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BEN WAGAR

Director of Monetization @ Babelverse.

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BEN WAGAR

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Why I ask Quora instead of Google

I saw a question on Quroa about why some people ask questions of Quora rather than “Googling”.  This struck me because merely by asking the question, you see the reason you use it.  That is to start an engaging intellectual discussion with people you most-like do not know, rather than reading an article from a single persons opinion / perspective.  
I agrees that the conversational tone and the research-like depth, but I was surprised that no one seemed to have mentioned the main reason I use Quora.  Relationships.  When I ask questions on Quora, I am hoping to be able to connect with a thought leader in an area where I lack expertise. When I ask a question I get an answer, but ideally I can find someone who can become a confidant or a sort of adviser for future questions in that area.  Whether this engagement occurs on or off Quora, you can stillask questions to the entire Quora community, but also reach out to an individual whose insight you already respect.
Am I crazy, or do other people use it this way as well?

The Race to Connect - WiFi v 4G

The announcement of China Unicom, China Mobile and the red headed stepchild of Chinese telcos beginning to launch 4G networks throughout China brought to mind the age old question. Which is better … WiFi or 3G/4G networks?

Being an American, I am tied to telco’s for everything calling and data. Born during the dominance of of Bells landlines and growing up in the advent of the mobile age, they are programmed into my thinking. Asian and even European and Latin American regions, however, while slightly behind are rapidly catching up to the dynamic technology that drives American connectivity.

What has reared its head in America and even more prevalent in Europe is the WiFi network. These seemingly open and mobile (to a degree) networks can be accessed much more easily by the common man with little interference from telcos. But why hasn’t the sharing economy and the massive level of control and potential monetary savings caused Wi-Fi to become king?  Why haven’t companies like Fon, Boingo, Karma and Clear taken over our connectivity and made telcos obsolete?

As we can see from Clears purchase by Sprint and Fon’s defining partnership with BT … telcos are hedging their position in the market and making moves to establish their presence. This unfortunately hinders the truly open sharing economy potential of WiFi, but there still is potential. Sadly, we may never reap the benefits of a democratized and unregulated WiFi network. 

It remains to be seen whether Europe networks see the same fate, but VoIP and messaging takes potential revenue away from telcos and as telcos gouge for data charges … WiFi is the logical and scalable answer.  The questions are … how rapidly can the networks scale across the first and third world and does it come at a cost or scale the innovations in the sharing economy?

Community

Whether you are in the freelance economy, sharing economy, enterprise or social, community is (in my opinion) the most overlooked piece of the puzzle.  This is especially true for newer enterprises looking to either enter a highly competitive market or creating a new offshoot market.

The power of community is essentially the strength of a businesses foundation. In the beginning these are the early adopters, but if approached correctly they become the evangelist of growth and rationalization.  

Look at foursquare, salesforce, apple, and even the American Cancer Association … the reason for their success is a highly mobilized and passionate core community evangelizing what they are passionate about as well as anterior communities that also gets engaged to lesser but equally important extents.

The thought that someone can merely build a product and offer a service without passionately, non commercially and openly developing and engaging a community shows a massive disconnect with their customers, an egotistical growth plan and a fundamental lack of foresight of the nature of the 21st century economy (as a result of social networking & the financial crisis).

Your community will support you, guide you, empower you and evangelize you … and at the end of the day having passion for a product is as equally motivating as having equity and skin in the game. Trust your users, engage your users, love your users because one user becomes a community of early adopters, which becomes a catalyst for global growth, scalability and regional physical community growth.

"Everyone’s got a plan until they get punched in the mouth"



- Mike Tyson 



"

Be so good they can’t ignore you

"



-

Steve Martin



"Don’t live a life, build one."

Sadly everything he said, while being entirely and profoundly true, will not be absorbed by any of these “teens” because society has deteriorated far to much to save the masses.  Hopefully it inspires a few to ignore the left, glee, the media, blamers, freeloaders and bad role models because the few can one day become the many again and bring us back from the depths.