Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ecomm Updates/Lee speaks on Skype and telecom

Phil Wolff of Skype Journal posted a thought-provoking interview with Lee Dryburgh, and this as good a time as any to report a few updates around Lee's event, eComm.

First, the interview. It starts from SJ's perspective - Skype - and what its future may hold if it breaks away from eBay. This is a good jumping-off point for Phil to engage Lee about Skype's impact on telecom and where the world goes from here. Lee has some very particular ideas about the future of telcos, and the main takeaway for me was the distinction between attention and intention. Before Skype, telephony was all about attention - getting people's attention - and in Lee's mind, telcos do a very bad job of this. In other words, the phone is not very efficient at getting people's attention when you want it - most calls end up in voice mail, on hold, getting transferred, endless IVR options, etc.

Why? Because the PSTN lacks any form of intelligence - the kind that comes with software-based communications tools like Skype or Google. That's where intention comes along. 2.0-style applications can gather intelligence about end users and make crude deductions about behaviors and preferences. We're still very early stage here, but this is what long tail economics is about, and it's pretty easy to see how even simple Presence features make communications more efficient than conventional telephony.

Lee is basically saying we're at the cusp of "phase two" of telecom's evolution, and it builds on what Skype has started. Android will be a pretty good barometer of Lee's vision, and he foresees a world where some legacy telcos will survive, but many will not. I'm not so sure about that, but there's no doubt we'll be seeing some big time disruption in the next few years, and that of course, is what eComm is all about.

How's that for a clever segue into the rest of this post? Speaking of eComm... there are a couple of timely updates that follow nicely on Lee's ideas. First, as an Advisor to eComm 2009, I've been part of some back and forth about the best URL to use for eComm. Based on what's out there, it was very recently decided to use a new URL going forward: Yes, I know it looks a bit odd, but eComm is a pretty unique type of conference, so why not have an unusual Internet handle? Now you know. So, update your bookmarks - here's the new address for eComm.

As you can see, the logo and event name have been updated, and you can also catch up on how the fall event is coming along. It will be in Amsterdam this Fall, and marks eComm's debut in Europe.

Finally, turning the page back the March eComm in San Jose - believe it or not, but Lee is still posting videos and presentations to the eComm blog. This is definitely worth making noise about, since there were so many good presentations. As recently as this Tuesday, Lee has added content, so if eComm 2009 fell off your radar the day after the event, spend some time on the blog. Whether you missed the event or wanted to revisit some sessions, there's lots there to explore. So, kudos to Lee for investing all this after-the-fact time to keep the content, ideas and spirit of eComm fresh.

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