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Connect the dots...

Part of my job as a venture capitalist is to "connect the dots" - look at the trends that are underway, add in the different business ideas (proposed or existent) that I see and develop a thesis about what might happen next.  Simply put - you connect the dots you see and extrapolate where the next dot might appear; you integrate the new trends and things you see to update the thesis as time goes by.

At Ridgelift Ventures we call this process White Space Analysis - its a process we go through twice a year to update and refine the investment spaces in which we are active.  In parallel there is the ongoing process of updating ourselves through reading, meetings, discussions etc. in between the bi-annual checkpoints.

You can see some of my thoughts around this white space process here in my blog - getting my thoughts down in writing has been a good way to focus and has led to interesting feedback and input from its readers.

Back in May I wrote about the feasibility of an ad supported cell phone and speculated that a Yahoo or Google might make moves in that direction.  The costs to be covered didn't make this a slam dunk but as I thought more about the opportunities around metro-area WiFi networks, I wrote a follow on article about using a WiFi enabled cell phone paid for by advertising.

Today I saw two additional data points that make me think this is an idea whose time is approaching. 

I still think that one of the more promising ideas for mobile advertising is to provide advertising content that users pull rather than having ad content pushed to them.  I don't like intrusive push based ads on the web - the ads that start playing audio, expand when I mouse over them by accident or have Grandma hanging from the web page banner are really annoying and have me reaching for AdBlock.  Intrusive ads on a cell phone wouldn't be worth the "free" service although to I'm sure some folks will have more tolerance.

Sometimes the process of connecting the dots provides humorous inspiration - looking at Web 2.0, Voice 2.0 etc. gave me the inspiration behind my Everything Bits 3.0 article - lo and behold, the NY Times coined the moniker Web 3.0 in this Sunday's paper to describe the Semantic Web developments.

Dot connecting is a lot of fun!

P.S.  somebody from Google is a regular reader of my blog... ;-)



Peter Cranstone


Here's another dot - GPS location. Look at your comment regarding "targeted advertising". The key is relevance. There are three things you need for relevance... Who (Me data) What (Device data) and Where (Location data)... http://www really stands for Who, What and Where not that mobile is upon us.



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Intense Brit, lived in Silicon Valley since 1984. Avid pilot, like digital photography, ham radio and a bunch of other stuff. Official Geek.

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