Saturday, December 11, 2010


Image representing Mark Suster as depicted in ...Image by GRP Partners via CrunchBaseA week ago, while admiring his great three pieces at TechCrunch on social, I disagreed with Mark Suster's conclusion. He said the next decade belonged to Facebook. I said not, it belonged to fragmentation. Companies that might not even be one tenth the size of Facebook together might go on to dominate. 10 years, now that's a long time.

Mark Suster: The Social Network: Facebook To Fragmentation

But now, at this own blog, Mark Suster has come up with a piece that is an amazing statement on the immediate future.

Data is the Next Major Layer of the Cloud & A Major Victory for Startups
there’s either a huge cost for us to license a proprietary database or a huge time lag for us to build one on our own ..... Let’s say you wanted to launch Yelp today. You’d need to start with a list of all of the restaurants, hotels and other businesses in the country (not to mention internationally). FourSquare faced the same issue when it launched. Remember the early days when we as trailblazing users had to enter in a bunch of restaurants ourselves? ........ Most great application businesses are built on data or create data. And historically this data has been very expensive to buy or create in the same way that servers and storage once was. ..... the world of “data as a service” where businesses can consume data in the same way that they now consume Amazon’s storage services or processing ...... Factual was created in 2007 by Gil Elbaz, the founder of Applied Semantics. In case you don’t know Applied Semantics it’s Google AdSense. Google bought Gil’s company in 2003 (pre IPO) for $100+ million and this business now represents about 30% of all of Googles revenue. ...... They have built algorithms that automatically crawl the web for the world’s best structured data and use heuristic techniques to ensure the quality of the data. They have built tools to store the data but also to allow 3rd-party developers to rapidly consume or even write data to their tables. .... It will take time for companies to understand that much (not all) of the world’s data is a commodity in the same way it took years for us to migrate to the cloud. But when they all do – imagine the importance of Cloud Data. ..... the potential to massively speed up innovation and make it cheaper. ..... Imagine if you could have developers building financial services apps that created more transparency of trades. ..... I predict that data over time will become the next major layer of the Internet supporting both consumer and business applications.
When Suster talks of data as commodity, that is futuristic. Larry Ellison predicted about a decade ago that ultimately all software will have become commodity. You will think of software like you think of electricity today. It is just there. That future is not here yet.

But already being able to provide great offline services that are tied into online experiences are a great business model, I think. Zappos does some of that. The focus there has shifted to customer service.

To be able to think of the DataCloud as a commodity is a huge game changer.
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