Teare’s theorem: The first law of RSS (updated)

Umair has a post about why the “Rise of the Edge“? is something highly disruptive to orthodox Internet companies. In “Umair Rocks”? Fred Wilson says he wants to understand better what Umair means here, and plans to spend the time doing so.

For me the key is to comprehend that “the edge”? is a concept that only makes sense in a networked world. In a network “the edge”? is “the people”?. And “the edge”? plays the role of both subject (consumers) and object (creators).Blogs are a great example of the edge. Multi-player gaming is another example. Of course the edge is not yet highly diversified. But with the emergence of AJAX and Tagging the diversity of edge content is set to explode. Inputs from the edge to the center and Outputs from the center to the edge (old fashioned IO where the center plays the role of a hub, not a destination) become more important than web 1.0 aggregators that primarily serve as silos of content.

The growing role of the edge – as the originating point of content and the end point of its consumption – forces the redefinition of the the role and meaning of the center of the network. Content hosting is now a peripheral function (at best a means of having an index). Content discovery and distribution takes over as the primary role of the center.

Googlebase isn’t yet getting this (it is so far based on too centralized a publishing model). Craigslist, with it’s centralized publishing model, and evidenced by its recent outlawing of Oodle from taking it’s content, also isn’t getting it.

Yahoo – which has made some smart acquisitions – also begins to look out of date in this world. It seems to have no concept of enabling the edge; it is a network center seeing the edge as merely a source of user generated (read cheap) content and of potential subscribers to it’s centralized system. Opeining it’s API’s is a move in the right direction, but then the limits need to be removed. Even Flickr is centralized from a publishing point of view, albeit with good feed api’s for that centralized content. How much better would it be if you could publish photos and albums to your own blog and have Flickr acquire them, organize them and distribute them.

In a few weeks Mike and I will launch edgeio (note: for geeks it’s meaning is clear – edge content consumed (The I) and then re-disributed (the O). For my mom it’s just a cool word, spoken with an Italian accent, edge^ee oh). edgeio may well help clarify the possibilities of the new edge based network we all now use and inhabit. At least that is one of its goals.
edgeio-base :-)

edgeio is founded on a law we believe in. This is the first articulation of the law and we may be able to improve on it. But for now (until Dave; Mike; Scoble; Jeremy or others gives feedback :-) )

…the first law of RSS is:

“The value of edge published data (say a post) is directly proportional to the velocity of it’s consumption and re-production, that is, the number of input and output operations it goes through each day”?

RSS has enabled data to be freed from the confines of it’s initial point of publishing and to re-appear, through an RSS or ATOM feed at another point in the network. This takes place in a p2p (I read your feed) and an edge to center (I republish your post) and then a center to edge (others read my version of your post and so discover you) manner. As a post is consumed and republished, it, and the links to the original that are generated, create growing awareness, attention and probably traffic value which may or may not have a $ value.

edgeio has been built as an enabler of a more diverisified edge, with a role as a hub in accelerating the velocity of data as it travels around the network. We can’t wait to show it. We are now on the final UI usability tests for a beta. Shouldn’t be too long.


Bubblegeneration Strategy Lab
Umair Rocks

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Keith Teare

Keith Teare is a Silicon Valley based, UK born, entrepreneur. He was involved at the founding of Accelerated Digital Ventures, Archimedes.Studio, RealNames and EasyNet. He was also founding shareholder in TechCrunch. He is US Managing Partner at ADV.