Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tweeters should buy Twitter

There has been a lot of buzz in the Blogosphere about Twitter buyout offers (from Facebook, Yahoo!, Google, etc.) as well as a lot of talk about how Twitter (or rather Tweeting) is too important to be controlled by any single vendor and how it's too important to be so susceptible to outages.

The fist vein of discussion is about monetization. If Twitter can't find a way to make money (without messing with their winning and incredibly simple formula) the thought is that they will be open to a massive buyout offer (and then they'd just let the buyer worry about monetization).

They second vein of discussion in about reliability. The main recurring theme here is decentralization (open it up they say, it should be distributed like any of many of the technologies that make the Internet what it is).

While I find the first idea to be plausible, the second, in my opinion, is not something that Twitter is ever going to accept (ie. i think they would fight, to the death, against it). Oh sure, there are many competitors out there, and some that are better in many respects, but a twitter by any other name is simply not as sweet. The power that Twitter now holds is in their brand. They've crossed a tipping point and are on their way to becoming a household name (if they aren't already). They are now a brand juggernaut of sorts, continuing to attract new users, not through superior qualities, but through massive massive recognition. So, I don't see them being simply replaced and or dethroned anytime soon.

However, I see a convergence between these two ideas. The problems of "How can Twitter be monetized?" and "How can Twitter be stabilized?" have at least one answer in common.

Tweeters should control Twitter.

Now I don't see Twitter allowing this to come about with any less of a fight than allowing themselves to be replaced in any other way, distributed or otherwise. So going back to the idea of a massive buyout offer, which I think they'd be likely to consider if the price were right: If the Twitter community could organize and raise enough money to make a serious offer (through micro-donations, pledge drives, corporate sponsorship or what have you) I think Twitter would be just as likely to take Tweeters' money as Google's or Yahoo!'s. Once Tweeters were in the driver seat I think there would be very little resistance to attempts to open up, decentralize, and stabilize Twitter.

I think the idea is crazy enough to work. What do you think?


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Calgary Hacker Space

Recently a friend of mine, wrote:

"Calgary needs a hackerspace. Not because “Vancouver, Toronto & Montreal have one”, but because the Calgary hacker community is stagnant and scattered. We need a physical place where hackers can come together with the purpose of sharing, learning, teaching, and nurturing personal growth. I envision this meatspace location as a place where like-minded people can come to work on very cool projects and allow for the teaching of anyone around to learn.

I should clarify something pretty quick here: I don’t mean “hacker” as in evil computer vandals/criminals. I also don’t think “hacker” is constrained to computer activities. Anyone is a hacker if they possess the mindset of curiosity, abstract thought, and imagination. A hackerspace is for anyone that knows a bit of stuff, with a thirst to learn more, and wants to apply their knowledge/learning to cool projects. I envision those projects including (but not limited to):

  • Arduino programming & other electronics
  • lockpicking
  • computer security
  • physical security
  • personal privacy & anti-surveillance
  • rapid prototyping
  • crafting of physical objects (metalwork, woodwork, knitting, etc.)
  • alternative energy
  • cellphone exploration
  • voip usage & research
  • radio communication

The above list should also include overlaps between two or more themes, such as:

  • electronics+clothes-making = wearable computing
  • physical security+computer security = using RFID as a lock
-- Calgary Hackerspace - a call to action
I've never really referred to myself as a "hacker", but that's a term that might apply to me. Whether it does or not, I want to do what i can to help this idea happen.

I must confess, that I'm not even terribly interested in the actual space. I like to deal with the abstract. Even code is a little more concrete then i prefer to get.

I'm really interested in the process. I'm interested in the concept of a group of really smart people, who don't have much in common aside from a passion for something that makes them interested in something else such that someone else might call them a "hacker", all coming together and trying to accomplish something big as a group.

I'm interested in how the space and the group will be managed. How will the group make decisions? Where will the space be? Will it be one space or many? Who holds the keys? Who holds the money? Where does the money come from? IS there even any money? Who owns the space? Who cleans the space? Will people sleep there? Will people eat there? Will people live there?

I've got lots of ideas and, being an idea guy, the idea of being surrounded by people who can take a good idea and run with it excites me!

If any of this excites you, or even mildly interests you, please join the google group or the facebook group and figure out a way to help.


[ UPDATE: 2009-7-9 ]

With a lot of hard work from some dedicated individuals the Calgary Hacker space is coming along nicely!


Congratulation on the new digs Protospace!