on windows azure

Online rental games can be a huge success

What does Leveraging the long tail in web 2.0 means?

In the current world, internet is the driver to many innovative changes. With limitless choices around the web to search to niche markets that appeals to a specific group of customers. Leveraging the long tail is mainly determining how a business generates revenues by selling specific products that appeal to a specific group of customers.

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In general, those specific products were not highly sought out as a necessary product therefore there is a much lower competition in the market. Therefore, by utilizing the best practices of leveraging the long tail pattern from Tim O’Reilly, these providers will be able to increase their sales rate of those lowly sought out products through reaching out to a niche market.

“Leverage customer-self service and algorithmic data management to reach out to the entire web, to the edges, and not just the center, to the long tail and not just the head.” – Tim O’Reilly 

With many examples such as Google and eBay that utilizes the search technology and brought it to a whole new level of automating a self service advertisement search bar where users searches are being matched with recommended results. All the high technology programming intelligence comes from collaborative and collective filtering from the user’s behaviour.

Gamefly

Gamefly specialises in the retail of games related to products such as PC, xbox360, PS3, PS Vita, Wii U, Wii and 3DS. Being the largest online video game rental subscription service in the United States(US)with more than 330,000 subscribers as of 2009, their growth has been proven from the source of a compelling proposition of their subscription model and high level customer service. Even with the huge amount of customers subscribed to Gamefly, it has constantly been able to reach customers in the US. With the benefit of great convenience and a wide variety of games to choose from the website, it is an affirmation that Gamefly is successful in leveraging the long tail.

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How does Gamefly contributes to the pattern: ‘Leveraging the long tail’?

Gamefly has reached out to its customers through the use of the internet and the website which customers can browse through categories at their convenience.  Without the physical retail shop, it can be certain that stocks are updated accurately online without the need to check the inventory in the retail shops.

Gamefly utilizes the wisdom of crowds’ technique to rate and provide feedbacks to certain games from the customers therefore being able to estimate the supply and demand chain. Gamefly leverages the ratings they gather on the recent releases to promote to other customers on the front page of their websites.

The website uses algorithmic data management to recommend other games to customers based on the price and the category of the game they are going to purchase through the cart.

The ranges of self service tools are high. E.g. Shopping cart, product search and online downloads. Users are able to have control over their registered accounts (Payment details/ personal details). Accounts can be linked through Facebook and Twitter.

The downsides of Gamefly

It is only available in the US, which is a waste as there are many potential niche markets outside of their comfort zone in US. By expanding the long tail even further, there would be bigger revenue entering to Gamefly’s pocket. With some of the reviews of Gamefly, here are some cons:

Other Links:

The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Other Pros and Cons of Gamefly

Connecting educators and learners

What does Perpetual Beta in web2.0 mean?

In the discussion that can be easily Google searched of Perpetual Beta can be also known as End of the Software Release Cycle. In the internet era, software is delivered as service instead of in a product form. Multiple constant changes in the business are required to shift from a more basic to a radical structure.

Perpetual beta is an open development of new features in a timely basis that could potentially involve users for a test trial for real-time monitoring. – Tim O’Reilly 

Base on the case study stated in the O’Reilly’s website, Microsoft is one of a clear web application that has constant extensions that is dependent on the employee’s job of upgrading the computing environment every 2-3 years. Comparing Google and Microsoft, both strong competitors are striving to achieve a frequent change as to release early and release often. Most importantly, both big organisations require in-depth analysis to avoid excessive delivery of new features that can put off current and potential users.

Edmodo

Edmodo is a social network platform for educational purpose. The main users are teachers and students. It is a safe platform for teachers to upload teaching materials on Edmodo. It is a free and safe collaborative way to connect teachers and students. In the current internet era, many students are equipped with a laptop. Students are always on the edge of exploring different collaborative platform.

This web application has also integrated a link between other different popular social media.

It is an excellent way to build network of communities internally among classmates or across different schools. Edmodo has a similar look to Facebook, therefore users of Facebook would not find this application hard to use.

How does Edmodo contribute to the pattern: ‘Perpetual Beta’?

In the early release of Edmodo, there are constant updates with new features added frequently. Edmodo went through private beta testing which gave the programming team sufficient time to polish the platform for official release. Edmodo had monthly updates from the programming team. With the constant enhancement of the web application, the real-time approach has been a great start which allows the organisation to see a growth in the number of users.

Teachers are invited to join the “support group” where they can post questions for any new features. This creates a combination force from the organization and the user (teachers) to test out new features and get instant feedbacks/suggestions. This process of engaging users has been adopted by many organisations such as Facebook.

Edmodo is programmed on more than one programming interface. It utilises Javascript, PHP, CSS and HTML. With the vast variety of different development approach, it increase flexibility and suggestions by the users can be integrated easily.

Many other interesting articles/blogs can be found here.

The downsides of Edmodo

Currently, keeping the downtime as low as possible is an issue that has been debating among Edmodo’s users. In a situation when a teacher is uploading a document that is to be distributed to the students in the classroom, and a downtime has unexpectedly been issued, frustrations from the users will increase.

Other Links:

About Edmodo

Developers of Edmodo

Tim O’Reilly’s full detailed explaination

Wikipedia on Perpetual Beta

 

Cloud collaboration on cross-platforms

What does software above the level of a single device in web2.0 means?

In the current century, PC is no longer the only device being utilized to access the Web. Various introductions of devices such as smart devices that are an electronic device that is cordless. It is connected via WiFi, 3G or 4G and has the capability of voice and video communication, internet browsing and geo-location service.

“In the areas of Web2.0 where we expect to see some of the greatest change, as more and more devices is connected to the new platform.” – Tim O’Reilly 

In relation to the quotation above, various web services have been on the rise in looking into other platforms that benefit the consumers. This gives the web application a wider range of flexibility. In fact, the development of software above the single level device has proved to improve our lives.

Dropbox

Dropbox is a free online cloud base storage service. It is a online backup web application that many would have known to appreciate once the initial PC has been broken. Uploaded documents that have been wiped away due to several reasons such as PC bug can be easily retrieved from your dropbox account. Dropbox has been known as the world’s 6th most valuable web startup after Facebook, Twitter, 360Buy, Groupon and Zynga. 

How does Dropbox contribute to the pattern: ‘Software above the level of a single device’?

Dropbox has come across as a cross-platform for synchronization where folders can be shared among friends to promote rich media sources. There are several versions across many OS (Operating System for desktops) and mobile devices such as Android, Iphone, Ipad and Blackberry. Dropbox can be accessed anywhere with the use of internet access via WiFi, 3G or 4G.

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There is another web application that can be compatible with Dropbox. That would be Google Drive. Google Drive takes Google Docs cloud-based office software and implements a simple, user-friendly storage.

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Like Dropbox, Google Drive is consistent throughout the synchronization of files. It integrates with Windows and Mac OS.

What is great about Dropbox is that it makes file synchronization easy for everyone and provides versatility in file sharing and versioning.

The downsides of Dropbox?

Dropbox could sell, transfer and share their contents including users’ personal information for business reasons. It is linked to ‘Data is the next Intel Inside’ in one of Tim O’Reilly’s design patterns where whether selling customer’s information is a violation or not. Dropbox has privacy and security issues when it comes to users uploading files. The files can be accessed by someone who is not intended.

Other Links:

Tim O’Reilly’s Pattern

Top 10 personal cloud storage services

Dropbox Pro/Con

Further insider of Dropbox 

Dropbox webpage

Drawings with professionalism

What does ‘Rich User Experience in web2.0 means?

With most web browsers in today’s century, the deliverables of the web browsers are framed to deliver a full scale application that enhances users’ experiences. It can be the combination of various technologies to design key components of Web2.0 applications.

“A Web 2.0 word processor would support wiki-style collaborative editing, not just standalone documents. But it would also support the rich formatting we’ve come to expect in PC-based word processors.” – Tim O’Reilly

In relation to the quotation above, it began with a period of user interface innovation where developers build web applications on computers. It is a huge competition advantage when organisations succeed in creating web application that enriches the users’ data and most importantly, thinking of ways to improve their users experience and participation that leads to higher user satisfaction rates, lower web site abandonment and higher scale conversion rates.

Creately

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Creatly has got an attractive interface with almost all diagrams and shapes that you can imagine. The interface is relatively fast in response when changes are made by users. Creately’s intelligent diagramming engine suggests connectors, does automatic groupings and defines data properties to take drawing to the next level. Team collaboration is real easy with Creately. You don’t need to sign up for an account to create a diagram. It’s has also got a desktop version to be used offline!

Below is a short 2 minutes video clip about Creately:

Creately provides a rich interactive and high user engagement experience for users through the different features and functions available for any types of diagrams. All of these features are wired for different user’s capabilities and needs (Designers, Developers, Project Manager, and Business Analyst) shown below.

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How does Creately contribute to the pattern: ‘Rich User Experience’ ?

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‘Real Easy’ and Beautiful Diagrams’ represents usability and simplicity. There is no need to download or install Creately. It is a smart and interactive yet functional web interface tool where users would only need a web browser and an internet server. Another function that Creately’s diagrams provide speedy drag and drop feature that makes manoeuvring images easy. There is a tool-bar which makes producing a diagram easier and it allows filtration of diagrams using tags, so that organization becomes simple.

‘Team Collaboration’ enables users to be engaged with the latest techniques and technologies to support at wide spectrum of interaction represents. It supports Real-Time collaboration where working on the same diagram on the same time is possible no matter where you are. Creately has a post-it note style comments on the diagram itself to help the user spread the message across to inform other team members on what you are talking about. Creately also integrates easy sharing system where diagrams can be shared by inviting new collaborators which generates a unique secure link by email. Lastly, it helps users manage diagrams and collaborators with ease that makes sense. This proves to be a great sense of management and accessibility.

‘Smart Diagramming’ emerges out of the dynamics of user behaviour when Creately’s intelligent diagramming engine suggests connectors, does automatic groupings and defines data properties to take drawing to the next level.

Creately can be signed in by Google, GoogleApps, Facebook or Twitter. Creately also have an optional button that says ‘remember me’ when signing in. It shows preserve content addressability.

Creately adopts an adaptive personalization function when changes made on the diagrams inside Creately are automatically reflected across all web pages.

The downsides of Creately?

Creately does not provide any search engine widget where most web application tools have it. It would benefit users when there is a means of accessing content on the sites.

Other Links:

www.creately.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_3TH_afSvXI#

http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=5

http://lib.tkk.fi/Dipl/2009/urn100111.pdf

Curiousity in Investments

What does ‘Innovation In Assembly’ in web2.0 means?

With developed websites, open source is the software where it shows the source code in which developers can modify it. It is available over on the internet. As one of the eight core patterns stated by Tim O’Reilly, Innovation in Assembly can be said as to have some rights reserved. It is to adopt a standard in restricting full re-use of collective data and to ensure that adoption of re-use is low.

“Web 2.0 will provide opportunities for innovation for companies to beat the competition by getting better at harnessing and integrating service provided by others” – Tim O’Reilly

In relation to the above quotation, users these days, tend to find themselves transitioning into a completely new era of cultivating growth and advancement in a new web2.0 era. Users have attained opportunities in the consumer and service industry in expanding their business to perform their needs like it has never been committed before. This is due to Application Programming Interface (API) and the Internet Protocol (IP).

An Application Programming Interface (API) is a feature of a software application that allows other software to manage with it and to call upon the functions and exchange data.

StockTwits

StockTwits is a financial communication web platform for the financial and investing community. Users are able to share ideas, news or information on finance or investments on StockTwits. What makes StockTwits’s information real is that their users include analyst, media and investors as well as public companies such as Bing.com and TheStreet.com. The contents are focused on investing only. It is possible to add specific stocks and save them into your own portfolio and limit the conversation to trusted sources. Comments are short and it allows the reader/user to read the headlines of stock information quickly.

It promotes transparency where contributors (who post up this information on the web platform) are linked to their twitter to view the full history of their tweets.

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How does StockTwits contribute to the pattern: ‘Innovation In Assembly’?

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As mentioned in this post above on API, StockTwits API gives access to most of the data used on their platform. It allows the integration of user data and build tools to help users to visualise their own information. It’s a new way of helping the users to preview their display of information.

StockTwits API had decided to obey the REST (Representational State Transfer) rules by simply changing the format to enable the user to choose their own format. API supports XML, RSS and JSON.

The features of API can be viewed here.

With APIs, it allows users to trust the platform (StockTwits) as it allows access to data which in turns create openness. RSS feeds are widely available in the platform to ensure find-ability. What I like about StockTwits is that they applied API’s best practice of developing a full API documentation for users.

The downsides of StockTwits?

One potential downside is that some of the “twits” are questions, opinions, or statements of exasperation rather than news.

The platform that allows the sharing of data can be dominated by popular companies such as Apple. Therefore the feeds will be about Apple most of the time. The issue has already been address. StockTwits allows users to create a watch list on what they wish to follow to be updated. It is similar to filtration.

Other Links:

http://www.aaii.com/computerized-investing/article/stocktwits.mobile

http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=4

http://stocktwits.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_QPmQ_w2r4

Music is a shared district that requires controlled strategies

What does ‘Data is the next Intel Inside’ in web2.0 means?

Most web 2.0 applications focuses on database which in terms harnesses the community to participate through data humanisation which leads to a key question commonly asked when it comes to the control over database. “Who owns the data?”

Tim O’Reilly stated that “huge companies such as Microsoft licensed their data as they understood the importance of owning the core database

The shift between online data and interactive data make us, the users, own the data. The growth in web application’s success is determined by our regular contributions hence, it is important that organisation should focus more on developing an advantage that deals with not only product strategy but also integrating data strategy.

How does Last.fm contribute to the pattern: ‘Data is the next Intel Inside’?

Last.fm is able to harness data for a new outcome that ensures a long-term product utilisation that is beneficial to the organisation and the users. This web base application allows user to generate a list of content of own recommendations where it can be set to private or public view for community sharing.

The application allows users to stream tracks from radio stations, and automatically fills one’s library with updates on what the user have been listening recently. Users can enhance their Last.fm experience by being up to date on recent music that community around the world are listening to.

The data that the user listens to are being contributed to the main source (Last.fm). Last.fm could maximise the users’ data and update the top chart on music recommendations. A large online community can view random Last.fm users on what they are listening in real-time. The term used when people uses the web application to listen to songs is called ‘Scrobbling’.

E.g. Jer Fen is listening to The Lumineers (pop, tags)
Scrobbling from ITunes in Australia

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It also links to the social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook. It syncs with your page in Twitter/Facebook with widgets (similar to blogs like wordpress.com that has widgets to showcase at the top, sides and bottom of the webpage) and it will show what tracks has been recently played.
They have an account in Youtube shown below. Youtube is a platform for Last.fm to post videos and interviews with artists appearing for Last.fm across Europe and from their studio in New York.

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Last.fm practices best practices. Users control their own data. Users are able to privatise their web application page. Users also control what is being played in their personal library which will be sync to the web application.

Last.fm too ensures that they reserve the right to their logos and does not allow anyone to recreate similar logos that represents Last.fm. Creative common logos are provided for users like myself to download it from their webpage and use it for other purposes such as blogging or advertising.

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The advantage of Last.fm is that it does not provide to third parties on user’s personal information that has been recorded into Last.fm database. It is only that the third party information is revealed to the user and it is the user’s full decision to show or ignore his/her interest. It seems that Last.fm is trustable with personal information.

The downsides of Last.fm in terms of ‘Data is the next Intel Inside’ ?

Privacy issues: User can choose whether or not to reveal their real personal information with Last.fm in the policy. As Last.fm relies on users sharing information, withdrawing consent of sharing personal information will mean that the user will not be able to be able to be Last.fm registered user. This means that many features that Last.fm offers are unavailable.

Other Links:

http://www.last.fm/legal/privacy

http://oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=3

http://library.web.cern.ch/library/ailis/pdf/lst08danowski_abstract.pdf

http://radar.oreilly.com/2007/12/google-admits-data-is-the-inte.html

http://googlesystem.blogspot.com.au/2007/12/google-is-all-about-large-amounts-of.html