Big ‘unsolved’ problems in the Internet world

Thought I’d take a moment to jot down a few big problems/opportunity areas in the Internet world. The technologies to solve each of these exist today, but an elegant solution that scales massively still seems to elude us on each of these.

Here are some such areas that come to mind (in no particular order):

  • Linear TV. Why do we still use remote controls from the sixties to look for content? In the era of search, discovery, AI, predictive analytics, social, mobile we surely have better solutions, but haven’t yet found a scalable way to mass adoption. Till we do, happy channel-flipping.
  • Personal Information Management. We live in the age of information explosion, from all directions – twitter, blogs, news sites, pictures, videos, email, facebook, calendar items, youtube, deals, sms, chats, iTunes, yada yada. Too many passwords. Too much useful information. Too much content. Too much news. Too much personal data. More than one can manage. Dropbox, Evernote and Flipboard are addressing various pieces of this problem, and have  built spectacular businesses already. I think we’ll see immense further innovation in this space
  • Digital payments. Beyond the Paypal variety. Pulling out your credit card and entering the digits and your address, and/or your password is so 20th century. How about if there were a system that you could use from any device anywhere, using biometrics, and transfer any amount however big or small to anyone else? No passwords. No credit card numbers. No addresses. No minimum amounts. Just a swipe of a finger or an iris scan. Just imagine the kind of consumption this would fuel.
  • Online content monetization. There is so much great content being created all over the world, but how does it get paid for? Advertising is great, but its not the one-size-fits-all for monetizing all content. A couple of years back, I wrote about the huge opportunity in micropayments. Micropayments have indeed continued to take off significantly since, but I believe we are still in the early phase. There is still no good model to universally purchase content. Movies, news, books, TV shows, music, games, whatever. On one platform seamlessly, from any device. Amazon, Apple, Netflix are all moving in that direction, but we aren’t quite there yet. Consumers are consuming content voraciously online, and sometimes willing to pay for it. And content owners (ask the studios or publishers) are desperately searching for models that help them better monetize their efforts online. There just isn’t any good universal platform yet to connect this demand and supply.
%d bloggers like this: