Pipes: Where’s the Money?

Let me preface this by stating that one of the Yahoo! Pipes core team members, Kevin Cheng, is close personal friend – I have the deepest respect for him and his team’s work, and not just because he managed to survive three years living in the same house as me.

That said, as I look at the Pipes product I just don’t get it. I mean, technologically, I understand the concept – a service to allow you to re-mix RSS content any way you want it, analogous to what UNIX pipes do with stdin and stdout. Neat-o! I can think of many uses for this in my own daily news/data-gathering routine. There’s just one problem…it’s not something for which I’d pay any money. And I don’t see them adopting other measures to monetize this property.

Now, Yahoo! is a big organization and it has many other places to make money. This could easily be positioned as a “thought leadership” exercise designed to grab the hearts and minds of the developers, lock them into Yahoo!’s “platform”, thus presenting the opportunity to monetize the platform and development community at a later time. But it’s that “later” part that bothers me. We seem to be gradually drifting back to the time when users/eyeballs not revenue were the primary indicator of the value of a business. I suppose that they could extract value from the mining the types of pipes people create, but that seems to be a stretch.

I guess I’m just curious if anyone knows how Yahoo! (or similar organizations) evaluates these types of projects from a business perspective?

(I just noticed how may quote marks I used in this post – a worrisome sign, in and of itself.)

D-Wave: Canucks On a Roll

Looks like some hometown entrepreneurs are making waves with their quantum computer, and getting plenty of coverage to boot. Alas, I wasn’t able to score an invitation to the party at the Computer History Museum, but The Register covered it nicely (I especially like the quote “the management’s mix of enthusiasm and frank realism made the pitch all the more believable” – something uniquely Canadian).

Way to go guys!