Thoughts about and around Business

October 15, 2008

Hi all

I have succumbed to the pressure of the Web 2.0 buzz around me and started a blog. I do hope that you will follow me through my (sometimes fragmented) thoughts.

I attended the Future of Web Applications conference last week and gained a few thoughts from there.

The talk that I was most excited about was by Mark Zuckerberg who amongst other things quoted Steve Jobs who said ‘You have to really love what you do because otherwise it would be irrational to spend so much time on it.’ An interesting thought – one to ponder on. He also said that he didn’t start the company to sell it – he started it because it was his passion. I have read before that you need to take your eye off the money goal and focus on the product or service you are selling, and the money will come thereafter. True. He has also managed to keep the company (Facebook) relatively small with only 800 employees – his advice is to keep your company as small as you can and leverage off what you have.

So what does the future hold in terms of web apps – what I found most interesting and profound is that soon software will not exist – we will be running all our applications over the web – this then points towards the non-dependence on your own PC but the ability to be able to run your applications and desktop from wherever you are and on whatever platform you wish – the world is becoming a smaller place and the idea of conventional 9 to 5 office jobs will soon be a thing of the past. The future points towards virtual workplaces, coworking communities and freelancing. An interesting article I read the other day said that urban planners foresee a reduction of people travelling to work in the future – they are planning cities with the view to having open zones where people can meet and do business rather than operate from an office in the conventional way – so business of the future will be built on and around flexible entrepreneurs with low overheads providing services to and around each other. The collapse of the behemoths of business in recent times and the nationalisation of others has reduced the confidence in big business people once had.

Increase your web presence – this is advice I would give everyone. Whenever you need to find out about someone these days you Google them. If no search results end up on Google – you don’t exist – sad but true. I call it search engine personal marketing – because in this day and age this is what we need to do in order to build our personal brand (more about that in another blog) Some tips:

1. Join LinkedIn.com – networking site where you network – Duh! – If you exist here, whenever someone googles you, the first result will be your linked in profile – don’t worry about privacy issues. To see your linkedin profile the searcher will have to first join LinkedIn and second add you as a contact to which you will have to confirm before they see your profile. I see Facebook has also started doing this and you appear in a Facebook result when a search is done on you.

2. Write a blog

3. Join forums and comment on things that interest you – eg. car forums, restaurant reviews – what we fail to understand sometimes is that web content is for the most part created by us – the individual user.

Now for those of you not using twitter.com – please start using it – At the outset you may think it is nothing more than a glorified Facebook status update service. If used correctly and if you follow the right people you have an instant and constant user populated news feed geared and focused towards what you are interested in – you sometimes find you don’t need to visit a news website daily as all your news and events are fed through to you by the people whose opinion you value the most – the people you follow. Check it out and follow me on twitter.com/muhammad_seedat

Some thoughts I found valuable from a talk given by Julie Meyer of a leading London VC firm, Ariadne Capital: ‘Entrepreneurs are always in the eye of the storm, thinking differently and compelled to make stuff happen. ‘As I said above: ‘the current market crisis removes confidence in the government and banks and shifts the real power to individuals. In these times we need to align our business models to what is happening around us’ (a simple concept but one we forget to follow). ‘The internet shifts power to the individual. There is a quiet revolution underway led by the world’s most rapidly developing economies. At this point in time we need to go back in time in order to look forward.’

If you have found this blog interesting, please share it with others and even comment on the posts.

A good quote someone shared with me recently by John Richardson: ‘There are 3 types of people – those who let it happen, those who make it happen and those who ask ‘What happened?’ – We need to assess which or who of these we want to be.

In these times we need to be dreamers living with intention.

I have a few interesting things going on at the moment and hope to share these with you shortly.

Muhammad