Monthly Archives: April, 2008

Evaluating New Social Networking Technologies

Chip passed on this review

Evaluating New Social Networking Technologies By CIOinsight

Making sense of Web culture—and finding ways to capitalize on it—is the focus of Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, a new book written by Forrester analysts Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff.

In this excerpt, the authors discuss ways of evaluating new generations of social technology as they emerge.

First, [keep in mind that] Web 2.0 technologies change rapidly. Second, [remember that] the technologies are not the point. The forces at work are.

Here’s the principle for mastering the groundswell: Concentrate on relationships, not technologies. The way people connect with each other—the community that is created—determines how the power shifts.”

To read the 5 questions and the book review go here.

R&D Tax Credits and Knowledge Hunting

On 24th of April there were two guests. Colin De Freyne of EY and Geoff McDowell from Bridge Ellis

Colin covered a number of topics including a very high level scan of limited partnerships* now available in NZ and the advantages of using them as well as a q&a around the conundrum of equity as part payment for fees. (* Limited Partnerships Act goes live on May 02, 2008 in NZ – see quote below.)

“The primary objective of the introduction of the Limited Partnerships regime in May 2008 is to facilitate sustainable growth in New Zealand’s venture capital and private equity industries.”

The impression on the equity scenarios was that partly paid shares should be near the top of the list when reviewing options but no magic bullets so check with your advisor.

Colin is a Director of the RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT TEAM at EY and his core topic was the new Research & Development Tax Credit Regime.

“For many businesses the R&D tax credit is a welcome tax benefit. 15% of qualifying expenditure can be claimed as a credit against tax payable or, potentially, as a cash refund. To take full advantage your business needs to maximise its ability to identify and track qualifying activities and expenditure.

Ernst & Young’s R&D team can help businesses maximise their R&D claims.”

…and

“The areas of qualification fit all New Zealand companies which undertake R&D and software development.

The regime is perhaps more relevant to locally-owned enterprises as the resulting Intellectual Property must be New Zealand owned, but it is likely to also apply to inbounds also.”

The credit applies from 1st of July 2008 although could be in effect earlier depending on tax year. It is in effect a rebate of 15% of allowable R & D expenditure which can be claimed in cash if the entity has no tax liability.

The presentation also covered off eligibility, activities which qualify as allowable R&D, excluded activities, level of documentation and record keeping and the claim process. Check their website for more information like this summary or this list and contact Colin regarding specific assistance where required.

Geoff McDowell introduced his firm – Bridge Ellis – The Knowledge Hunters. To quote from their website

“Do you need:

* an expert in a particular field?
* a detailed competitive analysis of your marketplace?
* ongoing market intelligence on the subjects and trends of your choice?

Bridge Ellis can help. People think of us as knowledge hunters because that’s exactly what we do.

Whatever your taste in knowledge, we hunt it down and present it for your consumption. Knowledge is, after all, the lifeblood of any organization.”

Geoff then spoke about social networks covering trends, mentioning cultural relevance as a driver and the inherent conflict between one to one and the actual ‘many to many’ scenarios experienced on some of the larger sites. Also the difference between internal (ISN) or external (ESN) social networks which tend to be more advertising driven and some discussion around business models. Not sure where the following quote came from

“The value of a network is not defined not only by who’s on it but by who’s excluded.”

Customer facing companies need to have a social network engagement strategy so they can learn about and leverage the areas of consumer interest and participation.

Two of the meta search engines Geoff mentioned are Pipl and Wink

Contact him for more detail if needed. Gary also mentioned golf.

Moores Law Idea

About 8 or 9 years ago there was a real glut of conferences on the impact of the internet and most presenters felt obliged to talk about Moores law which applied then to hardware mostly.

In fact we are surrounded by lots of “business cycles” and ripple effect such as the innovation cycle – start something new, refine it by bringing down costs and so on over time, while expanding and changing markets in new and interesting ways.

Increasingly more people are realizing that there are parallel and social effects in other technology related areas like software and business cycles for instance.

Two of the thinkers I really like on the wider tech implications are Paul Graham and David Cowan.

Paul has a large number of very helpful essays and this one from October ’07 really caught my eye – he was talking about The Future of Web Startups.

(This essay is derived from a keynote at FOWA in October 2007.)

There’s something interesting happening right now. Startups are undergoing the same transformation that technology does when it becomes cheaper.

It’s a pattern we see over and over in technology. Initially there’s some device that’s very expensive and made in small quantities. Then someone discovers how to make them cheaply; many more get built; and as a result they can be used in new ways.

Computers are a familiar example. When I was a kid, computers were big, expensive machines built one at a time. Now they’re a commodity. Now we can stick computers in everything.

This pattern is very old. Most of the turning points in economic history are instances of it. It happened to steel in the 1850s, and to power in the 1780s. It happened to cloth manufacture in the thirteenth century, generating the wealth that later brought about the Renaissance. Agriculture itself was an instance of this pattern.

Now as well as being produced by startups, this pattern is happening to startups. It’s so cheap to start web startups that orders of magnitudes more will be started. If the pattern holds true, that should cause dramatic changes.

David Cowan recently speculated in a video that we are now at the stage where perhaps every 18 months or so it becomes half as expensive to roll out an application to the web in some kind of echo of Moore’s law.

The mathematical element is not as important as the key point that many more thousands of developers, entrepreneurs and business people everywhere are using the latest software tools and technologies to accelerate just about everything.

From my perspective many of these observations come across like that ancient story of the blind men describing an elephant. The elephant is large and each man describes a different part of what sounds like more than one animal.

So where is all this heading? To read more go here