Ok, so by and large trains in the UK are too expensive. Frequently they don’t run on time, and quite often they’re filthy as well. (As a long-suffering First Great Western customer, I know these things all too well.)
But I’ve just encountered a glimmer of hope on the new National Express East Coast franchise. Not only is my train to Edinburgh clean and on time. It’s got free wireless, which I’m using to post this.
It works, it’s fast enough to do useful stuff with and … did I mention it’s free? Or at least included in the price of the ticket.
Ok, providing a decent internet connection is hardly one of their core objectives, but it’s nice that a train company in this country can get something right.
One of the projects I’ve been working on in my day job is to write a series of interviews with some internet ‘celebrities’ and entrepreneurs.
It’s fair to say that I wasn’t massively optimistic about being able to secure big names, but it’s actually been easier than I expected. So far I’ve persuaded five or six interesting people to take part, and the first piece has just been published.
It’s an interview with Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired and the guy behind The Long Tail. Yeah, I was surprised he had the time to talk to me too.
You can read the full interview over on the 123-reg blog. He talks about the idea of ‘free’ – how the internet is making it possible for companies to make money by giving stuff away – and uses Google as an example:
“It started with search and then software and services of various sorts and now they’re rolling out telephony and communications. They’re a sort of tsunami of ‘free’, which disrupts every industry it touches.”
You’ve got to love a phrase like “tsunami of free”. It could never have been coined if the internet hadn’t been invented.
Although it’s been done to death, we also touched briefly on The Long Tail. And before he dashed off I managed to squeeze in a quick question about what he thought of the Facebook craze:
“Fundamentally, social networking is going to be something that every site has. You’re going to go from having one place for social networking to it being devolved to a very granular scale, where your social network is not a subset of Facebook, but instead something that you expect to find as a feature in every site you visit.”
In all, an interesting chap. And very friendly too.