Jeff Random

musings and metatheory


Monetizing Communities – Group Forming Networks maximize per user value

Previously I referenced the value of trust.

Idea – The more a network facilitates trust, the easier it is for network users to form groups.

From David Reed re: The Power of Community Building
Group Forming Networks maximize per user value and the dominant value in a typical network tends to shift from one category to another as the scale of the network increases.

reedslaw
If so then: Trust enabling tools not only allow your network to be group forming, but also maximize per user value in your community (Group Forming Network).

Published by r8ndom, on March 14th, 2006 at 9:11 am. Filled under: Media Economics,Metatheory,New Media,Posts,TrustNo Comments

Meta-Theory of Optimization

Meta-Theory of Optimization

Optimization is the discipline (art/science) which is concerned with finding the maxima and minima of functions, subject to constraints.

In Meta-Terms, Optimization does not necessarily mean finding the optimum solution to a problem. Often this is not possible (constraints), and this is where the balance (heuristics) is used to make principally accurate judgments factoring in given circumstances. Then these are tested and refined to a degree that is itself part of the Optimization, which grows into a self-referential diminishing curve.

Knowing what questions to ask (your metrics), what tests to run (your data), and what to do with the information (analysis) is the Art of Optimization.

This is a definition in progress. What do you think? Let me know

Published by r8ndom, on February 21st, 2006 at 1:36 pm. Filled under: Metatheory,Optimization,PostsNo Comments

Glad to get a Virus?

With reports that a “New Worm Chats with Users on AIM” link and even goes so far as to respond “lol no its not its a virus” when questioned it’s not too far of a leap to imagine personalized viruses.

Don’t imagine the personalized viruses tailored to your DNA that many sci-fi novels talk about, but instead think the evolution of Spear-Phishing.

This kind of an attack could use the information it gathers about you (contact names, frequency of contact, online purchase history, emails, IM history etc) to masquerade as a “trusted” contact to everyone you know. If it wasn’t too intrusive, then it would be difficult to even notice if your system had been infected.

Imagine that instead of trying to steal your credit card numbers, or other information that has a lot of attention focused on security this “personalized” virus simply pretended to be you occasionally.

It could IM/email your contacts, and suggest products or services. If it only chose things that you would recommend, or have purchased (think of Amazon’s suggestion engine), to the type of people who would be interested (search for keywords in email/IM interactions), and could do it in your ‘voice’ (copy phrasing from IM/email) it would be very effective. Perhaps it would even place VOIP calls, and remix your voice for maximum effectiveness.

Whatever the mechanism, the fact remains that eventually one of your friends would say ‘Thanks for the heads up on that (stock pick, book, software package, membership website etc)’ and it would come out that you didn’t actually tell them about it.

The question is – would you mind?

Think of it this way – If someone had a website with EXACTLY the news that you were interested in, and nothing else you would be very happy to read it. It wouldn’t matter that the site was a splog newsmaster site, or the product of a great news team. Either way you are happy with the end result.

By the same token, you really would like to let all of your friends know about the products and services that you think would improve their lives. It would be even better if you were able to do so without taking any effort on your part, and it just “worked in the background”.

By making itself unobtrusive, and even helpful you would have very little incentive to track down and remove the bot. From there it’s just a short step to reminding you about appointments, screening phone calls etc. After all if it’s doing a good enough job, you might even want it to help you to manage your relationships a little. Imagine being able to delegate those obligatory chats to your Fetch* .

As I have discussed before the revolution in personalized content may well evolve from search engine spammers. That is just one niche in the digital ecosystem. In order for digital life to evolve there needs to be competition and consequences. With anti-virus, anti-spyware and other types of competitive software in the mix only the fittest will survive.

I can’t wait to see what comes out from this.

* Fetch = autonomous adaptive software agent or knowledge based agent.

Published by r8ndom, on December 8th, 2005 at 1:10 pm. Filled under: Content,Metatheory,Personalized Content,Posts,TrustNo Comments

MMO games are formalized reputation economies

Trust + MMORG = Reputation Economy

new reputation economies will pervasively reshape culture as dramatically as the invention of money. Entirely novel kinds of human interaction will spawn new social classes, power structures and lifestyles. Reputation economies will be abstractions of relationships, in the same way that money abstracts material wealth and labor.

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Published by r8ndom, on December 1st, 2005 at 10:04 pm. Filled under: Media Economics,Metatheory,Posts,TrustNo Comments

Ends vs Means

Ends vs Means

Mature people who actually care about the world don’t ponder the question “do the ends justify the means,” because they know that there IS no end.

From Decemberist via tecznotes

Published by r8ndom, on October 22nd, 2005 at 12:31 am. Filled under: Metatheory,PostsNo Comments

Media 2.0 Strategic Maxims

From Bubblegeneration we get what I am calling the Media 2.0 maxims.

1) Network economies dominate search.

2) Viral economies dominate microcontent/communities.

3) Distributed economies dominate personalization/microchunking.

The point is that if you can put all three together, you realize a *huge* scale advantage, because you’re realizing nonlinear returns to scale along all three dimensions.

Published by r8ndom, on October 18th, 2005 at 1:15 am. Filled under: Media 2.0,Media Economics,Metatheory,New Media,Posts1 Comment

New Media Economics Today

“Work It Harder Make It Better Do It Faster, Makes Us stronger” DaftPunk

Looking at revenues & users for Ebay, Yahoo & Google is where new media economics really begins to come into it’s own. This is web 2.0 theory being proven in the market today.

Times of great change mean times of great opportunity.

Web 2.0 is a shift to from tight, hierarchical architectures which realize exponential network FX, to loosely structured architecture which realize combinatorial network FX.

More simply, Web 2.0 is about the shift from network search economies, which realize mild exponential gains – your utility is bounded by the number of things (people, etc) you can find on the network – to network coordination economies, which realize combinatorial gains: your utility is bounded by the number of things (transactions, etc) you can do on the network.

via bubblegeneration - strategy, business models, and innovation

Published by r8ndom, on September 13th, 2005 at 6:21 pm. Filled under: Content,Media 2.0,Media Economics,Metatheory,Posts,SearchNo Comments

Trust is not Trusted Computing


While I have written about The Value of Trust before, trusted computing is entirely different.

This incredible short is both a beautiful example of messaging as well as a good explanation about some of the issues with trusted computing.

watch it now

After watching that, it’s an ideal time to enjoy reading the story
0wnz0red to take your understanding to another level.



Via Boing Boing

Published by r8ndom, on September 10th, 2005 at 1:17 pm. Filled under: Content,Media 2.0,Media Economics,Metatheory,Posts,Trust,VideosNo Comments

Granularity Metaphor

Nivi offers a great metaphor for understanding the benefits of granularity for RSS content.

The RSS is the TCP/IP of Web 2.0 is a very interesting read, as is Nivi in general.


RSS is like an API for content. RSS gives you access to a web site’s data just like an API gives you access to a web site’s computing power. Most important, RSS gives you access to your data that you have locked up on a web site.

Every Web 1.0 company will have to decide what content they will open with RSS. For example, Amazon already makes their content like their book catalog available through their API. But will Amazon open up user-contributed content through RSS?

Will you have access to

  • Your explicit content like your purchase history and reviews you’ve written?

  • Your drive-by content like the books you have recently browsed on Amazon?

  • Other user’s content such as book reviews?

I believe I heard Jon Udell say that the winners of the Web 2.0 orgy will be the sites that don’t lock up user-contributed content. Instead, the winners will create a compelling ecosystem for you to store your content and bring in your content from other sites via RSS. Food for thought.

Note: This is Part 3 of a continuing series called RSS is the TCP/IP of Web 2.0. You may also like Parts 1 and 2.

Published by r8ndom, on September 6th, 2005 at 10:24 pm. Filled under: Media 2.0,Metatheory,Personalized Content,Posts5 Comments

Copy Optimized- DVDA & more

Metadata that reconstructs the file via the web – exactly what we need these days. The more granular content gets the better this works.

There needs to be a standard so that it’s completely unambiguous just what one means when one says “Copy Optimized DVD Audio disc”. It’s that clear specification that will make embedded players and perfect peer-to-peer network copies possible. A disc containing such files could be popped into your home stereo DVD player and made to play, copy and share with no more user intervention than hitting a button…

But here’s the key: each file will be named in a way that’s optimized for file sharing, with artist, album, title and track number right in the filename, and with all the right metadata already embedded in the file when the album was mastered at the studio. To share Copy Optimized music you just direct your peer-to-peer filesharing application to your DVD drive so it will share what you’re listening to, have your friends copy the tracks onto their computers’ hard drives, or else burn them copies of the whole DVD.

But wait: there’s more! The DVD disk itself will have a metadata file in its root directory that will specify the contents of the entire disk. My idea is that one could make a bit-for-bit reconstruction of the whole disk just by grabbing this one metadata file and then looking for the tracks on the file sharing networks. This file would be one or two kilobytes of XML that would have each track’s metadata as well as its Secure Hash Algorithm checksum so it can be uniquely identified over the net.

Via Boing Boing

Published by r8ndom, on September 5th, 2005 at 2:27 pm. Filled under: Content,Media 2.0,Media Economics,Metatheory,Personalized Content,PostsNo Comments