Thursday, October 02, 2008

The beta generation

Dangerous tools and environments were just a couple of the risks when the oil industry first started. That torturous first scene in the movie There Will Be Blood shows Daniel Day Lewis, the oil seeking maverick, injured and stranded with broken bones after a fall into the well he dug. There is payoff this time and his pain is outweighed by his joy when the oil shoots up from the earth allowing him victory. Of course there are many wells that don't pay off but one must keep plodding through each as if it would. Some wells seem to have more promise than others.

In my world of drilling and discovery, crude technology is the black gold sought.

New media technology has become so exciting in the past 3 or 4 years, even though it's played down by those sorely recollecting the 'Bubble.' Yet, it's rampant. Most TV shows have web sites and if the producer don't build it, the fans will. My daughter's orthodontist has her own radio show. You can order groceries, drugs, shoes, a wedding dress and your funeral casket -- all online. You'd need a wiki to detail all the opportunities for GPS and the technologies that use it for gaming, safety, military security, and finding a Starbucks close by. Gosh, that's hard, isn't it? Hey money gets there first sometimes. But don't worry, it's crowded, and the best software and service will rise to the top.

For example, rating and ranking systems are getting better because there is more data contained in them. Even if a restaurant owner gave themselves positive ratings, eventually those who rate their experience at the restaurant outweigh any biased rating submissions. Since polling technology has been around for a while now, it's becoming widely useful.

Video broadcast services are still young.

I ran into the director of business development from last month at TC50. Hey great I thought, we are working on a high profile project and I told him I wanted to use the service to do private recordings. He said I would be better off with another service and rattled off a couple I didn't investigate yet. I was surprised he didn't want to work more closely and that the marketing department didn't follow up about redistributing the content, which is already proven popular on other networks. Other services? Well OK Ustream, but the thing was, I had three interviews set up and not one of them worked out, whether bandwidth issue or something we were never able to determine. Thankfully I was simultaneously recording the audio using either BlogTalkRadio or a home studio. BlogTalkRadio saved me (for the second time!) this summer as a redundant recording device when other technology failed. It will be great when video technology matures just a bit and we've over this hurdle. Please drop me a note if you know of a good video service I might try.

Talking with a board member from Greenpeace or the frustrated, English materials science professor, who arranged to let me interview him in the evening, made me feel a bit like Mr. Lewis in the well, before the oil came. Less messy, but equally horrific. Yet we, the beta generation, will continue to test the software, as technology is so much more valuable a resource than oil in the end.

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