Optimism 2008: Runner-up and Notable Mentions

Runner-up — Rabble

What i’m excited about for 2008.

That’s a difficult question, i know what i’m excited about right now.
It’s that cloud computing is becoming a reality. More specifically i’m
really impressed and excited by the light weight key pair databases
like CouchDB. Amazon’s SimpleDB is interesting from an acceptance of
the idea perspective, but not very interesting technically. There are
whole classes of applications which are hard using a relational
database which will be easy to build and scale using key / pair style
db’s like couchdb and simpledb. What makes delicious, twitter,
facebook, and flickr hard applications to build on the backend are in
large part due to a poor match of database storage engines. With that
fixed, and it seems like we’re finally getting around to fixing it,
we’ll be able to push forward in building social apps which can scale
while doing interesting things. Something which hard is going to
become easy in 2008.

Let’s see what else? The mobile handset world is going to be
interesting. Apple will release an SDK which, if they do it the right
way, will create a fountain of new applications. Android will come
along and let that creativity of building apps spread to more devices,
but it won’t be as slick. Apple’s one device, one screen size, one
interface, system will be a massive win in terms of building
interesting applications. The iPhone is the Mac of phones, but it
remains to be seen if Android becomes linux (hackers doing cool stuff
but not much end user acceptance), Windows widespread but clunky
because of the hundreds of devices which need to be supported, or OS2
cool, but simply ignored out of existence.

I’m excited about computing and the net reaching out in to
non-computer devices. The Dash Navigator is one example, Chumby and
Kindle are others, there are lots. So far they’ve had a hard time
getting built and released. Hopefully 2008 will be the year that the
net stops being about laptops, desktops, and servers. The iphone is a
bit along that path, but there’s so much more. Perhaps it’s too
optimistic for 2008, building physical things takes much longer lead
time. Eventually the device makers will learn what the desktop
application makers have learned. That having something which is tied
to the net and you can push updates on to will mean you can be much
more agile.

The last thing i’m excited about is maps. This isn’t new, it’s been
going on for a while, but there are neat things happening with maps,
geo, and location based services. I hope there is enough space for
people to build something which is social and useful rather than just
a marketers dream (find the nearest starbucks).

Those are my hopes for 2008 in terms of technology and the tech industry.

Honorable Mentions

Casey Winans

In 2008, Google will usurp the traditional telecom companies by
winning the 700MHz spectrum auction. They will partner with companies
like Sprint and Clearwire to realize their new national wireless
network. A plethora of new companies will be born that purchase
wholesale access to this new network. Vonage will be relegated to the
pages of history as Google’s Grandcentral ambitions are realized.
Millions of people will flock to their service to obtain one phone
number to rule them all. Several phone manufactures will bring
Android-based handsets to market that work seamlessly with
Grandcentral. I’ll be able to use my new mobile device to talk
whenever I want without fear of going over my minutes or over my
monthly allotment of data. I’ll finally be able to use my device to
connect my laptop anywhere I go and download movies from Amazon Unbox
without going bankrupt. My kids will laugh at me and call me a
dinosaur at the mere mention of a voice only network and per minute
usage fees.

Lou Covey

What I’m optimistic about is my 18-year-old son going to college to
study “music technology” as a major. As much as he loves playing the
guitar he realizes that making a living as a musician is a real crap
shoot, but the technology that exists today and that is coming on
line in the next couple of years makes it possible for him to make a
good living doing what he loves: making music. The internet and A/V
recording capabilities make it possible for a whole new generation of
artists to thrive in society without the control of major
entertainment corporations. Regardless of what we may think of the
success of Radiohead’s decision to record and release a new album
outside of the the recording industry, it was an earthshaking
decision. It can be done.

I think the inherent cynicism of the buying public is the best hope
for the future of technology, and that hope will begin to be realized
in 2008. The general public has become much more tech savvy in the
past decade which is rapidly closing the market canyon between early
and late adopters. That means they can look not only beyond the hype
attached to new tech (and I include social media) and co-opt it for
their own needs and purposes. The democratization of technology is
means for real optimism.

Raghu Sankaran

2008 will be the year where it all comes together. Data will truly be freed
and move online and any authorized app will be able to access my data from
anywhere. All the disparate pieces will unite and google will dominate.

My Google GrandCentral number will be my single point of contact. I will
check my GrandCentral messages on my EeePC (that would have hit the $300
price point) with my morning coffee. I expect a tight integration between
GrandCentral number, my gmail, gchat and SMS.

Then, I work from my home office (connected to a fiber line)/starbucks and
use google apps (business) to tie my work/small business
communication/collaboration. My non-media data and some media data will
reside online on google. I expect a robust backup solution from google that
is similar to TimeMachine

I return home from work to watch HDTV connected one set-top box that is
integrated with netflix, joost and maybe iTunes itself. I hope to watch
Indian channels online instead of signing a 1 year contract with Dish.

Mac tablet, iPhone SDK, EeePC, Android, Grand Central, Unified solution for
phone number/email/contact list/calendar/blog/social
networking/professional networking, HDTV content delivered on demand, one
set-top box to rule them all, LCD backlit cheaper HDTVs, high speed fiber
connections, 30 inch LCD monitor for $400 and Arrested Development back on
TV… Of course, I am optimistic about 2008.

Geoff Daily

I’m optimistic more people will be online than ever.

I’m optimistic that the speeds at which people connect online will be
faster and cheaper than they are today.

I’m optimistic in people discovering new ways by which their lives can
be improved through the use of broadband and broadband applications.

I’m optimistic that new uses of broadband will continue to spring up
and existing applications will continue to be refined.

I’m optimistic the Internet will take great strides from being a
nice-to-have to a must-have in improving the quality of our day-to-day

I’m optimistic that we will finally begin to have a constructive
dialogue at federal, state, and local levels about the need for more
broadband, how to get it, how to encourage its use, and how to
regulate it without hindering it.

I’m optimistic in my belief that 2008 will be the year that the value
of fiber and the big broadband capacity it delivers to the home will
finally begin to differentiate itself over copper access technologies.
And I’m optimistic that we’ll have more entities deploying fiber than

I’m optimistic applications developers and hardware manufacturers will
begin to see the market potential to be found in the millions of
people not on the cutting edge of technology and, in turn, will begin
developing more ways for non-technical users to interface with and
benefit from the Internet.

I’m optimistic about the opportunities that exist when applications
developers, service providers, and network operators work together
rather than fight against each other, and that this will be the year
we realize what’s possible through the development and deployment of
in-network applications.

And I’m optimistic that by this time next year everyone will have a
fuller understanding of the scope that the Internet revolution entails
and in the opportunities broadband presents to re-imagine nearly every
facet of society as we strive more boldly into the 21st century.

Adam H. Birnbaum

I’m optimistic the term ‘social media’ will cease being the focal
point of business ideas. Social relationships have been around before
humans existed; A few years before MySpace became popular. It’s an
exciting time in technology where the analysis of networks are
measureable but it’s completely overboard and showing up everywhere.

It’s impossible to read an article/review of a new business
idea/website without reading about its social features. Social
Advertising/Bookmarking/Shopping/Networking, Wikis, Blogs, Presence,
Virtual Worlds, Aggregation, Photo/Video sharing, Live/Pod Cast, User
Generated Content and the list continues. Please, make it stop…I feel
like this can be a web 2.0 version of Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start
the Fire’.

I’m all about seeing these tools used where it makes sense but it’s
gone berserk. 2007 was another year where companies were trying to
‘be’ Enterprise 2.0 ready and websites were trying to ‘be’ Web 2.0
enabled. Being in the middle of it, I really feel that the buzz needs
to fizzle and it can’t happen fast enough. It’s spreading to places
that it doesn’t belong and I really hope the insanity fades.

I’m looking forward to 2008 where business ideas are ideas. Not
something that takes an old idea, adds a community slant to it and
re-brands it as new. Communities exist with or without tools to ‘make
connections’. While I still can’t order pizza to my house via sms,
I’m able to have a website decide what kind of pizza I want, send a
twit so everyone in the world knows what I’m ordering, get instant
feedback to see if the toppings are what the ‘crowd’ agrees with and
record a video of the delivery person at my door. The point is, I’d
much rather have the service than all the social benefits. Granted
this example is pretty dumb…but as the ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ tells us…so
are individuals.

I’m sure on January 1, I’ll read an article that includes something
I’ve decried above. It’s certainly wishful thinking that I won’t have
to deal with this for another year of insanity but I’m positive there
are others that feel this way. Let’s unite! It can be a web 2.0
website that has a community to discuss New Year’s resolutions. Oh
wait…that exists.

I wish everyone a happy socially enabled New Year.

Derek O.

I am excited to see how technology companies will integrate the
internet and my television in 2008. I feel like companies tested the
waters in 2007 with the Apple TV, Vudu and other expensive lackluster
set-top boxes, as well as internet video services like Hulu, legal
Bittorrent, iTunes movies, and other horrible DRM encrusted,
expensive, or ad-supported content. In 2008 I’m ready to see some real
innovation. Until internet services let me rent HD video content
online at a competitive price, then they can’t compete with Netflix or
my local video store. One reason why there has yet to be a good video
service is bandwidth. But in 2008, homes should start getting much
faster more robust bandwidth (if Om’s predictions are right). I’m
tired of waiting Verizion’s FIOS to spread to my town. Hopefully it
will be here in 2008. To me, IPTV seems like it has as much potential
as the internet has. In 2008, I’m ready to see TV 2.0. This industry
has yet to have a defining device or service that makes people realize
“Hey, this is the future of the internet and TV.” This is what the
iPod did for MP3 players. I’m excited to see if Apple can do the same
thing in 2008 or if it will be another company. I’m rooting for Apple;
I think that the Apple TV could be revolutionary with a makeover. In
2008 I am optimistic and excited to see traditionally internet content
on my TV, and traditionally TV content on my computer.