[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
RE: [kGen] DTI's Broadband Content Pilots Study...
Hi Alex and All,
Many thanks for your email. I'm finding this a most stimulating discussion.
Apologies in advance for my detailed questioning. I'm just trying to
clarify the issues and, hopefully, I'm being logical about all this. Please
note the last paragraph (9.) has a summary of the most important questions.
Sticking to your clarifying numbering system...
1. Great! We are agreed that "there is a need to recognise informational
architecture [I guess 'architecture' is the same as 'infrastructure'] as a
component of the digital content marketplace" . As I've asked in 5, is the
creation of informational infrastructure your priority? And if not, what is
2. OK. I will accept that you need to "show that a good return can be
earned" to provide encouragement. Please could you state the exact return
that needs to be earned that will encourage "other private sector operators
to enter the area also"? Above this stated return the BBChannel will be
considered a success and below which it will be considered a failure.
3. OK. I will accept that you need proof that "informational infrastructure
works". Please could you state the exact criteria that you are setting
which, when satisfied, will prove that "informational infrastructure
works"? I'd suggest that the criteria needs to be based on things that we
can measure right now. So that as the BBChannel progresses we can plot
these things as they reach their "proof" targets. Without having these
strict criteria we can have no proof target and without the possibility of
there being any proof, or testing for it, it follows that there's no reason
to have a BBChannel - using your reasoning. Yes?
4. We are agreed on this point, however, I am concerned that your "brief
was not focussed on standards" because informational infrastructure
requires "codifying current business practices" and when you code anything
it has to be to an agreed "standard" for it to be interpreted. Are any of
the "working bodies in the BSG and DCF" writing reports that will be
recommending putting millions of pounds into standards research, in the
same way that you've done for portals?
5. I'm sorry but you have misquoted/misunderstood what I am saying in
reference to "informational infrastructure" and "sites". I'm absolutely not
suggesting that "sites should be de-emphasised" and not saying that we
"need to have informational infrastructure rather than sites". Quoting from
my paragraph I said "both the sites and the informational infrastructure
are required for it to work". I am questioning your idea of putting all
your eggs into "one" site/business such as the BBChannel. One site/business
does not show evidence of informational infrastructure existing. It's like
having a car but no roads; or computers with no Internet; or banks with no
banking system; or people with mobile phones but no common spoken language.
However, multiple sites/businesses exchanging information does show
evidence of informational infrastructure. For Kendra Initiative the two are
inseparable. From your conclusions I can only postulate that it is of
higher priority for you to see the creation of a big content aggregating
company than it is for you to see the creation of informational
infrastructure for all people and organisations in this industry to utilise
to for revenue generation. Am I wrong? What is your priority here?
6. I don't feel you've gone far enough in saying "what happens after". From
everything you've said there seems to be no clear vision of the future that
you desire. Without this "clear vision" how does one know what direction to
take? Your hope is "encouraging further investment" but it's not clear to
me where this investment will go (other than "similar" businesses) and I
simply can't help wondering how it's any different from what we have now on
the current Internet. Nor is it clear whether any of this is tied to
bringing about an open informational infrastructure. I should emphasise the
word "open". It means anyone can take part in the content marketplace as
long as they talk the protocol/language - in Internet terms that's TCP/IP.
What I am not talking about is a closed system where people or
organisations can be locked out of participation as that's not going to
drive overall revenues.
7. I've discovered a fundamental difference in our approach to solving this
problem - it came to me on my bicycle. Your remit is "encouraging further
investment in other businesses similar to the broadband channel". You are
trying to prove to investors that they should put money into broadband
projects. But investors are, respectfully, fickle entities, generally
following the heard and not to be considered "early adopters". I don't envy
your task. Especially after they've just all been burnt (and continue to be
burnt) by technology investments. It seems like an uphill struggle to me.
Conversely, we, in Kendra Initiative, are the early adopters. We
already have businesses that are up and running and, hopefully,
sustainable. We are the people and organisations that are passionate about
seeing this informational infrastructure exist. We not only desire it to
make ours lives easier but require it for businesses to continue to be
competitive and stay afloat. We do not need proof that informational
infrastructure will work. We know it will work as long as we are included
in its design process.
That's why so many of us have listed ourselves on the Kendra website.
We want to be part of the informational infrastructure design process. I
strongly suggest you re-evaluate your target audience. Do you want to be
working with the early adopters - people that are passionate about making
this happen? Or do you want to work with people that need persuading that
all of this stuff is a good idea in the first place? To quote Obi-Wan, "use
the force". I mean, use the people that want this to happen to help make it
happen rather than people who are not even sure yet.
8. When I co-founded an ISP (Cerbernet) back in 1995 we visited a few other
ISPs. At that time Easynet's modem pool looked smaller than a PC and
Pipex's servers and routers fitted into a small room. We knew that TCP/IP
worked. That was our informational infrastructure for the business model
that we would go on to use: selling Internet connections. We had zero
outside investment and put very little hard cash into the business
ourselves. We built the business organically over 5 years and were very
lucky to sell it off for several million a few months before the "investors
market" started to take a dive. Without TCP/IP (the Internet - our
informational infrastructure) we would not have been able to achieve what
we did and that can be said for all Internet businesses current and
I guess what I'm trying to say here is that it's not always cash
investment that's needed to get an industry going. Sometimes a bit of good
old hard labour and sleeping on the office floor is what it takes. In some
ways the most crucial bit of investment that the Internet ever really got
was the initial cash stumped up for funding TCP/IP's creation. Once we had
our common language the industry flourished...
9. I have asked a lot of questions but really I only have two important ones:
9.1. What are your priorities?
9.2. What is your vision of the future that you desire to be created?
Without knowing your answers to these two questions I'm finding it really
difficult to make comments on your strategies/methods as I'm not sure of
At 09:31 14/10/2002 +0100, Birch, Alex wrote:
>>From your last e-mail I think the key issues you would like comment on are
>these (phrased from your perspective):
>1. There is a need to recognise "informational architecture" as a
>component of the digital content marketplace
>2. There are lots of examples of the BB channel up and running - no
>need for another one
>3. Even if the BB Channel "works" it does not facilitate the setting up
>of other businesses - the market doesn't need "proof" it needs "action" in
>the form of tools and "informational infrastructure"
>4. "Informational Infrastructure" should be broadly defined to include
>5. Need to have "informational infrastructure" rather than "sites"
>6. What happens after the Broadband Channel is up and running