Saturday, August 16, 2008

Firefox 3 and community — How Mozilla used social networking to set a world record

Mozilla is currently deep in the heart of its celebration over officially setting a new Guinness World Record for the largest number of software downloads (8,002,530!) in 24 hours for its Firefox 3 browser. But the company isn’t cheering alone — its enjoying this victory with the community it rightfully credits for helping it to succeed.

Mozilla’s marketing strategy has historically been word-of-mouth engagement, a method that very creatively began with its 2004 Firefox 1.0 launch. As more social networking venues have opened up and expanded to businesses, Mozilla has adapted to putting up appropriate channels and resources.

Firefox 3 and community — How Mozilla used social networking to set a world record“Since Firefox is all about the online experience it’s a natural fit for folks who are open to social networking,” said Paul Kim, vice president of marketing for Mozilla. “We announced Download Day with a very concerted plan to leverage multiple social networks and to seed content on those networks that would drive traffic to the download site.”

In doing so, Kim says, it was very important that Mozilla leverage the social applications in a way that was true to its brand, as the company’s engagement with its users has always been very authentic and open.

“Social tools have created a very different era for brand communications, and the thing with social media interaction is that people can spot you a mile away if you’re using the channels like you would a traditional mass marketing technique,” he said. “Social media does no service for existing or future customers if you do not treat it as a human channel with real interaction.”

Mozilla used the following methods to promote Firefox 3 Download Day:

Spread Firefox
The Firefox community portal started out as the original gathering point for community members. Mozilla created a specific Download Day theme for the site where users could get badges to put on blogs as well as “pledge” to download the software on Download Day. Mozilla received 1.7 million pledges and the affiliate button distribution brought 43 million views to the site.

Facebook
The Firefox Facebook fan page has near 115K members. “We seeded the community with links of articles and other information that pointed to the Download Day site,” Kim said. Mozilla took a very similar approach with social networking sites Bebo and Mixi (Japan).

Twitter
Kim says that while Mozilla Firefox’s Twitter page was set up in 2007 it grew tremendously (now with close to 5K followers) and was a great complement to its other efforts. “We’re incredibly happy with the level of activity and response we received from our Twitter followers,” he said.

YouTube
Mozilla produced a series of feature overview videos that were narrated by some of the designers who worked on Firefox 3. From viewing the YouTube comments and ratings it does not appear that the videos gained much traction, however it was a low-cost alternative to doing traditional video advertising.

Mozilla Parties
Mozilla Party Central, a bit of a mashup of Google Maps and Upcoming, is where the company shares news about its launch parties and also gives users the tools to promote and host their own parties. As of last count there have been near 850 parties worldwide, attended by more than 6K people. Mozilla will receive its official Guinness World Record certificate at a party in London this Wednesday.

Mozilla also put energy into traditional public relations efforts, heading on press tour throughout the U.S., Europe, China and Japan. While this was successful as well, Kim says that its Mozilla’s community that truly helped drive Download Day success.

“Social media is not an isolated fad; it’s becoming a pervasive part of many people’s every day media mix and we try hard to participate in ways that are true to the way we’ve always approached our marketing,” Kim said. “We make it fun, we make it easy to participate and we communicate in ways that are authentic — something our community appreciates.”

More reading on Firefox 3:

(Paul Kim image provided by Mozilla)

Global Instant Messaging Market Share

Ever gone looking for instant messaging market share data?

It seems almost unfathomable that there can be networks with active accounts numbering in the 100 MMs to billions and total accounts certainly in the billions for which there is no detailed public market share data.

Based on EQO’s IM interconnect capability we’ve been able to take a look inside the major IM networks to see the competitive landscape and broken down the stats by country - and like any good disruptive player we thought the data should be public.

Global IM Market Share Stats - July '08

Global IM Market Share Stats - July 2008 (PDF)

In addition to the PDF version, I have made the raw data for the country market stats available on Google Docs under a Creative Commons attribution-share alike license.

Feedback and comments appreciated!
– Jeff

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

15 Companies That Really Get Corporate Blogging

According to a recent report by Forrester Research that looked at 90 blogs from Fortune 500 companies, most corporate blogs are “dull, drab, and don’t stimulate discussion.” Sadly, two-thirds hardly ever get any comments, 70% stick strictly to business topics, and worse 56% just republish press releases or already public news. That has lead many to think that corporate blogging isn’t really worth much effort, which is a shame, because properly done a corporate blog can have tremendous value. Below is a list of 15 companies that really get corporate blogging and produce blogs that are informative, fascinating, and a joy to read even for people who aren’t die-hard fans of the company.
  • Dell - Though Dell’s corporate blog rarely strays from Dell-centric news, the company posts with a great conversational voice, often breaks news on their blog (which keeps people coming back), and listens and responds to customers. Dell also posts regularly (1-2 posts per day at least) which keeps content fresh and encourages repeat visits.
  • Lenovo - The great collection of blogs from computer maker Lenovo demonstrate that the company really understands blogging. Lenovo intersperses posts about its product line with musings about business, design, life, and technology. Definitely don’t miss the Design Matters blog, which should be a must-read for any designer.
  • 37signals - 37signals is kind of the poster child for corporate blogging. Their “Signal vs. Noise” blog has almost 100,000 RSS subscribers and there’s a good reason: 37signals rarely blogs about their products anymore (they split off a separate product-only blog for that), but instead shares advice and insights about business, design, editorial, and other topics.
  • Adobe - Adobe offers a huge collection of employee blogs, many of which are great reads. By allowing employees to blog, Adobe has empowered them to evangelize their products for them — many post tutorials, advice, reviews, and other great tid-bits promoting Adobe products — while not pigeon holing them into talking only about Adobe.
  • BBC - In addition to their news blogs, the BBC publishes a series of behind-the-scenes blogs. They’re tremendously interesting, especially The Editors blog, in which BBC News editorial staff dissect the broadcaster’s news coverage and the media industry in general.
  • Southwest Airlines - Southwest Airlines’ “Nuts About Southwest” blog doesn’t take itself too seriously — and that’s a good thing. The company blogs about itself and the airline industry with a personal touch and has been producing a series of fun, behind-the-scenes videos that are both interesting and engaging.
  • Sun Microsystems - Like Adobe, Sun allows their employees to blog. They’ve been doing it for a long time, and their blog portal has over 4,500 bloggers covering over 110,000 posts. Some of their blogs, such as that of Web 2.0 and Web Services Evangelist Arun Gupta, have become quite popular on their own. That’s 110,000 posts of promotional gold for Sun and they know it.
  • Freshbooks - Taking a page from 37signals, the team at Freshbooks uses their corporate blog to share advice and insights into their way of doing things. Slowly, and in large part due to their blog, Freshbooks is turning their users into true fans.
  • Marriott International - Marriott on the Move is the official blog of Marriott Hotels, Resorts, and Suites Chairman and CEO Bill Marriott. Though a self-described technophobe, Marriott uses the blog to talk about his thoughts and opinions on all sorts of things related to being a hotelier. Marriott, who was recently featured on NBC Nightly News for a story on corporate blogging, says he blogs because it is “a great way to communicate with [your] customers and stakeholders in this day and age.” We agree.
  • Seagate - Penned by Seagate Global Marketing Manager Pete Steege, Storage Effect is a must-read blog for anyone in the computer storage industry. Beyond first looks at upcoming Seagate products, Steege mixes it up with musings about the industry and fun posts like a recent one about Batman’s storage requirements.
  • General Motors - The GM Fastlane Blog is a great example of corporate blogging because GM has clearly realized that regurgitating press releases is not what blogs are made for. GM talks a lot on their blog about their cars and trucks and the design choices they make while creating them, but they also throw in interesting treatises on current hot-button issues, such as alternative energy.
  • Quicken Loans - Quicken Loans publishes a handful of unique blogs — unique among corporate blogs in that they’re not overly self-referential. Their What’s the Diff? blog, for example, publishes stories about “things that make the difference in business and in life.” The Quizzle blog, on the other hand, posts advice about how to understand the home loan market. It is all subtle marketing for Quicken Loans, but it is done in an informative and useful manner that will win points among customers.
  • FiveRuns - FiveRuns, who create products aimed at Ruby on Rails developers, also publish an excellent blog. Along with regular tutorials about how to do things with Rails and use their products, the FiveRuns team also posts weekly five question interviews with prominent members of the Rails community. Brilliant stuff.
  • Accenture - Consulting firm Accenture publishes 8 blogs that are definitely worth checking out. Rather than just blog about what Accenture can do for your business, the company has tapped some of its smartest employees to share insights on business, communications, technology, consulting, and hiring. A sample of recent posts: how to balance work and life, thoughts about Twitter’s downtime, and musings on GTD theories.
  • Amazon Web Services - Amazon’s Web Services blog is truly one of the great corporate blogs because it reads like a fan blog. You’d never know that Jeff Barr, the scribe behind the AWS blog, is a Web Services Evangelist at Amazon just by reading his posts. That’s because Barr doesn’t write like a corporate flak. Instead he writes with the voice of someone who is truly amazed each day by the stuff that people build on Amazon’s suite of web services, and that makes reading the blog a pleasure.

14 of the Most Useful Web Design Blogs

Design Reviver has an excellent list of useful web design blogs.

20 Free eBooks About Social Media

It’s interesting what you can find when you look around a bit on Google. I thought I’d look for a few new ebooks to read. I found 20 different ones that might be interesting to you. It never hurts to get a few different perspectives. In all cases, the first link is to a PDF file, the second link is to the site where it’s hosted.

  1. The New Rules of Viral Marketing - David Meerman Scott
  2. Marketing Apple - MarketingApple.com
  3. Masters of Marketing - Startup Internet Marketing
  4. Podcast Marketing eBook - Christopher S. Penn
  5. Google Adwords Secrets - SEOBook
  6. Get Viral Get Visitors - Stacie Mahoe
  7. Marketing With Case Studies - Dynamic Copywriting
  8. How to Write a Marketing Plan - Geisheker Group
  9. SEO for WordPress blogs - Blizzard Internet
  10. Social Web Analytics - Social Web Analytics
  11. Geeks Guide to Promoting Yourself With Twitter - Geekpreneur
  12. The Zen of Blogging - Hunter Nutall
  13. What is Social Media - iCrossing
  14. A Primer in Social Media - SmashLab
  15. Effective Internet Presence - Effective Internet Presence
  16. Introduction to Good Usability - Peter Pixel
  17. Increasing the Response to Your Email Marketing Program - CRM Transformation
  18. We Have a Website. Now What? - Craig Rentmeester
  19. Blogs & Social Media - PRSA
  20. The Podcast Customer Revealed - Edison Media Research

Friday, August 8, 2008

174 Web 2.0 Sites in 41 Categories

15 Desktop Blogging Tools Reviewed

By Glen Stansberry

Desktop blogging tools can benefit designers-bloggers in a number of ways. They provide extra functionality that can significantly speed up the blogging process for both newbies and professionals.

One of the main benefits of using a desktop client is the ability to comfortably write a post offline, and publish it later. Many clients also have a scheduled post feature, so you can define what time you would like to publish your articles. Some editors provide a spell checker, drafts saver, remote publishing and WYSIWYG-editor with advanced formatting options such as inserting media or structuring the post — they may be hard to deal with using standard online blogging-engines.

Let’s take a look at 15 desktop blogging editors which can speed up the blogging process. Some are free and some cost a few dollars, but in the end all of these editors can significantly improve your workflow, regardless of your skills.

Windows Live Writer (Windows)

Windows Live Writer

Windows Live Writer is an impressive blog editor, and is probably the cleanest one. It provides the familiar user interface that one would expect from usual Microsoft applications. Writing a blog entry with intuitive features like a rich text editor and spell checker is easy. Users also have the ability to quickly add images and other media.

The distinctive feature that puts Live Writer ahead of the competition is that you can can add plugins to the editor. For instance, there are plugins that seamlessly integrate with Flickr and Facebook photos; word counting as well as many further features are available as well.

Live Writer is useful for people who don’t necessarily want to mess with HTML and just want to quickly write a blog post, but it’s also great for more advanced users with the ability to add specific features with plugins.

MarsEdit (Mac)

MarsEdit

The main advantage of MarsEdit lies in its ability to integrate with other text editors. The client integrates cleanly with BBEdit, SubEthaEdit, TextMate, or TextWrangler. It has a simple yet robust user interface. Users can define powerful markup macros to insert commonly used snippets of code. The tool works with WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, Movable Type, LiveJournal, Drupal, and Vox. You can also quickly scan your Flickr library, then insert an image into your blog post with the click of a button.

Another nifty feature is the preview functionality. The tool allows you to build a template to match your blog, then let MarsEdit’s live preview show you how your posts will look before you publish them. Extensive AppleScript support makes it possible to add further features. Price: $29.95. A free 30-days-trial-version is available as well.

BlogDesk (Windows)

BlogDesk

BlogDesk is a robust, multi-language blog editor that supports all of the popular blogging platforms except Blogger. If that isn’t a problem for you, then you’ll love the unique and intuitive features BlogDesk provides. The Image Wizard allows you to upload and edit pictures, without editing images in image processing applications. You can also define frequently used phrases and keywords to speed up your writing time, much like TextExpander (Mac).

Links can be easily inserted and edited. If you link to local files (such as MP3 or PDF), BlogDesk will automatically upload them. Dictionaries in 14 languages are available for the integrated spell checker. Posts already published can be edited afterwards and deleted directly from the server. In the Notebook you can insert and rearrange text before you actually use it in your weblog entry. For your convenience you can create multiple categories where text can be saved separately.

Zoundry Raven (Windows)

BlogDesk

Zoundry Raven is a free advanced WYSIWYG-blog editor with XHTML editing, drag and drop from browser-functionality. It also provides the Unicode (UTF-8) support, quicklinks and a template-based preview. Users can manage multiple blogs online and offline and use a built-in indexer that allows to see posts by blogs, links, tags and images.

Zoundry Raven supports Blogger, TypePad, MovableType, MetaWeblog and LiveJournal. The tool is available as a portable application which you can use on your flash/thumb drive. Finally, you can use Raven to create and modify your WordPress Pages just like any other blog post and set WordPress tags as well as import tags from all of your posts.

It is worth mentioning that Zoundry Raven also has an integrated HTML validator built into the code view and includes a publish menu to finalize your decisions, tags, trackbacks, etc.

Ecto (Mac)

Ecto

Ecto is one of the most popular blog editors, and has earned the respect of some top bloggers like Darren Rowse. It’s a powerful tool with all typical features (Rich text editor, spell check, draft saving, etc.), but it also allows you to extend the functionality by using plugins, much like Windows Live Writer. Amazon’s affiliate scheme seamlessly integrates in Ecto and makes it easier for you to link to a particular Amazon product page.

Ecto also has support for Flickr and del.icio.us. In addition, ecto also lists the tags you have used with del.icio.us and Flickr, so that you can reuse them for your blog entries. The only drawback is that the software costs $17.95, but you can try it out for free for 21 days.

w.bloggar (Windows)

wbloggar

w.bloggar is a professional blog editor for advanced users who are fairly technologically savvy. It’s snappy and has a lot more advanced features built-in than Live Writer. While the interface isn’t as intuitive or elegant as Live Writer and some of the others, it’s a useful little editor.

With w.bloggar you can save posts locally for further publishing, import text files, post to many blogs and ping to Weblogs.Com, blo.gs, Technorati and ping-o-matic. Also, you can download a portable version that you can take with your anywhere on a USB drive. Perfect for bloggers on the go!

Thingamablog (Window, Mac, Linux)

Thingamablog

Thingamablog is a hybrid of a blog editor and RSS-feed reader. It’s not quite as polished as other blog editors, but is great for someone needing a cross-platform blog editor. Setting up the blog is a bit cumbersome for the first time, but not unbearable. You’ll need to have Java Virtual Machine downloaded and running on your machine to work.

Thingamablog has a few advanced features that are different from other blog editors. You can import RSS feeds, and you can post to your blog while reading your RSS feeds. It’s a nice program for bloggers who typically write news-related posts. The editor also allows publishing remotely to your blog via email and saving entries as drafts. Thingamablog is released under the terms of the GPL.

Qumana (Windows, Mac)

Qumana

Qumana has an interesting feature that isn’t found in other blogging platforms. If you are interested in joining an ad network for your blog, Qumana has a built-in ad network (Qads) that allows you to insert ads into your post.

You can use Qumana when you are offline. Save your blog posts to your hard drive and upload whenever you like. Useful for bloggers on the move. Apart from standard features the editor has a handy little feature called the DropPad, which adds drag-n-drop capability to snag links, pictures and text to a desktop pad. Qumana is very intuitive and is definitely an option worth consdering for both newbies and advanced bloggers.

Scribefire (Firefox)

Scribefire

Scribefire is quite different from the other blog editors as it is a Firefox extension. When you want to blog about the page you are currently viewing, hit “F12″ and the scribefire extension pops up in the lower-half of your browser. You can blog about a specific web page without having to leave the browser. You can also click an icon to move blogging frame into a separate tab, if you’re going to need some more space.

Scribefire isn’t as feature-rich as an editor like Ecto or BlogDesk, but it is fast and easy, and works well for everybody in a hurry.

BlogJet (Windows)

BlogJet

If you are a power blogger, BlogJet is definitely a solution worth considering. While the application costs around $60, it manages to combine a number of useful tools in one clean, intuitive interface. It supports most blogging services, integrates with RSS-readers and also allows you to use keyword-shortcuts (like BlogDesk).

BlogJet cares about typography: it automatically replaces quotes and dashes with proper ones as you type. If you are on the road and there is no Internet-connection, or if you want to finish your post later, save it as draft. Then you can get back to finishing and publishing it. The tool also has Flickr and YouTube support, Spell Checker, Word Counter and Blog Statistics, Post Management and Searching. And BlogJet can automatically insert the title and the artist of the song playing in iTunes, Winamp or Windows Media Player.

If you are looking for a free alternative, stick with BlogDesk. It has almost the same features and is free. However, if a beautiful, intuitive design is important to you, then give BlogJet a shot. You won’t be disappointed.

Flock (Mac, Windows, Linux)

Flock

Flock is a web-browser that has a built-in blogging tool. The blogging tool allows you to blog directly from the page, similarly to Scribefire, with a keyboard shortcut or a mouse click. However, the interface on Flock is a bit nicer, and has a slightly more seamless integration than in case of Scribefire and Firefox. Also you can use the web clipping tool to save and store clips of information in your browser.

Flock is an optimal tool for simple bloggers who don’t need a lot of bells and whistles that come with other blogging editors.

Post2Blog (Windows)

Post2Blog

On the surface, Post2Blog appears to be a very simple blogging tool. If you dig under the hood for a bit, you’ll notice that this lightweight blogging tool has some pretty nifty features. You can quickly add amazon affiliate links to your posts. It even has plugins for Firefox and Internet Explorer for quickly blogging a web page.

The tool also has a “Portable Mode” support, integration with RSS Bandit and Sharp Reader — you can post selected items from these RSS readers using Post2Blog plugin. You can also add Technorati, Del.icio.us, Buzzwords, 43 Things tags to your posts and earn money using “Insert Amazon Link” feature.

The only drawback is that the interface isn’t as elegant or intuitive as other Windows blogging platforms, and the tool isn’t supported by the developers.

Bleezer (Mac, Windows, Linux)

Bleezer

Bleezer is a light piece of software that has all standard features as well some advanced functionality which one would expect from robust editors. Spell checking, pinging services, uploading files and FTP capabilities are available. It’s a handy little tool that is quick and efficient. Again, it doesn’t have the beautiful design that BlogJet has, but it’s free and works smoothly. Bleezer is an optimal choice for advanced bloggers who can appreciate the advanced functionality that the software provides.

Using Bleezer you can work with every blogging service (even Blogger). You can also create custom markup by defining your own key strokes for custom HTML markup. As usual, you can also compose posts offline and post them when you want to. Windows and Linux users should extract the .zip file into a directory and double click the .jar file to run. You will need Java Virtual Machine.

Further Desktop Publishing Tools

Let’s take a look at the brief overview of further desktop blogging tools which may be also useful:

  • AirPress (cross-plattform, Adobe Air)
    AirPress was a promising client with a file I/O API for saving FLV webcam videos record and ActionScript / JavaScript bridging to interact with the text editor made in HTML/Javascript. In the last release AirPress supported only WordPress and DotClear. The project’s official page (AdobeAir.org) has somehow disappeared few months ago. We don’t know the reason.

    AirPress

  • SharpMT (Mobile, Windows Mobile 5/6, PocketPC)
    harpMT is an offline blogging tool that is designed for MovableType-based systems. There are three versions of the application: desktop, PocketPC, and SmartPhone, all of which share the same file format for offline drafts. The application uses text boxes for post entry: it was a design goal to not support WYSIWYG. It also includes the infrastructure to support plugins and XML-RPC calls that were designed to inteface with MT or TypePad. Freeware.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Great Products By Design

I do not believe great products happen by accident. In every case, behind every great product I find that there are certain truths. Today I want to share ten such truths. I try to keep these in mind on every product effort:

1. Engineering is important, but user experience design is more important, and usually more difficult

2. Engineers are typically terrible user experience designers; engineers think in terms of implementation models, but users think in terms of conceptual models

3. User Experience design means both interaction design and visual design

4. Functionality (product requirements) and user experience design are inherently intertwined

5. Product ideas must be tested - early and often - on actual target users in order to come up with a good user experience

6. We need to test (validate) usability, desirability and feasibility – before proceeding to engineering

7. We need a high-fidelity prototype, so we can quickly, easily and frequently test ideas on real users with a realistic user experience

8. The high-fidelity prototype is the most effective way to communicate the required user experience with the full product team

9. The job of the product manager is to identify the minimal possible product that meets the objectives and provides the desired user experience – minimizing time to market, user and implementation complexity

10. Once the minimal successful product has been designed and validated, it is not something that can be piecemealed and expect the same resultsYou can expect much more in the coming months along these lines. I continue to talk to too many product teams that are stuck in old, failed ways of creating products, and life is too short for bad products.

Welcome to Web 3.0: Now Your Other Computer is a Data Center

This guest post is written by Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of salesforce.com. He has been widely recognized for pioneering innovation with honors such as the 2007 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, the SDForum Visionary Award, Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year by the University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business, and being ranked No. 7 on the Top 100 Most Influential People in IT survey by eWEEK.

For almost ten years now, we have been witnessing a decisive shift from client-server software to software as a service. Google, eBay, and Amazon.com established the value of multi-tenant internet applications in the consumer market, and salesforce.com, Google, and others have been proving that this same multi-tenant model is winning in the enterprise as well.
This shift to Web-based applications has generated two powerful waves so far. Now, we are seeing a third wave—one that we are calling Web 3.0—and it may prove to be the most significant and disruptive yet to the traditional software industry.

While the world doesn’t need another buzzword, I feel that both the emerging generation of entrepreneurs and developers, as well as traditional software ISVs, need to grasp the enormity of Web 3.0 and its potential to create change, disruption, and opportunity. Web 3.0 is about replacing existing software platforms with a new generation of platforms as a service.
To put Web 3.0 into perspective, we need to look at all of the major waves in the history of the Web. They are not defined by distinct periods of time, but are best seen as overlapping waves of adoption.

Web 1.0: Anyone Can TransactWeb 1.0 was about the emergence of the “killer app” from companies like eBay, Amazon.com, and Google. Although we thought of them as Web sites at the time, they were really amazing applications with a level of functionality, ease of use, and scale that had rarely been seen before by the average consumer. Transactions, not just of goods but of knowledge, became ubiquitous and instant. The efficiency and transparency that was once the domain of global financial markets was now at the command of individual consumers and businesses. Web 1.0 remains a huge driving force today and will continue to be for some time.
Web 2.0: Anyone Can ParticipateWeb 2.0 is about the next generation of applications on the Internet, featuring user-generated content, collaboration, and community. Anyone can participate in content creation. Posting a viral video on YouTube, tagging photos from a party on Flickr, or writing about politics on Blogspot requires no technical skill, just an Internet connection. Participation changes our idea of content itself: content isn’t fixed at the point of publication—it comes alive. Google’s AdSense became an instant business model in particular for bloggers, and video-sharing sites have rewritten the rules of popular culture and viral content.

Whether you are creating a business around Web 1.0 or 2.0, building massively scalable data centers that are secure, reliable, and highly available is not a job for the faint of heart or shallow of pocket. For companies entering the emerging software as a service industry, the massive time and capital requirements remain a substantial barrier to entry. Moreover, traditional client-server software development is still mired in painful complexity. And the “rewards” for creating a successful application are arduous deployments and maintenance.

Web 3.0: Anyone Can InnovateWeb 3.0 changes all of this by completely disrupting the technology and economics of the traditional software industry. The new rallying cry of Web 3.0 is that anyone can innovate, anywhere. Code is written, collaborated on, debugged, tested, deployed, and run in the cloud. When innovation is untethered from the time and capital constraints of infrastructure, it can truly flourish.

For businesses, Web 3.0 means that SaaS apps can be developed, deployed, and evolved far more quickly and cost-effectively than traditional software of the client-server era. The dramatic reset in economics should help CIOs finally break through the innovation backlog created by the cost and complexity of maintaining client-server apps.

For developers, Web 3.0 means that all they need to create their dream app is an idea, a browser, some Red Bull, and a few Hot Pockets. Because every developer around the world can access the same powerful cloud infrastructures, Web 3.0 is a force for global economic empowerment.

For ISVs, Web 3.0 means that they can spend more time focusing on the core value they want to offer to customers, not the infrastructure to support it. Because code lives in the cloud, global talent pools can contribute to it. Because it runs in the cloud, a truly global market can subscribe to it as a service.

Just ask my friend Jeremy Roche, the CEO of CODA, Europe’s second-largest ERP vendor. CODA successfully navigated the transition from mainframe to client-server, and now it’s facing an even bigger transition to SaaS. Building the infrastructure—not just the data center but the entire software stack as well—would take upwards and $20 million and several years. Instead, Jeremy is using our Force.com platform to get a massive jump-start on this process. His systems engineers will not have to cobble together servers, load balancers, and networking switches and then find a small army of people to tune and maintain them. His software developers won’t have to build a security and sharing model, database or workflow engine—they’ll just use ours. Meanwhile, Jeremy’s team can focus on exactly what they do best: building a killer accounting application. CODA2go will be available this fall, giving Jeremy a big lead on the competition.

Amazon.com, Google, and salesforce.com have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to build these infrastructures already, and a dozen others, including Facebook, MySpace, Ning, Rollbase, Longjump, Dabble db, Intuit, and Coghead, are also offering some form of platform as a service in the cloud.

Creating ValueHow much disruption will Web 3.0 cause? An examination of the technology forces at work gives us a good clue:
Vic Gundotra, VP of Engineering at Google, offered this interesting perspective at a recent salesforce.com event. Vic looks at the history of computing, starting with the mainframe era, as two grids: vast computing power vs. low accessibility and terrific ease of deployment vs. poor depth of functionality.

The client-server era caused a reversal of polarity in both cases. Computing power was much more accessible but limited in scope; there was an explosion in functionality, but deployment became a nightmare. Vic sees the Web 3.0 era eliminating these trade-offs and potentially maximizing computing power, access, ease of deployment, and depth of functionality. As Vic says, the key is that industry leaders like Google, salesforce.com, and others have to work to make the cloud ever more accessible and programmable, keep connectivity pervasive, and make the client more powerful.

In our view, the move from mainframes to client server was painful for IBM and DEC and created massive wealth for a broad generation of new companies like Microsoft, Oracle, PeopleSoft, and SAP. Web 3.0 threatens Microsoft’s .net, BEA, and WebSphere. And while I expect companies such as Amazon.com, Facebook, Google, and salesforce.com to do well, I think that even more wealth and further innovation will be created by a new, more broadly distributed class of companies and entrepreneurs that leverage the power of Web 3.0.
One of our developers has a bumper sticker on his laptop that captures the spirit of Web 3.0 perfectly. It reads: “My other computer is a data center.” That’s a claim that any developer in the world can now make. And that’s the stuff of revolution.

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