Victus Spiritus


Strange things are afoot at the Circle-K

11 Apr 2010

No coincidences, my favorite mobile client Tweetie got picked up Twitter (Marshall's Pro Coverage), Big Gratz to Loren Brichter

The Wheels are in Motion on the Social/Location Based Service Web, but We Aren't Moving...Yet

I'm not the only one who loved Dave Mcclure's Analysis this weekend, which was wild, solid, well thought out and most importantly fun. Chris Dixon, Howard Lindzon, and Robert Scoble all caught and reshared Dave's predictions through my personal news filter, twitter. I've been to Dave's blog 500 Hats a few times, most often to visit the same updated presentation, here's the latest version: Startup Metrics for Pirates. Dave's a bizarre genius, and strategy gun slinging comes natural to this ultimate frisbee phreak. Here's the quick and dirty future vision Dave sees:

so here's my odds-on crazy-and-not-really-very-serious predictions:1:2Facebook buys Gowalla, FourSquare, or Loopt, and takes home the gold. this is the default.

2:1Apple buys one of the above, and/or Square, gives Facebook a run for the money.  probably still loses, because Facebook has too much frequent user activity, Connect, and Apple doesn't move fast enough in software.

3:1Google buys Twitter and Yelp, gives Facebook a run for the money.  maybe also buys a payment platform, maybe not.  probably still loses due to no clue on social, unless they let Twitter figure it out.  still not very likely. (they will prob buy Twitter & Yelp, but they won't likely win LBS).

10:1Microsoft decides to spend a boatload of money buying something or several somethings, and fails miserably... unless it's Facebook.  but Zuck won't sell for less than $75B, and Ballmer doesn't live up to the first half of his last name.  so therefore Microsoft is FAIL, and probably hard & painful FAIL.

50:1 - Google or Apple figures out a way to buy or merge with Facebook.  This is completely looney tunes, but would be the right move. however, Google can't likely pull it off without antitrust violations stopping them in their tracks.  and even if Jobs buys the farm, i don't think he gives Zuck the crown unless some very unusual scenario comes down.

I don't see Facebook as the solution to sustainable version of the social web, even if the entire world is active on it right now. It's AOL for your friends funny pictures, not a distributed web friendly system (aka: a pain to get feeds from). It's not a pleasant experience to blend catching up with friends and external information from all over. It's a visual mess of app-sterbation, although they have cleaned it up and hired bought the friendfeed crew (a signal of sharpness). There's little doubt that short term the Facebook-web amalgam is going to make many groups of 9 zeroes (that's billions),  almost certainly with business access to incredible analytics tools like Kotangent. But LBS (location based services) are already being slurped up by native web utilities, and will tap into massive wealth (add another zero) when users can *idea blanked out in case my friend Dave Pinsen actually builds it* (save $$).

Augmented Reality + LBS = $$

I wrote a few weeks back about some opportunities in the augmented reality web. Location coupled with windows into the virtual world open up opportunities we can't yet imagine in the realm of connecting people to people, people to businesses, and businesses to my wallet. Imagine a heads up display in your new car that highlights oncoming traffic coming over a blind hill, or a bicyclist dashing through a wooded street about to come to an intersection. I wouldn't mind x-ray smart phone goggles to see where my friends are hanging out in a 3D virtual earth mashup. I'm confident businesses will pay handsomely for the ongoing knowledge of our spending habits, purchasing power, and proclivity to buy in certain windows coupled with our broadcast location.

As to which mega-corporations get there first, my money's on a MSFT/Facebook mashup with an outside chance on Google/Twitter (my personal preference). Apple is too controlling to partner with anyone who could help them get there fastest, besides they'd require partners to rewrite their code bases in Objective C to get on their iPrison ship. My real hope is that some total long shot startup comes out of the blue and doesn't let a little thing like the odds stop them.