Blog Post

Marc, the Man Who Cried More Open Social

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

In a declaration marked by his characteristic passive-aggressiveness, Marc Canter is predicting big changes for social networking in 2008. Canter’s swaggering aside, the man knows a thing or two about social networks. It was almost 18 months ago when he started talking about how social networks will become a feature of many web apps; it took me a lot longer to figure that one out. He is being similarly astute in his 2008 outlook.

Canter, who runs an often overlooked social software company called Broadband Mechanics, believes social networks will become more open in 2008, and the world at large will come to realize the benefits of interoperability between various nets.

OpenID2, oAuth and APML – are the names of the standards which we’ll be using to build this inter-connected mesh. … So 2008 will see a growth in the ability of end-users to freely move between networks – taking their social graphs with them.

Canter is right on the money. Just as IM networks went from being silos to loose federations, so much social nets. Remember when mobile carriers got their SMS systems to interoperate? The usage exploded and everyone made money — never mind the millions of somewhat happy customers.

Canter also predicts that digital life aggregators will be big in 2008.

..this is a term I use to refer to Portals 2.0. This is what NetVibes is, iGoogle and what AOL and Microsoft are doing. Facebook is redefining DLAs and MySpace has their own notion as well. The best part of DLAs is that they’re not set in stone and that each vendor can add their own twist, feature set and attitude towards them, while still adhering to the principles of the idea.

In his end-of-the-year update, he lets us know that he has raised $400,000 in angel money, has at least eight live social networks using his software (which he also offers as a service) and is currently working with Bell Canada on an experimental social network.

White labeling gives us an opportunity to build a stable, profitable business not beholden upon VC funding which of course will make us a great investment for some large institution or private equity fund.

Did I mention he was passive-aggressive?

15 Responses to “Marc, the Man Who Cried More Open Social”

  1. We at Invivo are in the same business of socializing enterprise applications and creating niche social networking apps. Our first application called Corners ( was released a week ago (by our client).

    “Social networking” of the Orkut, myspace, facebook type will change from a mere list of friends to browse about – A network should offer something for a casual visitor – interesting content, stumbling opportunitities, contextual views of the content and more. We have done it with Corners. We are working on integrating this with one of the clients enterprise app.

    Invivo software

  2. What Om means by me being passive is that I refuse to put pressure on him or Arrington for coverage. I truly believe that its their job to decide when and if myself and my company deserve it. So I often hint and cajole, but never ask for props or cred.

    When I returned from dinner and watching “National Treasure this evening, I found our site down.

    You won’t be finding Ning down – not as long as Marc Andreessen is running that company. So we still have a way to go.

    And as far as being visionary and right – well “Gosh, gee willerkers – lets all use these insights to make some fucking MONEY!”

    As Dave Winer says: “its time to monetize!”

    And finally to Om – you are my hero for no other reason that you’ve lost weight and look GREAT! Now I have something to strive for!

    And I love the term ‘Broadband bandits’ cause I’m a Broadband Mechanic!

  3. Joshua and Dave,

    Having known Marc for a long time, I would say I speak from first hand knowledge.

    On him being right about social networking issues, I don’t think it is an issue for me to be delayed in getting my thinking right on those subjects. My post pretty much states that Marc is the man ahead of everyone on all issues social.


    I am not sure how you get the impression that I am upset about marc being right before I am. :-) I am actually acknowledging that Marc got it right long before we all even started to contemplate the complexities of it all.

  4. Om

    I’ve never seen any evidence that Marc’s aggression is passive. But he’s usually right, and this is an important issue.

    You didn't make the jump in this particular item, but whether people have choices like this is a crucial issue for Facebook.


  5. Jeez, nothing passive-aggressive about this post :-) Canter is one of the small cadre of true prophets in Silicon Valley. FWIW, Om, you shouldn’t be upset that Marc was right before you were on this topic — it’s not your strength. Your strength is telco, broadband, anything tied to PHY layer. There are only one or two people I would consider more authoritative than you on that topic.