For all the talk about “gross national happiness“, studies keep showing that one of the biggest determining factors in how good you feel about the world is whether you get to do something you feel you’re good at. People like doing things they do well, and they find it easier to get started and to keep going.
The same thing’s true, more or less, for products and businesses. They get called “core competencies” or the like, but that’s what it means; businesses succeed when they concentrate on the things they do uniquely well. Apple design great end-to-end user experiences, Gen Re prices the likelihood of really unlikely events (and insures insurers against them), Tesco know exactly what store to put where and how best to stock it. Each of the businesses does that one thing, the key point where it ultimately creates value, tremendously well, and the more it focusses on that one thing, the better it tends to do.
As I type, I’m sitting in the back of a plane heading back to Heathrow from Sofia. I was at TISEE 2011, where I took part in a panel about cloud services. “Cloud”‘s a bit of jargon which often means whatever you want it to, but I threw out this quote and one of the other panelists (Sean Park of Anthemis) promptly tweeted it:
Video here – fast forward to about 44:50. (I go off on one for about two solid minutes.)
That’s what the cloud trend is really about, I think. Every business does something really well, and a lot of the time, they can turn that skill into a platform other people can build on. Amazon’s AWS and Marketplace — Amazon being a rare example of a business which is exceptional in a few fields — come out of two areas they had to excel in to make their core bookshop business work; running a heck of a lot of servers and doing online storefronts. They’ve essentially turned themselves into a group of businesses where each part of the group is supplied by another: the infrastructure team supply the wholesome team with reliable computing, storage and bandwidth, the storefront team supply the book selling operation with the software needed to let people buy the books, and the bookseller operation get to focus on stock, pricing, marketing and customer support. Everybody gets to do the thing they’re good at, so everyone’s happy.
That’s what the whole cloud thing means to me. Getting to focus on what you’re good at.
At Timetric, we’re good at aggregating, organising, and building great visualisation and developer tools around statistics, and we’re good at understanding how data from different sources fits together. You’re good at understanding and explaining what these statistics mean to your readers or to your business. You deserve to get to focus on that: you shouldn’t have to be expert in navigating government websites or building data aggregation systems or crafting interactive graphs which look great and work in every browser. That’s our job.
Thanks to our platform, we can do our job, and by that, help you focus on yours. For journalists and the media, we have Timetric Chartroom: up-to-date, interactive statistics pages for your website on almost any topic you can think of. It’s the best and latest data, automatically updated and ready for your readers in easy-to-use charts. For data-rich businesses, Timetric Benchmark: we work with you to mine your underexploited databases and server logs for the trends which really affect your business, we contextualize it with public and proprietary data from our (extensive) library, and we help you securely share it with your colleagues and trusted partners or monetize it through services for the wider world.
This is the promise of the cloud: building great businesses and products by getting the best people and services involved, whether they’re inside your company or not. We all succeed and we all get happy. We’re looking forward to working with you.