Cashing in on RSS... with public approval
A co-worker sent this article my way from Fortune Magazine. David Kirkpatrick - Cashing in on RSS - FORTUNE. In this article David Kirkpatrick talks about Jim Moore's new investment firm, RSS Investors. David tells us that Jim spent time as a CEO consultant for Intel, HP and Qualcomm before heading to Harvard's Berkman Center for the Internet & Society. At Harvard Jim was able to spend a good amount of time with Dave Winer. Dave obviously had a large impact on Jim.
"Having Dave as my office mate for a year is what led me to realize there was a big business opportunity here," says Moore.
The article goes on and explains what RSS actually is and how it is practically used. One of the things I love is that the atricle mentions Fred Wilson. Blogging isn't a popularity contest, but rather a contest of personal relevance. For me, Fred is ultimately relevant. Fred's got good technology taste and even better musical taste. If you haven't already, check him out.
This article made me say hmmmm for one big reason, they make RSS seem like a super graspable technology. I'd vote that it's still not. Why? Try to explain RSS to my mother, wife, sister, non-technie friends etc. It's near impossible. I've been preaching the value of RSS to a friend of mine at school for the past 6 or so weeks. She's computer and web savy as well as being over all highly intelligent, but all of the pieces of the RSS/blog/tagging world haven't quite fallen into place yet for her. Why? The technology is not at a place that it's been made intuitive by it's purveyors.
- Fred Wilson on Email vs. RSS - Blogs via email, give people what they know, not what may be the "hot new thing"
- Fred Wilson on Posting, Subscribing, and Tagging - Sounds simple right? It is, in theory. If you already know the basics of posting, subscribing, and tagging.
- Michael Parekh on Why is Tagging so Frickin' Hard? - Michael is a really smart guy, he's web-telligent and yet... he posts about taggin' being Frickin' hard. Again, if Michael if frustrated, how about those with less web-IQ?
- Michael Parekh on Amazon.com starting a blogging service...a hypothetical case - This is a great post about possible RSS feed integration into Amazon.com. The thing I love most about this idea is introducing a huge value add with RSS to a web application that regular consumers are already comfortable with. Showing value and ease of use to the populace is key.
- Michael Parekh on Tech too hard or too easy - This is a great post that outlines the real public's interaction with RSS.
So to David Kirkpatrick and "Cashing in on RSS" I say, "sure, it could happen." I don't believe it has yet, but I think it will. Right now the race is on with everyone (it seems) to create the "big RSS app" that will reach the masses. I'd say Flickr and iTunes are out front right now... I know people who listen to Podcasts that don't even know what RSS is. Delicious is a great app, but even I frequently have issues with that app. Obviously Jim Moore doesn't think it's happened yet either... Good luck to the firm, I'm excited to see what comes of these guys.
*NOTE* Fred had a great post that really hit home what I'm getting at above... RSS is cool, but it's not completely user friendly. Vague, I know, but if you know the post I'm looking for, send it my way please. Thanks.
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