|| Print ||
|Wednesday, May 30, 2012|
BY LINDA BAKER
Everyone has an opinion about Facebook’s IPO mess and what it means for the Zuckerberg enterprise, tech IPOs and civilization as we know it.
For Astrid Scholz, executive vice president at Ecotrust, Facebook’s botched public offering yields two lessons.
The first is pragmatic: "You can’t make money off platforms per se." Successful digital companies, like Apple, Amazon, sell tangible products and services, she says.
Her second conclusion is more provocative. Internet business models typically revolve around one of three things: getting more eyeballs on the page, selling things or meeting people. But that phase of technology is running its course, says Scholz. The next phase will be to create software solutions "that actually do useful things.”
Here one catches the whiff of the moralist. After all, one person’s use value is another person’s junk.
Yet Scholz’ point is well taken. Are Facebook, Google and the dizzying array of mobile apps actually creating value? How can we harness the power of the digital world to activate social change — and then monetize that effot with innovative business models?
I spoke with Scholz last month as I was researching my June cover story on green transformation; we followed up with another chat this week. (The Facebook IPO was just a happy coincidence).
In the past few years, Ecotrust has been developing or co-developing its own digital tools, several focused on nurturing a more sustainable, or resilient, marine and fisheries sector. “The questions we were asking weren’t addressed by Windows or Google, so we decided to build them ourselves,” Scholz says.
These tools include Digital Deck, a mobile technology tool that provides real-time access to catch information — collected from the boat deck — to help consumers, wholesalers and conservationists learn if fish is sustainably harvested. Another is Marine Map, a web-based open source platform that helps users, including fisherman and conservationists, visualize social ecological, and regulatory features of the marine environment.
These technologies serve a variety of data collection and consumer functions, offering marine planners fine grained information about the ocean environment and potentially offering more information to the consumer about the origins and quality of the fish they are buying. To that end, Ecotrust’s tools are similar to the "Smart Farmer" trend described in my green story, in which emerging mobile apps enable farmers to convey information to consumers and regulators about environmental and food safety.
MarineMap won a 2011 Tech Award — an international award that honors companies and nonprofits using technology to “benefit humanity.”
Many things benefit humanity: food, water, clothes, games, even social networks. For Scholz, one of the lessons gleaned from the Facebook debacle is that the Internet "hasn't grown up yet." It’s also a call to arms: harness digital technology to create a new generation of web platforms and mobile apps that actually improve people's lives.
Linda Baker is managing editor of Oregon Business.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
BY JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG
A flare-up in the Elliott Forest raises questions about détente in Oregon’s timber wars.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO
By now we’ve all read the headlines: Starbucks is giving away free degrees. Except it isn’t.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY KIM MOORE
A conversation about higher education with the presidents of the University of Oregon and Clackamas Community College, followed by September's powerlist.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Tom Cox interviews Pete Friedes, author of "The 2R Manager," about becoming a Best Boss.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
National media can’t get enough of Oregon’s pinot noir, artisan-food purveyors and lively, independent film scene.
Friday, September 26, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER
This post focuses on the recent release of the new Apple iPhone as well as Alibaba's IPO, the largest U.S. IPO in history.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY
Craft beer comes to Mount Angel.
|The 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon 2014|
|A Recipe for Success|
|Uber considers flu shot delivery service|
|P&G plans to exit Duracell|
|Target to offer free holiday shipping|
|Caterpillar gains after raising forecast|
|Dow Chemical profit up 44%|
|Boeing profit jumps 18%|
|Verizon posts higher Q3 revenue|
Is your business ready to join us in the call for action? This opening panel includes Oregon businesses who will discuss why they signed the Oregon Climate Declaration, the investments they are making to reduce carbon emissions, and how their actions are affecting their companies.
Get ready for two days of special events produced with the EPA, Portland Timbers and ISOS before and after the GoGreen Conference on October 16.
Finding a health insurance plan that makes both financial sense for the bottom line and provides choice for plan participants is a huge challenge for employers.
The right financing at the right time is critical for small businesses to succeed.
Among Oregon universities, Oregon Tech is special in the way it incorporates applied research into the curricula of every department.
More than 400 "Change Makers" will gather to invest in a socially sustainable community.