Back in December 2007 I wrote a post on the term 'dumb pipe' that was starting to make the round and spreading negative emotions around the topic that in the Internet world, networks are transporting data while Internet based companies are actually getting the service revenue. I can understand where this twist came from but suggested that there is another way to look at it:
In an article by Chris Anderson, he pointed out that fact that most services on the net are pretty specialized and are hence on 'a long tail' and don't really make very much money at all for the service provider. However, for those enabling the services, i.e. the networks, it very well generates money. When applied to network operators, long tail services provide the incentive in the first place for people to go online and spend money for connectivity. At the time the term 'long tail enabler' started to emerge in my mind and I have used it ever since when somebody mentioned the 'dumb pipe' to offer an alternative way to look at it.
Obviously, the term 'long tail enabler' is a bit clunky to explain to someone who's not heard of the 'long tail' concept before. Now Dean Bubley over at Disruptive Wireless has come up with the term 'happy pipe' and part of what he means with this goes in my direction. I very much like the term as it contrasts a wording with a very negative spin with a wording that has a very positive spin.