Halley has a slammin post about Web 2.0, where she quotes her dad, a former Ad Guy, who always said he wished he had a hypewriter -- a version of a typewriter with only the keys needed to spout hyperbole like NEW! IMPROVED! etc. -- to make his job easier. Of course you know me, Web 2.0er that I am, I ran off to check the domain hypewriter.com, knowing it would be gone but just in case. What a fascinating image to have greeted me there. Funny isn't it. And perfect.
Halley (like a lot of folks) is down on using the term Web 2.0, seeing it as a repackage of dot-com mania, echoes of her Dad's keen sense that all that glitters is not gold. During the first Web, which we fancied as the wave of "e-commerce" (and we still used the hyphen), I was part of a swanky global PR agency and had the privilege to help launch, hype, spin, then watch the demise of, some very good companies with amazing technology and some very smart people involved. And yah, there were a few really bad ones too.
What I wondered after the bust, when it became trendy to dis the whole Internet boom as nothing but hot air, was: who would end up with all the technology lying in the dumpsters AND in the heads of unemployed wizkids. Where would all of those innovations go? Would everyone end up either part of IBM or one of the big consultancies like Arthur Andersen? (Remember, this was before THAT shit hit the fan). Because many of the unscathed ran UP the food chain.
And many of the scathed got kicked down the foodchain. And they're here. Now. With what they learned before (older. smarter from a business model perspective). With the lessons of their hypewriters behind them. A lot more tired. Greeted by a whole NEW crop of twenty-somethings who either weren't part of the business landscape the last time around, OR were just out of college when things went haywire. SO you've got older folks who know the business model matters; you've got older-still folks on the tech and business side whose experience literally spans life before the net, life during the amazing 99-01 timeframe, AND who are still here, who (tee hee) never left.
Right. So. That's what makes Web 2.0 different. Yes it's the technology. And I've read all the specs on what "IT" has to include to be Web 2.0 (AJAX: it's not just for bathtubs anymore). But the tech side alone isn't what makes these times, right now, right here, whatever you want to call them, special. It is the collective experience, okay wisdom, of Internet pioneers who have been through one full cycle of innovation MEETING UP with the new pioneers who have the kind of passion and faith in the net and web-based technology that I haven't seen in seven years, AND the best and worst practices of successful and failed business models to navigate through in bringing their new products and services to market.
It's not just hype. It's a 'something.' And it's not "e-commerce" like it was the first time: A CHANNEL from businesses to "consumers." It's just not like that this time.
Right. So. More --> If anything kills this wave of innovation, it's what Halley touched on, i.e., where the money's coming from, what strings are attached, where the foodchain leads, and who else is wielding the term Web 2.0 in boardrooms where no one really understands or cares what "it" is. Of course, then you have the global economy, okay, could we be in a more unstable time? And yet LOOK at what is happening here. It's like the net is the only solid ground left.
I say get out of the way, let it happen, it's going to happen, and whether it's boom and bust, or something more steady or grid-like, we are ALL the better for the quality and speed of innovation that is driving whatever this Web 2.0 thing is.