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August 18, 2005


Mark Nickeson

A good start at getting rid of the technobable would be to stop referring to RSS as a technology in its own right. RSS is content. Technology comes into play when retreiving, displaying, indexing, routing, aggregating RSS content.

Sadly, to me at least, nothing fundamentally innovative is garnering VC investment in this space. Not yet, anyway.

Ted Rheingold

>So true it hurts.

What VC, entrepreneur or engineer hasn't commited heart and soul to a failed project only to see another make a fortune out of of it 4 or 5 years later?

Mine was trying to do a podcast-like service in 1999.

>VCs have to be careful not overestimate near term adoption rates

But isn't part of the VC business model to expect a certain percent of all funded projects to not fly, thus meaning that it's in their best interest to support endeavors which even have a chance of taking off faster than expected? Or am I simplyfying too much?

David Wilkinson

From a total geek:

RSS - Really Simple Syndication (except what do I do with it)

Yes, only 11% know what it is - wait until the users find out that they can save time and $$$ using it to read several hundred blogs in one screen, and they can drag and drop xml/rss icons into their browser (wait till IE7 comes out). Then it will explode. VC's who are checking it out today, have a chance to cash in later. Also, you might want to check out another new content management tool called OPML. Ever wonder how podcast directories are linked to each other and maintained on the fly? Heheh, that's just the icing on the cake. Wait till they implement this in new, and as yet, unknown ways. RSS and OPML - Future Fortunes TBD...

Jeff Clavier

Mark> I would argue that RSS is a delivery "vehicle", allowing content to be more easily accessed and distributed.

Ted> The "So true" was really referring to the notion of VC partners not being a good proxies for the average consumer. They are generally tech savvy, wealthy, fond of gadgets and so something that a VC likes might actually be off-market.

David> I don't disagree with your point. However I almost shot myself the last time I tried to explain to my father on the phone how to use some drag and drop features that were available on Windows XP (I upgraded him from Windows 98 over the hols). So dragging an XML icon in IE7 is great, but falls in the same category. We just need to hide this thing to make it mainstream.

shel Israel

Well said, Jeff. When I first got into blogging, I was baffled by RSS and what it does. When someone tried to describe it to me, I said, "You mean it's sort of like a home delivery system. You go somewhere and you ask to subscribe, then I get it outside my door, where I can pick it up and read it when I want." The developer who had been explaining it, stared blankly at me for a moment. Then he said: "It's more complicated than that." Why does it have to be?

Ted Rheingold

Ha! That would explain why I was a bit confused at the point. Had to just go look up Misere too.

So I think we're in agreement when I say once mail clients say 'click here to check your news' and offer a hierarchical directory and keyword-based search of RSS feeds, that will spawn a 'news window' it won't matter what you call them, people wont be able to live without them.

Tony Austin

Good points! But please correct the spelling to "technobabble".

The English language is interestingly inconsistent in its spelling-pronunciation mix: consider "table" versus "tablet" or "cable" versus "cabinet" ... but all the same, there ain't no such word as "bable"!

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