Online Calendars – Feature or Business?

I read an interesting article the other day in The Wall Street Journal titled, “Would-Be Web Moguls Learn to Battle Spam, Beat What Rivals Offer”.  [note: access is no longer open or I’d add a link.  Thanks to Jerry King for sending it my way…].  It was like an American Idol of Web 2.0 Business plans with VC’s as judges/panellists.  One of the criteria used by the VCs judges/panellists was, “Is this thing a feature or is it a business?”  This has always been a VC product assessment criteria.

Yesterday, Michael Arrington leaked screenshots of Google Online Calender.  Now, I could be wrong, but I see calendars as a feature, not a business.  I think Google gets this.  They built Gmail first and they plan to integrate the calendar.  On the other hand, I’m not sure 30boxes gets it, nor do the VCs (who I gather – though this is unconfirmed – have put millions into that business).   I hope they have some huge ideas planned, things I can’t quite see (and I have not thought about it too much) and prove me wrong.  That said, I see a calendar as something that works within context of, or in conjunction with, other parts of my life.  For example, in MS Outlook the key app for me the email aspect.  The calendar is a bonus.  I’ve grown to like it a lot, but it’s not VITAL.  I could use a pad and paper for my calendar and be just fine.

Long story short, calendars are a feature to me.  Pooling Calendar events (i.e. event data like Ticketmaster concerts), now that’s a business.

Just my 2 cents.

Blog Exercise

[Note: fixed some typos on March the 7th]

I’ve been slipping with my blogging somewhat over the past few weeks.  We’ve been working on the “ship” which is 2ndSite so to speak, and while blogging is vital in my books, I have been having a helleuva time making time to blog.

One reason is, all the change we are ramping up for at 2ndSite.  Once I have that set right, my routine will return to normal (normal..?) and I’ll get back to my blog.  But the other reason is – and I have noticed this phenomenon before – I have a post of significance percolating in my head. 

What does that mean?  It means I have something brewing that I think the blogosphere needs to hear.  I find that when I feel this way my day to day posting drops off.  The post of significance (if I may be so bold!) centres around the intersection of Web 2.0 and traditional business. 

I don’t buy into businesses without business models.  I don’t believe in $0 in marketing budget, but I do believe in many of the emerging principles of how business is being conducted online today because it distills what we have learned over the past 10 years.  Anyway, I’ve been thinking about these things, and wrestling with my conflicted sensibilities with regards to how to run a web based business today.  What will work and how much stock to put in new ideas versus the tried and true.

At this time, in this space, we are in the eye of the hurricane.  The winds are going to be picking up soon – so will my blogging.  Thanks for reading and please stay tuned.

Conference Update: Date and Location Leaked

As I mentioned in my last post, Mathew Ingram, Rob Hydnman, Mark Evans and myself are putting together a conference this May.  We have hammered down the dates and location.

The event will be held May 8-9, 2006 at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business.  I cannot tell you how overwhelming the interest has been in the event and we are currently sorting out how to handle all the offers to speak/volunteer/participate etc.  It’s a nice place to be…

We are going to be releasing the event website on or around the 13th of March.  It will include details – including the release of our killer keynotes – as well as a schedule of sorts which outlines the content.  You’ll also be able to register online from the site.

Since the web business is in my hands, I’m going to split now and get down to work 😉  But please check back around the 13th for the URL – I’ll post it here.