The Next Big Thing is…

A toolbox, from Biltema)
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“What’s the next big thing?”

I get this question a lot. I mean seriously a lot. I usually talk about some new shiny object on the verge of being discovered by the main stream.

Sometimes I’m right: Blogging, Twitter FriendFeed (yet to be realized)
Sometimes I’m wrong: BrightKite (although it’s not too late)

On Monday I got to catch up with Jeremiah Owyang at the Bellevue Tweetup. Since he was on business he had fellow Forrester analyst Ted Schadler with him. Ted asked me, “what’s the next big thing?” I was stumped.

It’s rare to catch me without some sort of answer but I didn’t have one. First I mumbled something about that there doesn’t have to be a next thing (which was crap and I knew it). After some prodding from Ted and Jeremiah I said FriendFeed which is my usual answer right now. But that answer doesn’t feel right. It’s true, but there’s something else out there and it’s not a “thing”.

Web 2.0 (which I define as the new tool set and capabilities behind the Social Web) has allowed for an exponential growth in the the way we use the Web as well as the tools (aka bright shiny objects) that we’ve been *playing* with for the last 5+ years.

I say ‘playing with’ because that’s all we’ve really been doing. We’ve all done some amazing things and brought some incredible value to business but I think we’ve only scratched the surface.

I think we’ve been moving so fast that we haven’t spent the time to maximize the value in the tools we already have.

So Ted, I’d like another chance to answer your question. What’s the next big thing?

While there will be new tools developed, I think most of them will be iterative advances on what we already have, I think the next big thing is going back and mining the value out of our existing tools.

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  • Ted Schadler
    Good answer, Tac. I agree completely with you. If I hear another "the next big thing is Web 3.0" I may cry in my beer. But getting busines value out of the existing exploding toolkits -- Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. -- means we need tools to channel, mine, harness, refine, and monetize the weatth of insight, connections, and sentiment buried in those applications.

    FriendFeed, sounds good to me.

  • Thanks Ted. Just wish it wouldn't have taken me 3 days to come up with that answer :)
  • Tac - I agree... and specifically: data and analytics... there is so much data out there now and growing exponentially - its time to start bringing it together and making sense/better use of it.
  • Kevin, Heck yes. Analytics, data mining, variable and predictive data analysis are all going to be huge in the coming years.
  • oliverfritsch
    Its easy Folks!
    Tim Berners Lee, the inventor of the www says its the semantic web.
    But we all now that thats bull....

    So, what is it?
    Given that we all cant eat the web or sleep in it, the answer is Agriculture.
    Just check the new issue of my Bible
    We are all going back to the farm!

    Oliver Fritsch
  • Oliver as usual you never cease to amaze with the completely randomness that only your German wired brain can bring. Your comment somehow explains all those German art movies my friend made me watch in college. You know there's some logic in there somewhere your just not sure what it is :)
  • oliverfritsch
    LOL Tac, thanks for the Kudos, but I just put 2 and 1 together: Michelle Obama talks about getting some chickens, my German Bloggerfriend (who got 920 followers in two weeks -quite a feat for Germans) just bought a piece of land to raise sheep in the Black Forest + the Article in this months Monocle did that to me.
    Even gearheads like us need to look outside our techbox from time to time to see whats REALLY happening in the world... Swineflu anyone?
    BTW: How is your book coming along?
  • oliverfritsch
    This just in from Seth Godin this morning:
    There IS a farming pattern there...and I, again, stay ahead of the trend: Lesson: Stick with the German Art Movies - and their seemingly random insights

    [You're getting this note because you subscribed to Seth Godin's blog.]
    How big is your farm?
    If you own a lot of acres but just have a few bags of seed, you might be tempted to spread out what you've got and cover as much territory as you can. Farmers tell me that this is wasteful and time consuming. You end up with less yield and more work.
    Marketers face the same dilemma.
    The number of media channels available to you keeps growing. The number of places you can spend time and money is almost endless. Yet your budget isn't. Your time certainly isn't.
    Some people would have you spend a little time on each social network, run ads in ten or fifteen media, focus on one hundred major markets and spend time on PR and publicity in every publication willing to listen to you.
    Or you could pick one channel and win.
    What are the chances that people are eager to join the tribe of the fiftieth most popular brand in a given market? Or that they will pay attention to someone who shows up now and then but is in a huge hurry to get to the next place?
    Yield is what matters, and yield comes from getting through the Dip. You punch through the clutter when you allocate more resources and more dedication than everyone else (in that market). Ignore the other markets and the other channels. They're dead to you anyway.
  • Thanks for the heads-up on Friendfeed. I'd heard about it, but it was sort of on my ignore for now list. Sounds pretty cool. And as for new tools to take better advantage of what we have, I say bring them on.
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