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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Evolve or die: The Business 2.0 Model

Let me start with my own experience. I have worked in many companies for the past 7 years, I started around year 2000 just after the dot com burst; from research, start-ups, medium size, virtual, to international. I even did freelancing.

During my early years, doing business is very traditional; you need to have proper contacts as well as endorsers. When you get a good feedback that’s the time to set up the initial meetings and you have to make a proposal which includes a hefty amount of case studies to cite, roll-out plans, ROI projections, costing, etc.

If you’re lucky or the bribes paid off, the proposal will be accepted and the contract will be signed; then the planning stage begins. This is when you get to meet all the key people that are going to manage and develop the product. You will have to talk about the designs and resources to be allocated; it does help if you throw a lot of jargons and hype-words. Make sure to study in advance and know what kind of developers the company has. If it’s a company with Microsoft developers throw words like dot Net, VSS, XML, Web services, IIS, and MSSQL. For example: “How are we going to manage the project, do you guys use VSS? We can integrate our system using the Web services that we built on dot Net framework which runs on IIS”. If its Java based development team then just substitute the equivalent hype-words for Java. Its funny how everyone in the room will nod whenever you use their hype-words, I guess it’s like the hearing holy words for them.

The development phase usually takes months but always ends in “almost there” state, everyone will unanimously say: “Let’s compromise; release what we have and deal with what’s missing as a second phase”. If your product ends up like this then celebrate because that’s the best thing that can happen. That’s better off than hearing: “We have to change the way you use it because the original workflow is technically impossible” or the worst is hearing “We need more resources, we have to extend the timeline, outsource parts of it or let’s scratch it then just buy this platform and built on top of it”. Someone must have fallen off the chair reading this by now.

Today this is still practiced here in the Philippines but soon it will need to come to past because there is a new way for doing business.

Welcome to the age of Business 2.0; I call it that way because this strategy is derived from engaging with project that deals heavily on web 2.0 or mobile 2.0 concepts. How does it work?

First think of what you have; what services you run or products you sell then look how this is being done in other countries. Check the “hot” services or products especially the ones with a developer community. Why? Because it’s most probable that service or product has an open API. Now check which service they have that can be duplicated or are not accessible here in the Philippines and at the same time it can be done via their API. Finally check the Terms of Service, If you can’t understand most of then it’s not really important because TOS mostly covers what kind of content is acceptable; the API will most certainly cover only what’s acceptable by TOS.

Just like any business, it’s either the product is copied, extended or integrated with your own. Extending and integrating is the easiest to do since there is an open API and a developer community that can help you. After the development phase you can offer the product as a “Beta”, it’s a way of saying we want you to start using it but expect bugs. Users love bleeding edge and they love it more when they know they can influence how your product will be when it comes out of “Beta”. It gives out that sense of a personalized touch but of course it will probably run for ages that way and even if it’s already rock solid, you will keep it in “Beta” because of its desired effect.

Now let’s go back into the planning phase, on which you won’t need the hype-words anymore. The ins and outs of the API will be clearly stated on the documentation and manual. Bugs are reported promptly then fixed while a road-map of enhancements is available in the forums, developer blogs or wikis so you can think ahead and consider your designs to fit the future.

The development will be smooth because you will be learning how to do it the right way using tutorials and demo application codes you can download. The open API will most probably follow a standardized scheme so most of the guess work is done plus a lot of code libraries and classes would be available to ease your code management.

Even if you’re still on development stage you can invite Beta users to evaluate and help find bugs, make early and frequent releases as much as possible before adding a new feature. You will probably get stuck in this cycle since users will continually contribute ideas but it’s Ok since this is our desired effect.

Finally you will need to grow your number of user’s until the provider of the original service notices you and that’s when you can talk with them about partnership, ROI, etc. It’s usually a short negotiation since your product already supports your claim.

As you can see the difference; Business 2.0 is safer and produces the desired results. No need to for contacts, exclusivity, Non-compete or NDAs or minimum guarantees to toss out from your pocket. It is also the shortest way for local businesses to engage the global market.

The success of your product depends on its mind share, where users continually contribute ideas to your service. This is contrary to the concept of user base; where success is due to the large number of users using it but does not concern them when it comes to improving your product. It’s a battle of quality versus quantity so think well on which type of users your product or service will be best suited for.

If you have a good mind share but you cannot implement their ideas and suggestion then they think that you do not value them and they will move into the next thing that will want to take in their ideas. On the other hand; if you grow your user base too fast you will run out of resources faster than what you can provide to them thus your users will have to contend with a slow service. Because of this you will be more preoccupied in maintaining you product than enhancing it so eventually users will move on to the next newest one they can find.

There is another way where you can try balancing having both type of users; the ones with ideas will belong to a special type or group such as a developers group, this distinction between ordinary users will give them more enthusiasm to contribute ideas which in turn you can implement to suffice the needs of ordinary users for something that’s always new.
Now that’s only some examples of successful Business 2.0, but there are other challenges left like how do you deal with local business partners that refuse to evolve their methods? If they are unwilling to evolve; how to decrease dependency to them? And finally when is the right time to cut the knot?

Monday, November 26, 2007

TWIT2948 under criticism by Telcos

I got an email from Txtdomain saying my Twit2948 service is under review after a Telco has criticized its legitimacy. Here is my reply:

Is it Free?
TWIT2948 is a service under OrgText and upon signing up we can create any group and assign a keyword but we still have to pay the mandatory 2.50/sms. It is not free.

Is it affiliated to Twitter?
No. It is not endorsed by Twitter at all. I developed this using the open Twitter API found here: So I really don't care if you create another mobile Twitter or even a better one as long as mine is at 2948 with keyword TWIT (Im not even using the keyword TWITTER here just to be safe).

Who owns TWIT2948?
I own it! I'm only using the OrgText service which is available for anyone who wants to create a mobile service for their community and the API is accessible via I can run it where ever I want too, its not exclusive to Txtdomain or OrgText at all.

So Twit isn't owned by TechBiz Asia?
No, this is mine. I work for TechBiz Asia but it doesn't mean everything I do is a product of my company. We are free to create our own product as long as it does not compete with any other product of TechBiz Asia. Finally to just clarify - this Blog belongs to me personally. What I write here doesn't reflect the opinion of any company I work for.

So there you have it, this is a legit service with legitimate VAS rates! Use it at your own discretion.

It is not my fault that the Telco's are incapable to create their own services such as Twit2948 even though the APIs are available and the only way they are countering this innovation is targeting my provider to stop my service.

I intend to create more services in mobile using these open API and I dare anyone in the Telco industry to follow this suit. In the end it is not for us who creates these services but for the good of the end users; giving them more options -- better, cheaper and faster.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Ever wanted to post to Twitter via mobile? Is your 3G/GPRS bill sky-rocketing because you're secretly twitting over WAP during meetings?

We'll just send TWIT to 2948 to start posting to Twitter via SMS, great for those twitter addicts who just wants to twit anywhere and anytime. This service works for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers (standard VAS rates applies). Wahooo.

Is this an official Twitter client?

Well ... Almost there ^_^

It's just like any other third-party client and there are hundreds of Twitter client out there too and they're all unofficial.

How did this happen?

The story goes like this; I stayed at the office over night because we're going on a company vacation the next morning. So I thought wouldn't it be nice to twit while on vacation? Is there even going to be Internet or WiFi access there? I got a panic attack and asked Mark Achanzar to provision me an OrgTxt keyword; I knew theres only one way to do this -- post to Twitter via SMS!

While working on this another impromptu project, I thought its unfair I couldn't just use the built-in SMS feature on Twitter and that I have to cram in under 10 hours just to enjoy mobile twitting. If only I can SMS to twitter without paying International text-ing rates; WAP access is to pricey for me too and I'll probably drain my battery just twitting along the way.

Anyway Mark's XRelay SMS platform did most of the job for me, I just have to code from a template class and everything i need to control the gateway is readily accessible in my code. I actually spent the first 6 hours answering forum posts that's why I have to cram on the last hours (sorry, I get out of focus sometimes).

So here it is, another Mobile 2.0 product with only 67 lines of pure PHP code (I still need to compress that after vacation). I call it... Twit2948. ^_^

Now I'm dead tired, hungry (haven't ate diner yet) and sleepy; but I'm happy I can post to Twitter while on vacation ^_^

Update: Now supports MMS image attachments!

PS: I'm still working on unregister and change password features. Use at your own discretion.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Telcos Implementing SMS Spam Control?

Its not official, but we have been monitoring the SMS delivery behaviour of the telcos and it seems that there is a constant 2 minute delay for receiving SMS.

The word out the streets is that Telcos have implemented a Spam Control system to weed out illegal use of unlimited SMS promos. Its not unknown to many that there are underground services that uses these promos to send free SMS accross telcos which is a feature not provided by default in these promos.

It is said that these underground services is the main cause why the Telcos has been losing revenue on the international SMS market.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I am Android

Google just released its open source mobile operating system and platform called "Android".

A few days back Google initiated OpenSocial, then now the Android and according to my last post that the future frontier of OpenSocial is actually making it personal by tapping mobile phone... OpenSocial + Android = Mobile 2.0!

Now let's see.. Google, I know you been visiting my blog because I see your IP in my tracker... You guys can just email me for ideas you know, you don't need to wait for me to post it on blog (haha, just wishful thinking).

Monday, November 12, 2007

Because Business is Social

"Business is social...", yup, we heard those phrase from Google's CampFire One where they announced the launching of the collaborative project OpenSocial. After watching the event video on YouTube for the 4th times, one thing that struck me is the phrase "Business is social...". Of course since business is basically built on relationships, just like between partners and clients.

Everything we do is in fact -- social, for example you and your favorite drink is based on a social relationship. Like people; the products we buy is representation of the company who produces it and with further analogy we know the company represents the people that works there. Therefore your favorite drink is the medium where you are socially connected to all those people in that said company.

Speaking of companies, most known ones already have a online presence via their websites. So why not make it as a medium for social connection as well?

Actually theres already an existing relationship mechanism on them but its only one way; you can only know about the company but it doesn't makes you known to them.

Until now, only IT oriented companies who has developer support program has a two way social relation mechanism in placed such as MSDN, Apple and Nokia. Clearly these said sites still needs a lot of improvement on providing means of social relationship since being a member on most of them myself still makes me feel alone. Aside from the usual blunt profile and forum there is no way for me to express my other interests.

For example I would most probably have business with a company whose employees perceive it as a fun company rather than a sweatshop. Just like I would probably trust most a business partner who has the same hobby as I do since its easier to communicate complex ideas based on something we have in common. I personally I like to make use of analogies so if you're not into playing RPG games then I will probably have a hard time explaining why playing FallOut2 is like the IT development management.

We were Web 2.0.

So what does this all mean? First look at MySpace, Facebook, Friendster etc, etc. These are sites provides the mechanisms for social relationships very well. Rather than companies advertising on them to provide a social conduit between their products and target audience; why not make your product / corporate site social and let consumers and clients express themselves there?

It's a good idea, in fact its a brilliant one that is was first conceived during the dot com era but the major problem was:

1. These companies doesn't know how much about creating two way social relationship online.
2. It takes a lot of technology to put one into the existing site.

Well today those problems are already solved, for problem #1 we already have successful model social sites; but for problem #2 the solution has only arrived.

The key is OpenSocial.

OpenSocial API can provide seem-less integration of user and relationship data between sites. This would allow for example; if I sign-up for Nokia Developer account my OpenSocial profile is copied (privacy options can be controlled of course) then it also tells all other sites that is liked via OpenSocial that I'm now a member of Nokia Developer Forum. It would also allow me then to browse the profiles of other members as well as business profile of Nokia executives, blog posts, browse products, create reviews of their recent phone model, etc. and all this will be available to others via OpenSocial.

Sounds great ain't it? I was so convinced that I re-coded one of my corporate websites into a social format.

Check out (still upgrading)

What I did there is merge the FAPPS social site project Cribz[beta] into with its corporate site. I did throw out the common (booooriiiing) corporate layout which is usually just a bunch of flashy images, technical jargons and hype-words but once you really read them your not going to find anything credible. While with this new model, relationship is expressed and credibility is enforced by those relationships. So far I'm trying to rebuild the contents on FAPPS because the old platform has a defunct database design that's why the site is a bit bare.

So there you have it, a proof that business can be social -- and it should for companies to survive in today's competitive business arena.

The Future is Mobile 2.0.

What's the future for OpenSocial and Web2.0? How about making it personal. Personal is what we term something we have always; so check your pocket now and I bet 90% all of you readers have your personal cellphone with you.

Imagine connecting OpenSocial into your phone, send and receive updates in real time. Ask for help, recommend, post reviews of the place you are now or the food your are eating and share them as it happens -- transparently. Combining the power of OpenSocial + Web 2.0 on mobile will be one of the best premises of Mobile 2.0

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Wall has fallen: Smart Telecoms opens up its 3G network

Taste of freedom is sweet, after years of battling between control and the demand of its subscribers for more quality of service.

Smart has announced that it has opened all its ports allowing unrestricted access to the Internet.

What does this mean for Smart? Uptake on 3G usage and more cashing of course. We'll its not bad since an hour worth of 3G access cost 40 Pesos which cost a little bit higher that the fee on Mall based Internet Cafe. Still, the flexibility to actually go online anytime is what matter's most especially for those last minute twitting before going to bed ^_^

Original message below:

Hi ho listers,

I have it on very good authority that SMART 3G has begun a process of opening up those previously blocked ports this week :-) This should allow more mobile apps and standard Internet applications (on laptops and PCs tapped into the 3G/HSDPA network) that utilize certain protocols or ports to run.In the event that there are some apps that still don't run, I'd appreciate hearing about them. Just send me a private email tojimayson@gmail. com. These will be routed directly to Smart's network group.It would be good if you can list the application name and a short description of the problem.cheers,

jim ayson,
listowner, d' pilipin isayberspeys rebyu

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A peek into OpenSocial Sandbox

Google just approved my request to access the Orkut sandbox for development with OpenSocial API. As expected it works the same as FaceBook except for the lack of widget placement customization. After the application is added, a link shows up on the left panel to access the application's full page view.

However one must be cautioned that the API is still in the works and there are many security holes still unplugged and as the development speeds up with the involvement of the open source community; we will see more and more of these holes.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

OpenSocial: Many sites... One API to rule them all !!!

OpenSocial is a joint project to create a universal API for all social sites by no other than Google of course. This is clearly a response to the growing interest on Facebook API that allowed full integration of third-party contents and widgets on FB.

Cramming not to be left out on this new revolutionary technology (basically all other social-sites lacks it), Google has partnered with all of them in an attempt to tip the balance to the dark side...err. ya, whatever O_o

Anyway, I already predicted this 3-4 years ago when we built the Friendster API using web services (what? ya, JSON wasn't standard on those days yet).

Hah, I told them so! Now whose your daddy?!!

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