Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Flow

It’s been quite a while since I actively posted on this (or any) blog, but with the upcoming launch of my new start-up, the Flow, I figured it was time to get out there again.  Flow-specific posts will also be visible at Flow.net, but on this blog I’ll also write more generally about what I see happening from an industry perspective.

This blog (vintage 2006) was originally entitled “Alterman In Context” because it expressed my view of the internet world that providing ever more compelling context to content (and other data) is the primary job of technology innovation in this space. Twitter and Facebook providing social context to content are two obvious examples of this principle at work.

Another example comes from my previous start-up, KickApps.  KickApps is all about providing the tools of social media (profiles, UGC content, blogging) within the context of specific websites.  In other words, inviting users to share their side of the conversation within a more narrowly defined context (i.e. not YouTube or Facebook) where like-minded people can more easily discover their very specific content. Making valuable content more discoverable is the reason “context” is so important.

One of my early posts on this blog (probably ill-formatted from its import from Typepad), introduced an idea called Open Portals.  It was my suggestion to the then vital portals (e.g. AOL and Yahoo) that their paths to broader success (or survival, as it turns out) was reaching out to the entire web with an offering of both content and social functionality.  In short, my suggestion was all about providing value more contextually.  Any website could draw on an Open Portal for social functionality, media management, editorial content, relevant user generated content—analogous to the way local television stations draw on their network affiliations for content.  That was 2006, long before Facebook leapfrogged those sleeping giants with an Open Portal approach of their own…unfortunately they’re still snoozing.  But I digress…

My new start-up, The Flow, is all about providing an entirely new paradigm for context creation and content discovery. First, we take real-time data sharing very seriously! App developers, our primary purpose in life is to give you the tools to access the real-time data your customers really want.  Consumers, if you often find it frustrating finding exactly what you’re looking for using traditional search or perusing your Twitter feed, check us out.  Finally, media companies, we intend to provide you a far more efficient way to deliver your editorial content to highly target audiences.  It’s all about context!

If you’re interested in learning more, Flow.net lists articles and blogs from other writers that we find relevant to the conversation.  We’re also inviting app developers an early look at our APIs.  What exactly is the Flow?  Details to follow in the coming weeks.