I love it when I discover a new idea or framework that can help predict the future. In the last couple weeks, I’ve seen Roger McNamee and Mike Maples Jr.’s new blog referenced(here and here for example) and the terms “Hypernet” and “Hyperweb” bandied about. This is interesting because it’s a strong attempt to apply a decision-making framework to stuff coming up in the windshield…rather than rehashing, pointing fingers, laying blame and taking credit for events that are fading quickly in the rearview. Love it. I’m glad there are people out there to rehash recent history, argue about it, and keep individuals and businesses in line. I’m just not too interested in being one!
Long, long ago I took a course called the Structure of Scientific Revolutions, taught by Thomas Kuhn at MIT. I got absolutely nothing out of it at the time because I was too young, lazy, and uninformed to realize I was sitting two rows of chairs away from a true thought leader. In subsequent years I learned how much I missed as I became interested in ways to understand the progression of technology. It can be understood…the details, names and dates are essentially random, but the “long wave” is quite understandable. The Hypernet blog uses some of the same underlying principles to understand the gathering of forces that can help predict the “next thing”. Roger, Mike, and others are quite convincing…not least of which is because of the S-curve graph appropriated from rogerandmike.com just below. I get a warm feeling seeing an S-curve…it means somebody understands the progression of technology. My tongue is only kinda-in-cheek.
I’ll let the smart people from the big blogs debate and refine Hypernet as it applies to the future of big business, but I’m part of a start-up business effort (CanaryVoice.com) that is helped and shaped by thinking about it in turns of Hyperweb. And Hyperweb is clarified by taking a look at this business. We’re tapping into ideas that will help us build a better business. We’ve developed a B2C website that helps people organize online media for personal events and celebrations. It requires special technology and effort to manage the media. Elements of “Hyperweb” apply all up and down our particular business effort:
- HTML5: simplifies and unifies the deployment and management of the media. It’s an important beginning of the Hyperweb
- Multiple Delivery: 5 years ago our website would likely have been the entire interface to the public. Now smartphone and tablet apps and websites are absolutely essential to the business. The service must be delivered in the ways that consumers will use it…it’s not just an academic technological effort. I consider all these apps and websites grouped together to be the very definition of Hyperweb. And here’s the rub…because we’re at the beginning of the Hyperweb, we’re struggling mightily to pull all this together with different technologies and developers. Imagine publishing a blog in 1996. You’d be hacking HTML all night to get 10% of the functionality you get instantly with WordPress. In a few years, innovators in the Hyperweb will create simple solutions to our complex full/mobile/website/apps development issues.
- Social Media: It’s time to consider social as part of the current wave (and permanent), and not “next” any more. Our start-up is social aware for the very beginning, using social graphs already in place—on which we’ll build our specific social graph. Social connectivity is a feature to us, not an end in itself. Just as Roger McNamee argues.
Our start-up isn’t going to produce technologies that define the coming Hyperweb (those that do will win big) but we could already use those technologies! At the current crux before those technologies emerge, we’ll continue cobbling together technology pieces from the previous cycle while keeping our eyes open for the advances that make it easier for us to shape and deliver our service.