I read a post on TechCrunch about one of the Twitter founders, Jack Dorsey starting a company, code-named squirrel that is going to enable individuals the ability to collect payments like merchants. The system is enabled by the iPhone and a physical piece that allows the user to swipe (not steal) a persons credit card. This physical part of this offering is powered by the actual swiping and looks like a nut; which is how the name squirrel was decided on. (Not sure how this is different from iCharge, with the exception of the “nut” but I guess we will see.)
I’ve also mentioned a post by Jeremiah Owyang, in which he spells out the five eras of social networking with the last phase being one called social commerce. (Further explained here.) His premise is that as we all become connected and then enabled, we will be providing services to one another. (If you have a copy of this report and want to help me out; Please send it to me. I promise to never tell Jeremiah.)
I have to stop here and tell you how amazed I am at how incredibly close to the mark the writers of The Cluetrain Manifesto were. After reading it, many people talked about the concept of mass customization. Big deal. The real meat of that book was the discussion around the Internet getting us back to a craftsman-like relationship: I come to your booth in the market place and tell you how I want my shoes made. You listen to me and make notes of what I want and then produce the shoes. (Of course Nike is now doing this with NIKEid as is Puma with their Mongolian Shoe BBQ. Yes. These are also examples of mass-customization and yes; I guess it is a big deal to.)
Over the last several years many businesses have begun behaving more like individuals (transparent); that is what Web 2.0 is for businesses. Brightkite used Twitter and Get Satfisfaction to address their customer’s needs directly. I posted recently that businesses are following users to guide them to new business models and I’m of the opinion that the iPhone will be the lynchpin for social commerce.
Also, Facebook is moving forward with its virtual currency called FacePal which would could make Facebook via Facebook Connect (now also available on the iPhone) the market place for social commerce. (Not surprisingly Facebook and Twitter were interviewed by Owyang’s team for the report.)
Sounds like social commerce is well on its way and the iPhone is positioned to be the mobile enabler. Very interested to see how this evolves.