Amazon’s Cloud Play vs. Google/Microsoft’s

I heard the figure of $100M in AWS (Amazon Web Services) revenues bandied about lately.  Not too shabby for a business that started out as a spare-time as-is reuse of Amazon’s infrastructure.  By far the healthiest supplier of IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

Compare them to Google and Microsoft, who started PaaS (Platform-as-a-service) businesses instead of IaaS.  PaaS (if I understand it right) tries to get developers to develop applications for the platform, whereas IaaS “just” provides a run-time environment for applications built elsewhere.

Microsoft of advertising the bajeezus out of Azure, but I’m not hearing much about great results.  Certainly no $100M in revenues (yet?).  And Google seems to be flailing about with its various cloud and app-dev platforms.

Makes IaaS look like the right bet, at least so far.



Facebook is the AOL of the ’10’s

At one time AOL was bigger than the Web.

I went to AOL from Compuserve in the late ’80’s or early ’90’s because AOL gave you a user name instead of a pair of user numbers.  At AOL, I was Smilesburg.  I was somebody.

The big pitch of AOL in those days was Community: they pioneered chat rooms for the masses.  They had common-interest groups for parenting, for dating, for everything.  I don’t recall that people could upload their photos, but at 56.5 Kb that would have been an unpleasant experience anyhow.

And they were a walled garden.  It was hard to get from AOL to the ‘net.  AOL vigorously offered alternatives to keep the inmates within.  They wanted us to stay put.

Sounds a lot like Facebook today.  It may get bigger than the rest of the Web (although not likely).  It features Community.  And it vigorously tries to keep the inmates within.

What happened to AOL?  Well, the inmates slowly and then rapidly escaped.  ISPs killed AOL.  gmail killed AOL.  The sheer wealth of content and interactivity growing in the rest of the Web killed AOL.  A walled garden can’t keep up.


Flash Fads

I don’t think I invented the “flash fad” meme (or, as I prefer to call it, “flashfad” in the “down-with-the-space-character” mode that’s sweeping the world in the 21st Century), but I think it’s a huge idea.

Years ago, I read a science fiction story where businesses rose during the early part of the evening, were indispensable by 10 pm, and were forgotten by 2 am.  I forget the story — does anyone remember this theme? — but at the time I found it intriguing but silly.

Guess what?  It’s become true.  You get a flashfad like “planking” (see the excellent YouTube video on planking, and the coverage, of course, in Wikipedia) where, as far as I can see, it’s a dumb thing you can do with pictures and UGC, but it’s novel and kind of silly and endearing all at the same time, so it catches on… for the first part of the evening.

As I said elsewhere, the thing is to be the platform for flashfads, and Twitter has that sown up I’m pretty sure.

DC Tech Meetup on Big Data 6/7/11

Valhalla was fortunate to be part of a great #dctech DC Tech Meetup last night on the theme of Big Data.  Catch the stream on this from @dctechmeetup.


Followers of mine know I’m a big fan; Valhalla and I are actively looking for Big Data enabling technology businesses and businesses that do game-changing things with Big Data datasets.


If you’re interested in talking to us about a Big Data business idea, give a shout to @pipik or comment back here.

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Valhalla Video Summit Predictions from Last Year

Valhalla has a small annual Video Summit for our digital-media companies and some outsiders.  A half-day discussion on a series of topics.  Always interesting.

I was reviewing predictions made last year by the attendees for discussion this year.  Here are some which come due in 2011:

  • DVD sales are dead with post-theatrical movie business becoming 80% rental by 2011
  • Content will start unbundling and challenge the traditional business model in 2011 
  • Hulu doubles ad-weight from 2 to 4 ads per video, making it more like TV in 2011
  • Comcast/NBCU merger will usher in a new wave of consolidation of content + distribution players, starting in 2011

Anybody care to comment on how these will turn out by year-end?  Anyone care to weigh in on predictions for 2012??