March 04, 2008
eComm2008 a Week Away/Discount Registration Offer
Time sure flies and I just realized eComm2008 is only a week away. I blogged about it last week, and since then I wanted share this promo video message that one of their sponsors just put together - it's a good 2 minute take on why this event is shaping up so well.
There's also a press release that went out today with conference updates, including a preview of what Skype's Jonathan Christensen will be talking about during his keynote as part of an interview he did with Lee Dryburgh. The full transcript is posted on the eComm blog if you want the whole thing.
As mentioned last week, I'm happy to extend a 15% discount on your registration if you haven't done so yet. Just drop me a line, and I'll pass along the code you'll need to get that. Hope to see you there!
March 03, 2008
Webware 100 - I'm Voting for Octopz and Mobivox
CNET's Webware 100 voting commenced last Monday, and I'm just coming across this now.
This initiative sure looks like a great barometer of Web 2.0, and I would think that anyone following this space would want to be watching this group of companies closely. In some ways this reminds me of Demo, with the idea being that any company making this group is in good company. However, this a very different process where the nominations are determined by Webware's Editors, and the winners are chosen by readers/visitors to the site who make the effort to vote. So, it's not as gruelling as Demo, but it provides a great forum to recognize up and coming - as well as established companies.
To vote, the Web 2.0 space is grouped into 10 categories, and there are about 30 companies nominated in each category. Scrolling through these, there are lots of familiar and large names - Google, Facebook, Blogger, Flickr, etc. - so there's always a risk of this being a popularity contest. Sure, they'll get their share of mainstream votes, but for those of us watching smaller companies more closely, this is your chance to speak up.
There are tons of interesting companies in here, but I want to note two in particular - Ocotopz and Mobivox. Aside from being Canadian, these are the ones from all the nominations that I follow the closest. Toronto-based Octopz made the short list for voting, as did Montreal-based Mobivox. Readers of my blog will know I've followed both companies for some time, and have posted about them previously, here and here.
Whether I'm waving the Canadian flag, or you want to support a couple of really great companies, I would urge you to check both out and decide for yourself if they're worth your vote. I have voted for both, and would gladly recommend them to others if you wanted a second opinion.
At this time of writing, the Webware 100 has tallied around 1 million votes, so this thing is pretty popular. Voting ends March 31, and the winners will be conveniently announced just before the Web 2.0 Expo, which starts April 22.
February 29, 2008
Ike Elliott's Update on the VoIP Market
Been trying to get to this one all afternoon.
Ike Elliott had a really great post earlier today about the state of the US residential VoIP market. He's provided keen insights around a few sets of data points showing how the market shares break down. He and I follow this space quite a bit, so it's great to share his thoughts with my readers.
Basically, Ike is showing how the cablecos have strengthened their grip on this market since last year, and at this point, Vonage is a distant #3 with 15%. That's still a very respectable position, but aside from the cablecos, there's nobody else other that Skype. I'm glad Ike has listed them, even though Skype is not competing with the others in terms of providing a landline replacement service. Still, it's interesting to see where they stand, especially for revenues, which track at 8% of the market.
My only question is this - is this US or global revenues for Skype? I'm pretty sure that most of Skype's revenues are outside North America, and it's not clear to me what's being reported here. Regardless, as popular as Skype is, the revenues don't add up to much when compared on an absolute basis to the network-based competitors. On the other hand, of course, Skype's infrastructure, operating and marketing costs are next to nothing, so their margins are much healthier.
So, which do you prefer - high revenues/decent margins, or low revenues/high margins - or in Vonage's case, high revenues/decent margins, but huge OTHER costs? One thing is clear to me - it's tough to make a go selling just landline VoIP. Ike shows the ARPUs, which come in higher for the cablecos than Vonage, but that can be trickier territory. When you're selling the bundle, you can be more arbitrary allocating where that $99/month goes from each subscriber. It's very easy to bury voice in the mix as a loss leader, but with Vonage, you can't hide anything.
Lots of angles to explore here, and it's great that Ike has taken the time to put these numbers together. I also find his post to be a nice reprise to my recent Service Provider Views article about Vonage and their recent Q4 numbers. Ike was nice enough to start some dialog with me about this, and now that he's posted his views, you're welcome to jump in and join the conversation.
Service Provider Views Article - Q&A with Catharine Trebnick
My latest Service Provider Views article was posted the other day, and I wanted to share it with you here. This time around, I did a Q&A interview with Catharine Trebnick, Senior Research Analyst at America's Growth Capital. I wanted this column to focus how investment markets are looking at service providers, and Catharine had lots of good insights to offer.
We sure could have gone on at length, and hopefully we will some time in another forum, but a web column isn't the place for that. Along those lines, just to tie things up here, Catharine and I recently did a webinar together that was very well received. We're hoping to do more of these, so that just may be the place to explore this in more depth. Will let you know how things progress.
February 28, 2008
eComm2008 - Q&A with Lee Dryburgh/Discount Offer
First is an interview I did with Lee Dryburgh that just ran on IP Convergence TV the other day. Lee mostly talks about his views on convergence technologies, but also a bit about what you can expect to experience at eComm2008. Hope you enjoy it, and comments are welcome.
Second is a special discount offer I can share with you to save 15% on registration for the conference. Hopefully, you've heard by now from many sources how promising this event will be, and if you're thinking about going, please drop me a line, and I can pass on the information you'll need to save 15% on your registration.
February 27, 2008
How Bloggers and Journalists are Different
Call me old school, but I have my share of issues when the lines between blogging and journalism get blurry. That's a very subjective topic, but I wanted to share an experience with you that speaks to a lot of my concerns and values. I'm not going to identify the parties by name - there's no reason to - and I think to story will speak for itself.
I recently attended an analyst event put on by a vendor, and we got a pretty good overview of their plans and how they intend to do things. There's a tacit understanding that the details remain in the room and are not for public consumption - fair enough. I'm in the minority of analysts who blog - most do not or are prohibited as such - so I'm often an anomaly, and need to be extra careful when blogging about these things.
Well, the day after this event I spoke with a couple of people from the media doing stories on this vendor. I always follow up on these a few days after, and one of them told me that his/her story ran but chose not to cite me in their article. Fair enough - this happens all the time - there's never a guarantee that you'll be quoted when talking to the media.
The reason given, however is what got me, and is what prompted this post. He/she explained that while I was carefully sharing high level insights about the event, he/she was not at the event, and therefore not privy to what I was seeing and hearing. Even though I was providing further insight that would have made for a more interesting story - presuming it was handled professionally - the journalist couldn't use it, since he/she wasn't getting it first hand. This may well be their standard Editorial policy, but regardless, it was a highly principaled response.
That really struck me, not just because I hadn't heard that from anyone before, but because it really speaks to the heart of what makes journalism different from blogging. Journalism has a pretty clear code of conduct and while journalistic integrity can be a slippery slope, anyone who does this for a living knows first principles and tries to abide by them. I certainly do, even though I'm not a trained journalist.
Reflecting on this, I asked myself "would a blogger ever say this?", and I think the answer would be no. A good journalist can easily defend this position - know your source, and only report what you can back up yourself. I totally respect that, and that's why they get paid to do this - and why we pay money for newspapers and magazines - well not so much these days.
As we all know, anything goes with bloggers, and believe me, it's not a stretch to imagine analysts attending events and blogging the hell out of them just to break some interesting news or share some juicy tidbits. We all know about media embargoes not being respected, and I suspect the ones breaking them are bloggers, not journalists.
There a lot of tangents to this topic, and I just wanted to touch on one of them here. I don't know about you, but that experience for me reinforced the respect I have for real journalists, who do their work based on professional principals. Sure it's old school, but I'll take it any day.
No doubt, bloggers are often the best informed people - I support that notion in spades - but they are not usually journalists, and are not subject to the same criteria and editorial standards. For every bang-on blog post, there are lots that don't hold up, and journalists just have to be very careful who they lean on and what they can use.
Care to discuss?