Dave Winer, the founding father of RSS, has a lucid essay on putting valuation on the current state of RSS investment in the world. Given the VC investment, the number of companies doing RSS and podcasting that have invested in RSS, and even the companies like Pheedo and FeedBurner that have hired and entire staff devoted to RSS, there’s a pretty substantial chunk of capital that’s decked against this technology.
I analogize it to CRM (Customer Relationship Management). I’m not sure who is the ‘arguable’ father of CRM – perhaps Tom Siebel plays a role. CRM is essentially the ‘plumbing’ of customer data & customer interactions inside most major companies. As of 2003, the CRM market was around $8.8 billion. It’s only grown from there. But if only 19% of user licenses of software like SAP are deployed, then I guess they’ve got issues greater then market size to contend with.
Back to RSS. The investment, however large, is real, and it’s alive. RSS is not a technology that sits on the shelf. RSS, once implemented, lives, breaths and connects content to customers, just by the nature of its very being.
In some ways, RSS is changing the ‘plumbing’ of the Internet and its effects are profound. The RSS investment trend illustrates just how powerful blogging and social media are in this web 2.0 world. Something CRM didn’t have in it’s favor.
To that end, Dave puts it this way.
Hereâ€™s one way to visualize it. Letâ€™s assume the average home price in the U.S. is $400K. So $8.2 billion is about 21,000 houses. Now imagine you wanted to change the way the plumbing worked in all of those homes. You get the idea. Thereâ€™s no way 4 or 5 random people on a Yahoo mail list, people of ordinary means, can move that much capital without having a pretty compelling argument and making it an incredibly compelling way.
Dave has a great point there. However, his next point is even more important.
Viewed another way, given that Scripting News, for years, was the central if not primary means of distributing information about RSS, it gives you a sense of how powerful blogging is. It canâ€™t move that much capital overnight, but given enough time, and persistence, and a high-quality idea, you can create quite an economic effect.
That’s the mantra on RSS. Focus on the vision, persist in “changing out the plumbing”, and pushing for the constant incremental economic effects for and from RSS advancement.
Shamelessly cross-posted at the Pheedo blog.