The Long Tail of Web Applications
By dhushon on Jul 22, 2006
Listening to National Public Radio (NPR) the other night, I was intrigued by an author, Chris Anderson who coined the term “the long tail” of sales in his book: The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. Chris used an arbitrary online music (by the song) retailer, and quoted something like 95% of the inventory of the eTailer has sold at least one copy, and something like 85% of the revenue is from the things that represent the bottom 85% of the inventory... this means that the OLD 80:20 rule (80% of revenue addressed by the to 20% of products) may now be proven wrong by the channel dis-intermediation offered by the Internet.
Translating this into something that I'm passionate about, Utility Computing, may mean that the revenue that utility providers should be chasing might not come from the “block buster hits” = the applications that people fund having built today, but rather from the 80% of applications not yet invented because the communities that they would benefit are so small that today's assembly techniques prevent their development (from a revenue/margin justified business position). Today, because of Utility Computing providers (pay-as-you-drink), productivity enhancing languages like Ruby, and dynamic application assembly techniques (“mashup” seems to be the word de vogue), perhaps UC should be banking on some of the enabling technologies to broaden the field of available applications... something unique for everyone vs. one size fits all.