about_bob … It comes down to journalism, oddly enough. Budding reporters are taught to put in the first paragraph of their news stories answers to what are called "the five W’s and an H"-who, what, why, where, when, and how. Well, these same terms also classify the logical components of an Internet portal. Thinking strictly in terms of these words, it suddenly becomes a lot easier to predict additional portal services.

"Who" is finding people. "What" is finding stuff. "Why" is a tricky one, but I guess we could call it finding knowledge. "Where" is mapping, URLs, and other location indicators. "When" is calendars and schedules. And "how" is the most interesting term. It’s the verb that explains the means through which those "W"s are accomplished-by e-mailing, searching, online chatting, instant messaging, conferencing, the building of group calendars and more. The next big value-added service is an "H" that better defines a "W." I’d put my money on some technology that takes a better shot at answering "Why?" Perhaps it’s a clever use of statistical analysis, accompanied, of course, by banner ads. …

iCringely column – December 24, 1998

Which is some of the best advice I’ve ever read (the bit about Five W’s and a H)

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