Identi.caIf you’ve noticed the right hand column of my site recently you know that sometime around the 4th of July I began tweeting on Twitter. Though I long eschewed it and still find it can be a time-sink, I’m beginning to see a place for microblogging: keeping up with friends; asking questions-to-the-universe that (sometimes) beget worthy answers; and it’s downright entertaining (the mad scientist — or micro novelist? — IngenBio comes to mind).

But now that I’m gettiing my tweet on, MIT Tech Review reports that has written an open source microblogging code base called Laconica that anyone can use. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.

Is this too much of a good thing? Will my peops migrate there, forcing me to follow if I want to keep up? Should I be running an instance of Laconica on my server, the way I do WordPress, to foment my own microblogging network? These were my immediate questions but I realize the bigger meme is that everything on the Internet is mutable, no matter how original, no matter how well done. If you build it they may come, but you can count on someone else building it too. Maybe better. And they’ll try to eat your lunch. How’s an entrepreneur-developer-businessperson to cope?

Just as with bricks-and-morter businesses and tangible products — you know, the old fashioned kind you could touch or hold in your hands — the differentiator has to be design. One obvious example is Apple (a few stumbles notwithstanding) who have built design into the company’s DNA. Arguably Google, paragon of the lean interface, has too. Need some inspiration to get your design on? There are lots of places to turn for inspiration, but the thumb-worn copy of Tom Peter’s modest booklet Design (as modest as anything associated with Tom Peters can be, that is) that’s a fixture on my desk is one of my favorite places to start.

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