June 25, 2004
Supernova: Decentralization and Commodification

Kevin has given Supernova attendees two keywords for the conference, "decentralization" and "commodification." Decentralization empowers the users at the edges of networks, whether it's physical networks or communications networks. These users (the public) need networks to connect them, but they're best served by a commodity network (as James Seng noted, the best network is the one that does the least).

Some of the most fun discussions are those about user-driven innovation, the "misuse" of technology to do things its producer didn't expect. Dodgeball takes cellphones and turns them into location-sensors that the user, not the phone company, controls. Imagine that application on fully programmable mobiles, rather than hacked from SMS. Likewise, voice-over-IP can be far more than a glorified cheaper telephone call, but only if the users are allowed to manipulate their own data (or purchase from a variety of providers offering to do it for them.

The problem is that no one wakes up and says "I want to be in a commodity business." Commodity production doesn't give monopoly margins. Most CEOs would rather risk everything shooting for a unique market. How do we convince them to provide the basic, dumb-network service, or how do we roll out the infrastructure for ourselves?

Posted by Wendy at June 25, 2004 05:47 PM | TrackBack
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