Sramana Mitra: Technologically, that is a very different implementation. Is that something you do as well? It is more about crawling the web and finding out who is talking about a particular stock as opposed to more of a real-time communication platform?
Khris Loux: In a paper web, you crawl it and index it all on Google. In a real-time web, you consume streams of information. Those streams are often referred to as fire hoses. We will scan the Twitter fire hose, the Facebook fire hose, and the RSS feed of CNN or the Financial Times, for example. In a paper web, you go out to the web; in a real-time web, the web comes to you. It is a subtle but an amazingly powerful difference. You subscribe to things. An example might be Twitter. As a human being, I subscribe to or follow you, Lady Gaga, and Barack Obama, for example. I don’t need to go to Barack Obama’s Twitter page. His tweets come to me merely by my subscribing to or describing a preference for something.
SM: You are saying that the same basic architectural change you are pointing to is what you are leveraging in both real-time conversations and this kind of subscription-based content.
KL: That is correct. Often I refer to Twitter as micro blogging. It is indeed a micro subscription. I am subscribing to an individual to get small chunks of information. When I friend someone on Facebook, my news feed is an amalgamation of micro updates: “It is that person’s birthday. That person is watching a YouTube video. This person said good morning.” It is consumed in a stream – real-time and flowing. In a paper-based web, the assumption is I read everything, like an email. I have to read the whole thing, and I don’t miss anything. You might hear the phrase “inbox here.” How can I deal with all my emails and read them all? In a stream economy, that assumption is lost. I don’t ever consider drinking the whole river. I see what I see when I see it. If it is important, it will come through the stream again and again and again – the term is retreat – or another person will like it and it will show up on my Facebook stream. When another person likes it, it will show up again. Instead of me finding things that are important, if things are important they will find me.
SM: Who is buying your product? NBC is probably buying your product for their site. Is that correct? I understand what trend you are discussing and the use model you are propagating. From your software point of view, who is buying the software and where is it deployed?
KL: Echo is a cloud-based service. We run the infrastructure. It is exposed on a website – a real-time forum, a real-time photo gallery, or real-time Q&As. The experience exists on a webpage, espn.com, for example. So, the purchaser is a business. Echo is a B2B offering. But the experience is B2C. The business is ESPN, but the consumer is an individual.