My Three Week Absence

I miss blogging.

Three weeks ago my blogging software stopped working. I tried a bunch of things and couldn’t get it to work. So finally I called in my COO and asked him to manage my transition from Userland to WordPress. Phil Windley switched from Userland to Moveable Type, but Richard Miller convinced me to go to WordPress instead.

So I’m finally back.

And I am amazed by the things that have happened during the last three weeks that I’ve not blogged about. The pace of technological innovations continues to accelerate.

Here are a few headlines that I’ve missed commenting on:

1. Microsoft actually woke up. They actually finally get it! Apparently Bill Gates and Ray Ozzy are now leading the charge — they realize they are going to have to go head to head with Google. In fact, they have to adopt Google’s business model.

Microsoft’s Windows Live and Office Live announcements and their clear reliance on AdCenter for (their pay-per-click advertising engine that will do demographic targeting, something that even Google doesn’t do yet) has convinced me that they finally understand. Before Google can own the software world by building all the applications we need and giving them away for free (all subsidized by the super-efficient Google advertising machine), Microsoft is going to play the same game.

What this means for consumers is that most of the software we use in the future will be free (like web based email is today) and will be subsidized by advertising. Most of the ads will have to be unobtrusive, or else consumers will switch from Google apps to Microsoft apps to Yahoo apps. Whoever is less intrusive will probably get the most customers. This is all good news for consumers, but bad news for almost all other software companies.

2. Sun’s podcast announcement. I was amazed to read last week that Sun will be offering a commercial service within the next 2-3 weeks that will convert any document you send them to a podcast. I can’t wait to see this. I hope the computer voices are decent.

Combined with the analyst forecast that 945.5 million mp3 playing devices will ship in 2009, the Sun technology will make it possible, I believe, for knowledge workers around the world to identify all the content sources they want to master — most of it is in print format only right now — and consume it in text or audio format whenever and whereever they want.

I think the days of broadcast television and radio are numbered. I think it will become easy for consumer to customize own our reading, listening and viewing experiences. If the average person in the US spends 6-7 hours per day with media, over time we’ll migrate from watching or listening to what the broadcasters want us to consume, to creating lists or channels or sharing ideas with all our friends and family or coworkers about the best stuff that we want to consume.

Imagine Google Alerts married with all the text, audio and video that is published or broadcast or uploaded on a daily basis. We are entering an unprecedented era where humans will have greatest opportunities to become experts in any subject by being aware of all the best content in the world that is being produced on that subject.

It’s getting really, really close.

3. The Google Urchin announcement today means that any blogger or small web site in the world can now use fairly good web analytics at no cost.

The high end enterprise scale analytics companies, especially Omniture with its powerful data warehousing technology (which goes way beyond web-only data), have a long and prosperous life ahead of them. But Google will take the low end of the market pretty easily from all the small analytics players.

4. I met the evangelist for Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, an amazing web service that will enable publishers to have massive content projects created by distributing them to thousands of piece-meal workers around the world. Very cool stuff. Just in time for some of our big projects.

5. Phil Burns, my COO, introduced me to Riya, the photo recognition software used for facial recognition. He is travelling to San Francisco next week for some Riya-related meetings.

6. held its first speedpitching event on Nov. 8th in Provo and got a ton of media coverage (newspaper, radio and five minutes of television!) The press loved the notion of “speed dating meets venture capital.” I’ve gotten positive feedback from many entrepreneurs and investors.

Our network of angel investors and entrepreneurs is growing into the thousands. We are excited to take our speedpitching concepts all over.

6. I’ve also got some personal milestones that I haven’t yet blogged about:

I ran 13.1 miles on my 40th birthday — the longest run of my life — to prove to myself that I’m not too old and obsolete yet, and that, in Robert Browning’s words “the best is yet to be.”

I spoke on “Approaching Omniscience” at BYU’s eBusiness day and also listened to the other keynote speaker Josh James from Omniture give a great presentation about their industry-leading web analytics and online marketing platform.

I’ve hired a COO for Infobase Ventures as well as an executive assistant. We are working on leasing a few thousand square feet of space in Provo for our incubator and research labs.

There are so many other things to blog about, but rather than doing them all at once, I’ll get back into my old daily routine.

It feels good to be back. I look forward to your comments and emails.


P. Allen

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  1. The news about Urchin is new to me. That’s exciting that there is a real statistics package out for “lowly” web site owners out there.

    I wrote a post about some of the possibilities for Google that is along the same line of discussion.

    Congrats on the new blog software. Did you lose all of your old posts? Oh, and currently your blog is set to allow only users registered with WordPress to comment.

  2. It’s nice to have you back, especially with a wordpress blog – makes commenting a lot easier. Your theme looks eerily familiar – I thought I had accidentally gone to John Jonas’ blog 🙂

  3. Kristin

    Great new look! I’ve been going through blog withdrawl–thank goodness you’re back!
    Congrats on all the personal accomplishments! Very excited for what’s to come here in Allen BlogLand! =)

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  5. Paul, I love reading your blog. Every day I’d check my RSS feed for your blog and was disappointed when it was not updated. But now you’re back and I can be content. I love your insights in the industry. Thanks for sharing.

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