Wikipedia: Lightweight Models and Cost Effective Scalability
This is the eighth and final blog that will be discussed from Tim O’Reilly’s ‘Design Patterns and Business Models’. It will be about ‘Lightweight Models and Cost Effective Scalability’. I will cover the Web 2.0 application, Wikipedia. I will also give an overview of Lightweight Models and Cost Effective Scalability and how Wikipedia relates to this weeks pattern.
What is Lightweight Models and Cost Effective Scalability?
Lightweight Models and Cost Effective Scalability is another one of O’Reilly’s patterns that he uses in order to get his message across about Web 2.0 applications. O’Reilly states that ‘Scalability in Web 2.0 applies to business models as well as technology. Changes in cost, reusability, process, and strategy mean much more can be done for less. Therefore, adopt a scalable, cost-effective strategy encompassing business models, development models, and technology to deliver products to market faster and cheaper without sacrificing future growth’. Therefore ‘small is the new big’! The benefits of Lightweight Models and Cost Effective Scalability include:
- Faster time to market – Companies such as Wikipedia have used the Internet to reach a large audience (spreading the word about their product/service) very quickly as most people can connect to the Internet.
- Faster ROI through reduced cost and time – The Internet has provided companies with a cost effective way of distributing/advertising their product/service and therefore has enabled companies to see a quick financial return.
- Reduced risk of project and product failure – Using the Internet has enabled companies to spread the word about their product/service quickly and therefore has allowed consumers to learn about a new product/service that is out in the market.
- Greater adaptability – Lightweight models provide companies with flexibility in adapting to service/product lines and therefore increasing their customer base.
One such example of a company that can be related directly to this Web 2.0 pattern is Wikipedia.
Wikipedia as a Lightweight Model…
Wikipedia was founded in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia where internet volunteers can access and make changes to Wikipedia articles without pay. Since its launch in 2001, Wikipedia has grown rapidly into one of the largest reference websites, attracting nearly 78 million visitors monthly as of 2010. As of today, Wikipedia has more than 3,638,298 articles in English and more than 17 million articles in over 270 languages.
Wikipedia is non-profit organisation with 35 employees and is the fifth most popular website in the world. There is no doubt that Wikipedia has gone ‘viral’ over the years (mostly because of an internet crazed era). Wikipedia is hosted and funded by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organisation which also operates Wikipedia-related projects. The operation of Wikipedia depends on MediaWiki, a free and open source software platform written in PHP and built upon the MySQL database. This open source and scalable solution is supported by hundreds of servers across a number of countries.
As Wikipedia is a non-profit organisation, the company has opened their doors to donations and operate fund raisers in order to stay afloat and to provide the community a free to use online encyclopedia.
To watch Jimmy Wales’s full interview, please click here.