Archive for web2.0

A Company to Watch: Prosper Could Start a New War on Banking Industry

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 16, 2010 by atmaweapon42

I have written quite a bit on the potential of social networking and Web 2.0 technology to shake up the banking industry. Now it looks like Prosper, a peer to peer lending company, has jumped a few regulatory hurdles and secured another round of capital.

As usual, here is the venerable Techcrunch article, reporting the story with emotionless journalistic gusto.

This is exactly the kind of technological/financial development I have been hoping for, and Prosper is only one member of a growing group of peer to peer lending networks.

It may not seem like much now, and the business model for a community like this will easily be intimidated by the recent collapse of Ning.

The secured investment is encouraging to be sure, but for these networks to become a real threat to the established banking titans it will require the efforts of bloggers and promoters, willing to put their time and money behind a radical new financial model.

I am planning to create a list of innovative financial start ups with the potential to create more real capitalism and competition in a rotten banking market. Check in as I expand and grow this list. I will watch Prosper, and the other young companies closely.

What do these companies need to do in order to become financially solvent? How can they change our current financial world?

Of course, here is the link to Prosper.


In Defense of Ning

Posted in finance, technology with tags , , on April 15, 2010 by atmaweapon42

Techcrunch released an article today showcasing the next steps for Ning as a company. Needlessto say, the news is bad. Ning is laying off employees and moving to a pay model, shutting down its free services. For more here is the article by Jason Kincaid.

Ning has become an amazing resource for me as an educator. The ability to create a social network designed around my composition class has spoiled me quite a bit. I honestly think I would pay to use the service; it is that convenient.

All things considered though, Ning as a company would grow in remarkable ways if it stayed free and marketed itself more as an educational tool. Hell it should take a page from the Google play book and approach educational institutions directly and market itself from there. Many critics have attacked Ning’s business model based on its free nature, but I will happily say that the site has been a dream for me and my fellow instructors at Georgia Southern.

Mr. Rosenthal, you do not have to take this drastic a step because a while untapped market lays at your finger tips. You just haven’t noticed it. I will try to secure grant money to continue using your site, but if you move behind a pay wall, I will be much more inclined to try and make Google groups and Orkut supplement your past services. I really don’t want to blow up my gmail inbox like that, but I don’t make enough money to justify the subscription.

My university does, and has already paid Google handsomely for customized apps. Hell, if you don’t jump on this, Google will probably just buy your company and make the money you were too stupid to earn yourself.

Your company is quite good, but this move will potentially kill everything you have worked for. It is no skin off of my back either, cause someone like Google will just come along and offer something similar (if not better). Do the smart thing and explore the market you are most suited for.

Web 2.0 Attack on Education: Part 2

Posted in finance, technology with tags , on March 11, 2010 by atmaweapon42

Though this may seem insignificant, it looks to me like web2.0 business just cracked off a warning shot to one of the key responsibilities of many college instructors. Some may look at the arrival of MyEdu as a blessing, taking the burden of advisement from their shoulders and placing it in the hands of an independent agency, aggregating college planning across all levels. This will be a more extensive form of college advisement, beginning with the preliminary search for a school and ending with course planning itself.

Read the entire article for your self at Techcrunch, its a brisk read.

What is SO impressive about this is just how sneaky it is. If it works, this service could be embraced by colleges and universities as a way to cut back on some of the more monotonous tasks filled by higher level faculty. I bet few will actually stop and think about the implications here. Everyday, education becomes more of a business, as administrators work language into department policy detailing “customer service.” This startup will easily add fuel to that fire, allowing customization and (seemingly) automated responses to complex degree path questions.

We are being usurped guys. And something tells me this service could do a better job than any of us ever could, considering how weighed down we are with expanding class loads.

Wake up, we are under attack, and  I don’t think we can win.