Saturday, September 23, 2006

Capital Irrigation

when we think about connecting the next billion
people to the internet, its important to keep in
mind why those billion people want a connection.

buzzwords don't work in this conversation, if
the internet doesn't equate to some fundamental
need fairly directly its going to be hard to
convince another billion people why they want it.

so, it may be useful to talk about the internet
in terms of its ability to deliver money. how can
rural villagers tickle these pipes to make
money flow out of them.

some interesting sites which can be used to get
money out of the internet:

Amazon's Mechanical Turk
allows people to simply log on and start answering BPO
style questions on a web page. People can get additional
certifications which allow them to answer hire value questions.

Ether a personal call center
service lets individuals register themselves as experts in a
particular field and set the terms under which they are willing
to answer questions. An increasing number
of sites helping individuals land jobs that can be performed
via the internet. &
let individuals apply for a loan to regular people on the Internet. Kiva is focused on microfinance and helping small entrepreneurs get started. lets NGO's submit
loan applications directly to the Internet. EBay E-Commerce, DrishteeHaat is focused on
helping villagers sell crafts online.


Given the potential of the internet to be a source of capital for
its users, its worth examining the different business models Internet
Operators may use.

Freelance BPO / Call / Dev Center.
Now that individuals can connect with potential employers fairly
directly, there is a role for an upscale internet cafe type operation
which provides its users with an SLA which guarantees VOIP level
connectivity, and probably a dedicated virtual machine such that
they could setup their environment and store data in a secure persistant

Internet Agent.
While the Dev Center is primarily concerned with enabling people
to actively earn money on the Internet, Internet agents simply represent
the internet to people working in the real world. So these would be
individuals familiar with the net and access to a connection possibly
as simple as a cell phone. They would talk with their customers and help
them represent themselves to the Internet. This could take the form of
selling goods via e-commerce, requesting a loan thru a service like kiva,
government assistance, or ngo assistance thru something like globalgiving.


I'm excited about the airjaldi(.com) coming up
in October. A number of friends are coming by
with interests in different aspects of the rural
internet equation. Its going to be lots of fun.

Laura Drewett & Ian Howard will be running a
workshop on Financial Engineering for rural
internet providers. I'm looking forward to it.

1 comment:

Tarun said...

Google Answers, Yahoo Answers and other sites to sell expertise