Monday, June 11, 2007


looks like the US military has concluded al qaeda is now the biggest threat in iraq (a self fulfilling prophecy?), evidenced by the fact that the army is ARMING SUNNIS IN IRAQ TO HELP FIGHT AL QAEDA. the craziest parts of this are that the hugely expensive police force the US has set up in iraq is almost completely shiite, and that the sunnis were once Qaeda allies. um, recipe for disaster?

maybe, maybe not.

one of the creepiest things about the iraq debacle was how quickly iraqi public opinion went from loving america to reviling us. things changed eerily fast. there are many historical examples of how quickly liberators become occupiers, and public opinion can change fast over here in the west. but in the middle east these days, it seems outrage runs high, and memory is short.

despite their having been allies in the past, there probably is much anger against al qaeda among sunnies for al qaeda's undiscerning tactics, which, along with americans, have ended up killing so many iraqis. and so the arming-sunnis-tactic could work. but tomorrow, americans could accidentally shoot a bunch of civilians, mistaking them for armed militants, and the sunnis will forget about the enmity towards qaeda, join forces with them, and attack the US occupiers with their own american guns.

the combination of short fuses and short memory is obviously incredibly dangerous. it's a big part of the problem with the islamic world today. and maybe it's just what happens when your region is in such a massive mess, and has been for so many, many years. you're angry, but it's hard to remember why.

Monday, June 04, 2007

the content sector

i've mused on more than one occasion about where the info on the internet is stored, but that's just the internet. what about the stuff we download onto our individual hard drives? if you think about it, that accounts for a whole lotta content out there in the world.

i'd like to propose a name for a whole new sector of commerce: the content sector.

the aspect of the content sector that may first come to mind is the portable digital media device, for example, the iPod. but the iPod is just part of a much larger sector that i picture in a string, thusly, in 5 parts:

1) content creators
2) content deliverers
3) content storage providers
4) ad creators and deliverers
5) ad trackers

each step in the chain contains its own industry:

content providers are obvious -- media outlets, podcasts, blogs.

content deliverers are companies like Akamai and iTunes, which provide servers or methods for streaming and/or downloading content (NOTE: just the other day Akamai was listed as the top growth tech company in the world by Business 2.0).

content storage providers are Apple and Microsoft, but the external hard drive market is growing quite a bit in companies like LaCie (which sucks), and i expect we'll see some interesting developments in online content storage (right now it's really expensive and there aren't many options).

ad providers and deliverers. doubleclick is the clear big example, but isn't confined to downloadable media [why isn't downloadable a word yet?]. no ads on the internet are confined to downloadable media, as far as i know, which leads me to the last string in the chain:

ad trackers. tracking ads online (not connected to downloadable content) is a pretty simple proposition since page clicks can be counted, but tracking ad views/listens on iPods has proven a bit more challenging and has thwarted the content sector chain all the way up to the content creators -- if you can't prove to potential advertisers how many people are listening, why should they fund your project? this will probably all change soon with companies like Kiptronic and Podbridge, which will track ads on mobile devices. i have NO clue how they'll go about doing that, but they've both gotten a bunch of money to figure it out. it's no surprise that others on the content sector chain are partnering with companies like these (Akamai and Kiptronic have been in bed together for a while, and Conde Nast uses both of them (that may be inside information)). he who tracks ads rules the world.


you may notice that the illustrious Google, YouTube and Wikipedia are missing from this chain. that is because though they may be tangentially related to content, they are not directly in the chain of downloadable media that you can store on your computer. instead, i would place these in the information sector, which i won't outline because i don't think it's as interesting as the content sector. there are also other cottage/related industries that i didn't list, but they aren't directly on the chain the way i see it.

and there you have...
the content sector.