Apps – Not so Fast

The internets are abuzz with the reverb from the presentation by Forrester's George Colony at Le Web, with his three thunderstorms proclamation, one of which is that the apps universe has a lot more momentum than the network dependent internet/cloud model, primarily because processing and storage capacity growth outpaces network growth.

I agree with the premise, but really find the "internet's dead, long live the app" hype a bit exaggerated.  The app's are not a new phenomenon. In fact, the PC paradigm was based on the app model: executable code processing real time locally.  The apps of today are getting all the attention mainly thanks to Apple's phenomenal innovations on mobile computing interfaces: namely the iPhone and the iPad.  Apple's led the way to take the advantage of i/o and design innovations, and other tech co's are just following suit.  

And what makes the apps more than just updated desktop applications, is the seamless way they interact with the cloud and the data on other devices and the cloud.  In fact, I think the current app paradigm, which keeps data in tubes (i.e. not easily accessible like HTLM), has an achilles heel.

What has made the web the most powerful computing advent to date is its openness and neutrality.  The apps either have to find a way to make themselves permeable, or go the way of the dodo.  The apps have unfortunately broken the internet, while bringing us fantastic user experience.  Now disrupters need to find ways to open them up.  Whether Apple likes it or not.

Going back to Colony's death of internet meme, I found it to be a bit short-sighted, with smart analysis of a very short period of trends and data. I plan to write a bit more about his two other points soon:  social saturation and enterprise.

By the way, there are quite a few people who thing that HTML5 will bridge the app usability and internet network effects.  I have not got my arms around HTML5 enough to opine on this, but quite excited to see the innovations on that front.

For those interested, there's a good debate in the comments on Fred Wilson's A VC.

UPDATE: I just got sent a link to a good post by Dave Winer on the same topic.

Here's Colony's presentation from Le Web:


Facebook and the Turkish Developer Community


As of today, there are 11,818,880 users on Facebook who live in Turkey and are over the age of 18.  This figure is according to the self-service ad module on Facebook.  I certainly concede there are many duplicate accounts in this figure, but I think it would be safe to assume that there are over 8m unique Turkish users of Facebook.  In fact, comScore estimates 5.5m average daily visitors for the month of August 2009.

This is enormous traffic.  To put this in perspective, MSN Turkey estimated the Turkish internet user population at 12-14m in August 2006.  As far as the Turkish market is concerned, Facebook is now nearly as big as the entire internet was just three years ago.

As an venture capital investor focused on the Turkish market, this makes me extremely excited.  It should surprise no one that almost everyday, I receive a business plan for a Facebook app-driven venture that plans to capitalize on the strong engagement Facebook enjoys in Turkey.

Or should it?

The previous paragraph is a lie.  I am amazed at the way Turkish internet developers are ignoring this enormous potential.  When you look at the most popular apps on Facebook, there is not a single Turkish app.  The same is true for app developers.

Two weeks ago, a Turkish app named Senin İçin jumped to the top of fastest growing apps list, with an MAU of 681K.  This week, they are nowhere to be seen, having only grown to 815K.  Very notable, though, is the presence of another app, also named Senin İçin! (BTW; I thought FB would filter out apps with the same/similar names.)

I think Facebook represents a phenomenal opportunity for Turkish developers.  Facebook's growth in Turkey has proven that viral growth works here, with the right incentives and hooks.  Zynga is showing everyone that you can attain revenues thru FB apps.  I would bet that at least 5% of Zynga's reported $100m+ revenues are coming from Turkey.  How many Turkish internet companies can boast of similar revenue traction?

I will be keenly watching to see if the Turkish developer community wakes up to this opportunity.

Image credit:  Taylanbey