As reported by ComScore, the world-wide internet population has surpasses 1 billion as of December 2008. While it is quite a big number, the data also mean another 5 billion people are not online. Having grown up with internet since elementary school, I cannot imagine life with out it. ComScore broke the data down to the top 15 countries with the largest internet populations.
The top 15 countries seemed to pretty obvious to me, so I decided to find out what portion of each country was online.
China is in #1 with the biggest internet audience, but their numbers only represent 13.5% of their population. The room for growth is still tremendous. I can’t even imagine the number of chinese websites that I will never come across. The most surprising figure, however, is India’s percentage. With a booming population of 1.1 billion, only 2.8% are online! While the internet industry in both countries are not as mature as the US, the talent and potential are there. There’s no doubt we will experience a good dose of competition from abroad, if not already.
On the hand, the figures of South Korea and Japan make me scratch my head in wonder. Both countries have been praised as one of the most connected countries in the world. Their wireless and mobile technologies surpass the US, yet the numbers still show about 50% are online, which is about the same as the US.
We live at an exciting period in time, and opportunities are still wide open to internet entrepreneurs world-wide. Oh, and happy Chinese New Years Here’s to another billion.
Update: One caveat I overlooked: “Excludes traffic from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs.” The internet population in Asia is probably way bigger than the data states.
According to the New York Times, Mizuko Ito, a research at Univeristy of California, Irvine, claims that internet socializing, which has caused fear in many parents, is not necessarily bad. She says, “But their participation is giving them the technological skills and literacy they need to succeed in the contemporary world. They’re learning how to get along with others, how to manage a public identity, how to create a home page.”
The study, part of a $50 million project on digital and media learning, used several teams of researchers to interview more than 800 young people and their parents and to observe teenagers online for more than 5,000 hours. Because of the adult sense that socializing on the Internet is a waste of time, the study said, teenagers reported many rules and restrictions on their electronic hanging out, but most found ways to work around such barriers that let them stay in touch with their friends steadily throughout the day.
This article article touched on two parts: the apparent fear of internet usage and the inter-woven presence of new media in everyday life.
In regards to the first topic, it seems pretty outdated to view social networks, such as MySpace and Facebook, as something unknown. The study came to a conclusion that “there’s been some confusion about what kids are actually doing online. Mostly, they’re socializing with their friends, people they’ve met at school or camp or sports.” Duh? It’s pretty surprising to me that a lot of people still don’t get this.
Secondly, we all have to realize that new media is the future, and we better get accustomed to it. By getting accustomed to social networks and new media, teenagers begin to understand how to take advantage of the new communication mediums. For example, it seems almost necessary to have a LinkedIn nowadays. Moreover, people learn what is safe to put in their Facebook profiles. I mean, come on, even Barack Obama is using YouTube to deliver his radio chats. Moreover, many traditional journalists use Twitter now. Communication has changed and there’s no turning back now. Better get used to it, or get left in the dust.
Microsoft Research is always doing cutting edge stuff. Bill G must have a lot of toys.
It is normal to be afraid of big companies. With all their resources, they are a major competitors and steal your customers with a snap of a finger. For example, I’m sure Google Calendar killed a lot of other web applications out there. However, another view that people don’t normally think about is to look at large corporations as market openers. As much as they have the power to move things against your favor, they have just as much power to move things in your favor.
Sometimes, entrepreneurs have really great ideas, but the market or infrastructure is just not there yet. Big companies have the power to move the industry, thus complementing your ideas. More often than not, you need them as much as they need you. Let’s take a look at some examples.
1. Photobucket and Myspace. Photobucket had been known as the “parasite” of MySpace. It was the go-to site when uploading pictures and hotlinking them from your MySpace. The social network created a huge market for people to show off pictures to one another. As a result, MySpace acquired Photoshop. Both would not be the same without one another.
2. Blogging and Google. I would argue that blogging would not be as successful if it weren’t for Google indexing them. Blogs seem perfect for a high page rank: unique content, lots of words, many pages within the site, and updated constantly. Linking to one another is almost essential in blogging, as pro bloggers live off their SEO. Again, both parties have benefited greatly.
3. Mobile Apps and iPhone, G1. Mobile applications has long been known as “the next big thing.” Every year, investors repeatedly say that this was the year for mobile applications to take off. Each year ends in disappointed. However, with iPhone and G1, innovation has finally begin to take off. Of course, the story has just started and things are only beginning to pan out. It will be interesting to see what the future holds. How open or close Apple and Google wants to be going affect how startups operate.
There are other examples, such as iLike and Facebook, YouTube and the rise of broadband. Take a look at what big companies are doing now. Where are they moving and take advantage of the opportunity. As simple as that sounds, I’m not sure exactly how easy it is to do that. As smart as you are, the market can make or break you.
To quote Marc Andreesen:
Ironically, once a startup is successful, and you ask the founders what made it successful, they will usually cite all kinds of things that had nothing to do with it. People are terrible at understanding causation. But in almost every case, the cause was actually product/market fit.
Kevin Rose chimes in on why he thinks it’s good idea to do a startup in the midst of an economic downturn. My views is similar to his. He agrees with Paul Graham’s original post, and so do I. Since Facebook, Youtube, Digg, MySpace, and Flickr were founded, there hasn’t really been any other companies that has captured my attention in the same way (well, maybe except twitter). There has been a lot of excitement, but frankly too much noise.
Thx @loltini for showing me the vid.
While Startuply seems to be doing OK, other job boards have been seeing a decline in jobs. Joblighted, an online job aggregator, has reported its statistics, showing a clear decline in job listings. As I noted, Startuply is only one player this entire ecosystem, and it’ll be great to see data on others as well.
Joblighted aggregates some of the biggest job boards, such as KropJobs, 37 Signals Jobs, CrunchBoard. While, there roughly 65 jobs posted per day pack in July, now there are roughly 35 jobs posted per day in October. That’s a 46% drop. Moreover, $4,902,859 spent were spent on 22,704 job listings. That translates to about $216 per post. The creator of Joblighted has also noted that, “in the last few weeks my subscriber counts went up at much higher rate than they used to,” meaning an increase in people looking for jobs. Unemployment is at 6.1% right now, and I really don’t want it to go higher.
On a side note, a lot of big blogs have been making good side money with their job boards. With advertising falling and job postings declining, maybe we will see a few more angry bloggers on the rise.
Below is a pie of Joblighted’s top sources:
- Krop Jobs 439319.3%
- 37signals Job Board 341715.1%
- Joel on Software Jobs 291812.9%
- CrunchBoard 269611.9%
- TechGigger Jobs 15196.7%
- Startuply 14696.5%
- Authentic Jobs Full-time 12655.6%
- Slashdot Jobs 11705.2%
- Python Job Board 7893.5%
- Coroflot Jobs 7273.2%
- VentureBeat JobBoard 4401.9%
- FreshWebJobs 4081.8%
- Ajaxian Jobs 3571.6%
- MetaFilter Jobs 2571.1%
- Ars Technica Job Board 1910.8%
- Smashing Jobs 1600.7%
- Read/WriteWeb Jobs 1470.6%
- nPost Startup Jobs 1270.6%
- Jobs on the Wall 280.1%
- Boxes & Arrows Job Board 230.1%
These statistics is mainly for startup jobs. Other big names such as Indeed, Simplyhired, and Monster, would be interesting to look for bigger companies. One crucial site that seems to be missing is Craigslist jobs. That would be really interesting since it covers across all industries.
It’s clear by now that the technology industry is not insulated from the Wall Street fallout. Layoffs have been popular from large corporations (EBay, Yahoo, HP) to startups (Mahalo, Seesmic, Adbrite). On the hand, TechCrunch has also noted that many of these layoffs may not be actual layoffs, but just an opportunity to get rid of the dead wood.
I reached out to Startuply, a YCombinator job site focused on jobs at startups, for their input on this matter. Luke Groesbeck, one of the co-founder, stated that he “hasn’t seen any major effects from the recession…yet.” Moreover, “It’s pretty normal for us to see a 1%-2% fluctuation in the total number of job listings on a given day.” While VC’s have been warning startups with scary presentations, investing will not freeze totally. Through a phonecall, a VC expressed that “startups are always hiring.” I believe it’s just a matter of which ones. Startups that are still growing are well-positioned to take hires from the startups that are oversized (as Allen Stern questions their startup status).
Personally, I believe that job sites such as Startuply are more important than ever in times of hardship. While hiring may not be as aggressive before, people maneuvering between jobs is an inefficiency that needs to be solved. As hiring slows down, some crucial factors will arise, giving the company a chance to grow:
- Fewer startups will hire for fewer positions. By keeping their numbers decent, Startuply can reach a bigger share of the startup market.
- More people will be looking for work…(including a whole lot of Yahoos!)
- Fewer jobs + more applicants = more applicants/job (and a higher applicant quality, too)
Of course, Startuply is only one small player in this big ecosystem. Another job matching site I admire is SnapTalent. From Compete.com’s data, it seems their traffic has dropped in the month of September, when a lot of the layoffs started occuring:
Taking Compete’s data with a grain of salt, I think this is also a time for SnapTalent to grow and help solve the market inefficiencies. More people will roaming their publisher website widget, rather than working. I may even create one myself just to test it out.
Looking at all of this, one thing is clear to me: college seniors need to start buckling down; no more picking and choosing like it’s 2006. It might be a little more realistic to just take what comes now.
Update: Other Job Boards chime in.
Entrepreneurs are always telling other entrepreneurs to just go for it. Drop out of school, start a company. Quit that job, do something you’re passionate about. We are the misfits. I’m totally for the gun-ho attitude, but I think it’s almost important to keep a realistic mindset.
I don’t want to see people putting their whole life on the line, on an idea that probably just won’t work. Do you really need another generic web 2.0 toy. There were a lot of toy-ish websites built from 2006-2008, and most of that will die given the recent economic downturn. People need to get real. Build something that solve problems.
1. Know when to quit. My logic is same as what Seth Godin says in The Dip: “What really sets superstars apart from everyone else is the ability to escape dead ends quickly, while staying focused and motivated when it really counts.” Think about if you are fighting a drawn-out battle. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell, but are users interested? do you have a core following who keeps coming back. Know when there’s a cliff ahead of you and that you need change paths.
2. Be prepared to fail, and adapt. Your college degree will probably do you no good in world of startups. Your first idea probably won’t be your best. However, maybe you don’t need to quit entirely. The smartest thing to do is probably see how you can modify your product to something better. You can’t be cocky or arrogant. Don’t be stubborn and try to fit a square in a circle. Loren Feldman is probably going to tell you that you suck, and be prepared to face reality.
3. Have a backup plan. What the hell are you going to do if the startup dies? Would you have the motivation to start another one? Can you go back to school? Outline a plan of what you’re going to do, and see if it’s something you can handle. We always hear about the startups that succeed, but rarely about the ones that disappear. It’s crazy to do a startup, but it’s delusional to go on with the idea thinking it’s a one-way street to billionaires.
4. “All we have to get is 1% of the market.” Don’t let this be your only motivation for pursuing your startup. First of all, getting 1% of the market is not that easy. And second of all, if you product is only geared toward 1% of the market, it’s probably not going to change the world. Even saying your “projections are conservative” is not a good approach; you have no idea what your sales are going to be.
5. Make App, Get On Blogs, Profit! Don’t let your entire marketing plan be based on getting on TechCrunch. The best way to go viral is to build an app that matters. Similarly, Facebook’s platform is not going to help you “go viral” if you making something meaningful. Then again, 90% of Facebook apps are meaningless, so take my advice with a grain of salt.
That being said, it’s much easier to criticize than to actually build something. Like many others, I still have a lot learn. I still believe it’s still a good time to start up. Go crazy