Fear of Sharing Data, an obstacle to integrated start-ups

| Jul 1, 2010 | comment 6 Comments

In the world of Mashed-up data where we get around platforms and devices seamlessly and access data from everywhere do you think we should fear sharing data anymore? Skimming through a great list of start-ups will easily get your attention that our most successful start-ups and entrepreneurs in Arabia are those who could integrate with the analogue world, offline frameworks, and the real world business/individual needs.

One of the projects that caught my attention at the 2nd Democamp in Dubai was Loomni. Apart from the energetic founder’s enthusiasm & positive aggressiveness at the time of presenting, it got my attention to one very important notion, it isn’t a let’s-go-online kind of project and it is connected to our offline life. Despite its poor branding and non-introducing website it is one of those projects that fills a need, a gap, and it serves. Getting over Loomni, you’d often see start-ups in Arabia hanging around those projects that are not connected to the offline world. Or, it’s often a Web Developer’s other hobby gone online if not an Arabized one.

When we say integrating with the offline world, it shouldn’t necessarily mean having to work with businesses or individuals on the face-to-face level but connecting to their data and sharing common useful data. For instance, if you ever downloaded a personal or small-business accounting software you’d notice that if you were in US you could actually connect to your Bank Account and have data loaded into the application. Okay, dream about that for another 10 years in our region. I hate to say that. But we don’t share data. Think about Theaters n’ Movie Houses, or better yet TV & Radio channels, how could it hurt anyone if they shared a simple XML file with their programming data? Think about thousands of companies that have been crying for data from these companies in order to service the consumers who are originally theirs?

Security? Infrastructure? I don’t thinks so. Let’s take a better example. An online start-up that is not sharing data while they share an API. YAMLI(i’m a big fan of YAMLI). Check’em out, you can use a simple API that is attached to Web UI elements. But, it’d never give you access to querying and requests. Think about possibilities of Keyboard plug-ins for systems such as Android? If they shared data.

The fear of sharing in a Web of sharing? Could you spend a day online without seeing a “Share” button?

  • Ahmad

    Agreed…..

    We have a problem of sharing data…..another example would be real-time traffic statistics that transportation ministries have and would never give out to the public.

  • http://msahli.com/ Mohammed SAHLI

    Yes we don’t share data! A very simple example: this Blog itself does not provide the full entry via Feeds :)

  • http://twitter.com/abdullaharif Abdullah Arif

    I think this is in some instances closely tied to the issue of copyright and its enforcement in the Arab world. Why share your data when a bunch of ingrates can jump in, steal it and create a replica of your own project that subsequently competes with it? How can you fight for your rights when even a civil personal dialogue with these individuals seems far-fetched?

    The concept of sharing and giving credit is alien to this culture.

  • http://www.startuparabia.com Mohamed Marwen Meddah

    Touché, lol… Don't worry about that, the blog has gone back to providing full feeds.

    In fact it has been providing full feeds ever since it was launched over 2 years ago; it's just the past couple of weeks where that changed as I was experimenting with something between wordpress and feedburner.

  • http://www.startuparabia.com Mohamed Marwen Meddah

    Yes, imagine how practical and helpful a mobile application that had access to that kind of data would be.

  • http://dot1ne.com Saleh Esmaeili

    While this could be the case with “private” and “critical” data we're discussing those data that don't hurt to share, those that are already being aggregated internally and shared with the public in unusable forms.

    Think of Cinemas or TV websites, Show-times are posted anyways, but man it can't be used elsewhere or syndicated w/o goin' around it. We sure ain't calling for everyone to go n' publicize privileged or business sensitive data or content :)

    Apart from the fear of sharing, it's the fact that IT, CRM, and the Systems are actually not Cloud ready in our part of the world let alone policies n' laws.

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