The 140 Characters

ZDNet blogs on Twitter. Cool.

Twitter really is blogging, that much is apparent. Hmmm…. del.icio.us and Twitter would be an interesting combination. I could subscribe to someone’s bookmarks channel and get it over Twitter, but the more use cases I come up with the more I think Twitter when combined with something else is just another form of RSS.

We’re moving up the curve with Twitter but just putting links to other sources on it probably isn’t the best use for it. I’ve heard people suggest that the 140 character limit may in fact be the "killer app" characteristic of Twitter.

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Coghead’s Widgets

A Coglet is a slice of application functionality that can be embedded in a regular Web page. Coglets are perfect for anyone trying to build a dynamic web site using custom forms, tables, views, and more. The best part about a Coglet is that you don’t need to know any coding to create some very powerful websites using Coghead as the backend database.

At first I thought this was a widget spec but it’s not. On one level it is in that Coghead application components can be embedded in web pages, blogs, or wikis to enable database forms and views. However, rather than using scripting to embed said components they are using iframes, which for a variety of rendering, event handling, and security issues, generally suck. So rather than executing a function via an API they are embedding the function by wrapping it, a subtle but meaningful distinction.

Having said that, this is a very cool way to do distributed data collection and to empower web applications quickly and reliably. I just wish they went with scripting instead.

UPDATE: Read Dan’s comment below, he provides clarification on one aspect of this that I didn’t get when reading up on Coglets.

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Echosign Lands a Whale

I’m so pleased to see that Echosign is the document manager and e-signature provider on BT’s broadband workplace initiative. This is really significant for them and comes as a consequence of focusing on delivering a solid service that is cost effective, and providing BT with a turnkey white label solution for an important function in the SME service offering.

BT eSignature is a fast and secure way to get your contracts signed, tracked and filed in one easy step. There is nothing to download, learn or install, and BT eSignature is completely secure and compliant for both electronic and written signatures.

This should also be a lesson for venture investors who typically look at a company like Echosign and dismiss it as "oh yeah that electronic signature thing". Of course Echosign has a great solution tailor fit to the market they are targeting, but more significantly they have built a business engine that operates with a good degree of precision. Number of leads in results in a predictable number of qualified trials which then results in a predictable number of subs added.

Layered onto their lead gen and sales cycle is execution in ecosystems that matter, first Salesforce.com where they, along with Koral (acquired by SFdC), are top tier partner application services. This is a repeatable model and BT should focus their resources on promoting this because it can work for their marketplace.

Echosign is a great example of a company that isn’t living in a Silicon Valley echo chamber. Without a lot of flash and buzz they have built a really attractive business and done it with little venture capital.

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Water Works

If all the automobiles are someday running on hydrogen fuel cells does that mean the roads will always be wet from the discharge?