The future of the web on Jan. 25

Event TechnoArk 2008Just before you go to LIFT08, head to Sierre on January 25th to listen to Bruno Giussani and Frederic Kaplan talk about communicating objects and mobile internet, the future of the web?

LIFT lab is managing the morning program of what should be an interesting day in Valais to discuss some of the two most important trends on the Internet. More information on

You won’t escape open source

Gartner predicts that by 2011, at least 80% of commercial software will contain open source code.

As software applications get more powerful with time, they also share an increasing number of capabilities (think of login, profile edition or tabbed navigation for a web app). With time, open source usually ends up doing these basic tasks better than commercial product, simply because more people end up putting their brain power on the problem with the open model. Which probably explains why open source software ends up taking care of the fundamental layers of commercial products.

“Of course, consumers won”

“We used to fool ourselves,’ [Edgar Bronfman, CEO of Warner Music] said. “We used to think our content was perfect just exactly as it was. We expected our business would remain blissfully unaffected even as the world of interactivity, constant connection and file sharing was exploding. And of course we were wrong. How were we wrong? By standing still or moving at a glacial pace, we inadvertently went to war with consumers by denying them what they wanted and could otherwise find and as a result of course, consumers won.

If I am working for Warner Music I wait 6 more months before printing my resignation letter, just in case this is finally the definite sign that this industry is waking up. The “inadvertently”part is a bit too much, not sure how you can sue hundreds of people without noticing but hey, at least the process started.

Email is not dead

Some articles spelled the end of email as early as 2004 (in Korea of course, where else). Now Slate comes back on this matter claiming that “email is looking obsolete“.

The main argument behind this reasoning? Stats show that teens are giving up on email in favor of instant messaging and social networks. As these kids will get older, email won’t be in their toolbox so they won’t use it right?

Isn’t there a problem here? Does this separation by age really make sense? It is because you are a teen you don’t use email, or is it because you don’t yet play in the corporate arena? I think it is the latter. Somehow usage is correlated to age (facts are here, teens don’t use email), but this does not mean this whole generation won’t start using email once it gets older and, well, needs a job, needs to climb a corporate ladder, has to sell products to clients.

It is not because the young generation does not use Viagra that Viagra won’t be used in the the future ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you listen to ethnographers like Stefana Broadbent, they tell you that email is the “admin channel“. And admin is one of the “pleasures” of stepping in the adult age, something that you don’t have to worry as a kid. As admin catches up with the new generation, it won’t be able to escape email.

If there is a real threat to email it is not SMS, IM and Facebook. It is JotSpot and the other wiki-based collaboration platforms who make the asynchronous and invasive email obsolete.

But good ol electronic mail has very strong allies in a few things like corporate politics (who wasn’t involved in a “cc war” with an escalating number of bosses copied on the messages), ego (how many people “didn’t notice” they hit reply to all instead of reply when making a “brilliant” joke in a chain mail), bosses processing power (I don’t see a CEO with 50 chat sessions open, taking a large number of decisions at the same time) to only name a few.

James Bond, North Korea’s intro to the world

The Chinese government is probably one of the biggest enabler of the North Korean regime. Kim Jong Il’s dictatorship could not stand long if it was not supported by such a powerful ally. But chinese traders are creating changes in the other direction, making a few bucks selling pirated DVDs to North Koreans, passing bits of modernity and openness in the process.

For a country that has been so brainwashed that many citizens think the dear leader has super natural powers, it is a major step.

[…] massive crop failures and widespread famine forced the government to tolerate private trading.
By 2002 [people] could sell fish for cash [used] to buy, among other manufactured goods from China, a color television and a videotape player. Soon [people] were asking local merchants to smuggle in specific video titles from China.
In addition to Bond movies, she learned about the world beyond North Korea from Hong Kong gangster films and from South Korean television, which she could receive on her Chinese-made TV.
Her son, now 17, said his understanding of the United States — where he hopes one day to live — was formed by watching old videos of “Charlie’s Angels.”