Friday, October 24, 2008

Five Web 3.0 start-ups for the Great Implosion Era

Moderator's note: This article is classified as satire, sub-category gallows humor.

Following another deeply unpleasant week in the financial markets, it might seem somewhat counterintutive to be thinking ahead to "the next big thing." Surely the current big thing is more than enough to keep us busy for years to come, and if we can't be bothered with current reality, there's always Perez Hilton (I refuse to link), or even Presidential politics to keep us occupied. However, let's remember that, while the previous downturn resulted in the effective extermination of a lot of household internet names (though occasionally I actually get hits on this blog from an AltaVista search query - who are these people?), it is a fact that Google really came into its own during the previous nuclear winter in the internet industry. So ignore those irritating naybobs who fixate on trivial things like the death of capitalism - as if... People get ready, there's a train a-comin', so join me as I tour the Web 3.0 newbreed, tapping into the Implosion Era zeitgeist.


Ever feel like you're struggling to cut through the crowd of people trying to negotiate opportunistic micro-finance transactions? Differentiate your pavement pitch with Panhandlr, a social Bluetooth applet (for Windows Mobile 5.0 and above, and Symbian) which allows you to discreetly (and silently) ask those within range for a bit of spare change. 


Think Dodgeball meets Tom Joad. Are you an untethered urban nomad? Looking to hook up with friends tonight, but unsure of which park or itinerant labor camp they'll be partying in? Then move on into huvervil, the hot new social GPS/802.11/LTE-compliant widget which puts you on the fast track to the people who used to matter! 


Optimized for Emerging Market 2.0, Hypa-N-Flashun is a Java flake for iPhone which removes the friction from everyday transactions. Let's say you're at a Web 2.0 conference in Zimbabwe. I don't know about you, but I find that dealing with a 1,000,000,000% annual inflation rate is a royal pain in the butt. Say you've bought a beer at the hotel bar and are waiting for change. Every second you wait costs you an extra $3, and the bartender has to keep going back to the till as the total changes - every second. This kind of situation could land you with a serious bar tab - what an outrage. Hypa-N-Flashun's clever software algorithms tap into the HLR of the mobile network you're on, link into APIs at the IMF datacenter, and through its intuitive context-aware UI, provides you with a prudent estimate of your real-time currency risk, so you can "pay it forward." Party on!  


Couchster is a next-gen viral social auction site dedicated to the booming "migratory casual accomodation" market. Need a couch to crash on? Just update your status page and set your price threshold (and let us know if you are travelling with a dog). Looking to monetize spare capacity on your couch during periods of low utilization? Set your price and watch your traffic skyrocket! Wired says "Couchster is sitting on a goldmine in the explosive SaaS (sofa as a service) market."


GloBungl is a persistent virtual world complete with in-world currency and economy. Members who register early in the community's life form elite guilds, which receive preferential rights to create, in an unregulated and unfettered manner, opaque virtual financial structures, which they can then sell on to later arrivals. Those who register shortly after the early guild members are designated "drones," and those who arrive late in the game are affectionately referred to as "TGUs". Those who arrive last are disparagingly referred to as "Reg-U-l8rs" (or, alternatively, as "Betta-l8-dan-nevvas"). GloBungl's unique algorithms steadily increase the level of tension and excitement for late arrivals, while allowing original guild members to discreetly "retire" with nice packages and start other virtual worlds of their own. 


Paul Sweeney said...


Dean Bubley said...

Haha, very amusing - I have to say that last weeks have seen a sudden upswing in mentions of "Web 3.0" rhetoric and hype. Lots of nonsense about semantic technologies & whatnot. I'm deeply skeptical of it all - most of it seems to be solutions looking for problems.

I presume you know that Sofa-as-a-Service concept has already been commoditised by the "free" model?


James Enck said...

Oh dear, I wasn't aware of the Couchsurfing thing, which is interesting, but a little more glamorous than what I envisaged. At least the Couchsurfing crowd appears to be travelling voluntarily...

Anthony said...

I've forwarded to our 'Digital Creative Agency' as a priority project to investigate new ways of reaching the nascent downwardly-mobile millenial consumer segment.

Satire-awareness not thriving in Asia so you may get some consultancy work soon....