I play chess. My wife says I am an addict. Maybe so. The Internet undoubtedly has been a blessing for chessplayers and perhaps a curse for spouses.
When we think of innovations we tend to gravitate towards applications or products that capture a wide share of the market. And we repeat the examples over and over again. By now we have all heard of Flickr, Skype, and iPod. Round up the usual suspects.
What are some neglected and unfamiliar innovations? Are there ones around that onnly serve a niche market? And what lessons can we draw from these examples?
If you are a chessplayer then you are likely to have heard of ICC (Internet Chess Club). There are over 30,000 members and at any given moment more than 2,000 chess players from around the world are online, including Grandmasters. You can play pick up games, observe games of grandmasters, work on puzzles, study historical games, and even watch tournaments such as FIDE world events. The software, the backend and the interface, has gotten better and better each year. I tend to play only blitz games (5 minutes on each side), which when you think about it is not a trivial thing get straight from a software perspective.
More on the online chess world and other neglected innovations in future posts.