The Enduring Mystique of the Killer App

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We get asked this question quite often: “what is your killer app”. The question itself is typically asked with good intention and intellectually honest curiousity, yet I still have a hard time answering it because I’m not convinced there is such a thing as a killer app anymore.

Typically the killer app is declared as the product that everyone sees the utility in and has to have it, eventually the market share achieves self sustainability. in other words, the more users of the product there are the more people want it – market share begets more market share.

Where I think the wheels come off the killer app bus is the intersection of functions and capabilities. I can’t define a killer app but I can define killer capabilities. Visicalc, the original killer app, is a great example of this because the application itself is basically a clean sheet of paper but the functions enable an authoring capability that was previously out of the reach of regular users. Over time we see again and again that authoring and publishing are killer capabilities when unconstrained by the application designers.

So if you ask me what the killer capability for Teqlo is I am going to respond that it’s self expression as a means of giving our users the control over the applications they want to use for their work or personal life. If you ask me what the killer use case scenarios that our users will want to combine web services to create applications for, well then I say it’s as diverse as lead management to online price comparison to mobile workforce management to event planning. But ultimately it is the marketplace of applications, developed by by users and developers, and our ability to consolidate the subscription and resell the APIs that becomes our killer app, think of it like Appexchange for the entire web instead of just for salesforce.com.

UPDATE: I have been thinking about this since I wrote it last night and I guess what I am trying to say is that the new “killer app” is really a network effect that occurs when you bring together enough users together to achieve self-sustainability, meaning you grow because you have mass. Yeah that’s pretty much it, the new killer app is usage.

UPDATE2: Also, I changed the title of this post from “the enduring myth…” to “the enduring mystique…” because I don’t mean to suggest it doesn’t exist an an absolute but rather the nuance of declaring your killer app is a lot more subtle than simply saying what it does.

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Sprint WiMAX Spending Creeps Up

I’ve been a big fan of WiMAX for a couple of years, but as I wrote back in 2004 I would not have expected to see much in the way of deployments until 2007… we’ll soon see if my prediction has any merit but I sure hope so because WiMAX availability promises much in the way of wireless connectivity that we are so lacking with current technologies.

GigaOM » Sprint WiMAX Spending Creeps Up:

Sprint projects it will spend a total of $1.1 billion on WiMAX in 2007, “$300 million of start-up operating costs associated with WiMAX 4G broadband services,” and $800 million on WiMAX capital expenditures this year, according to the latest update2. In the original release the company said “Sprint Nextel is expecting to invest $1 billion in 20073 and between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in 2008 relating to the 4G mobile broadband network.”

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