Web 2.0 Myth & Reality

Om Malik posted an article about web 2.0: it’s not about the mainstream, it’s going to hit big business, it doesn’t matter nearly as much as we think it does.

I posted a long comment on his blog, then (modestly) thought it was too good to not post here as well.

Without further ado …

Clearly, history is just one bloody thing after another, and mostly the same things in the same sequence.

“Web 2.0 is hot!”
“Web 2.0 is the Next. Big. Thing.™”
“Web 2.0 is going to take over the world!”
“Web 2.0 is over-hyped.”
“Web 2.0 is nothing but warmed-over old technologies.”
“Web 2.0 is the same old big companies doing big things for big clients.”

Ummm … haven’t we heard this already? Haven’t we been here before? Isn’t this exactly the cycle we went through with the internet, errr, web 1.0 boom a few years ago?

Here’s the simple problem:

Everyone over-estimates change in the short term and under-estimates change in the long term.

So we’re all jazzed about the New New Thing™ every couple of years, then deeply disappointed six months into the New New Thing™ when, sadly, it hasn’t solved world peace, provided food for all the hungry, and made Michael Jackson’s face look normal.

Time, my friends, heals all.

Web 2.0 is simply an extension, growth, enhancing of the people-first, user-centric, democratizing internet that we all went to the prom with a decade ago.

It is cool, it is different in degree, it is creating new business models, it is allowing small smart start-ups to compete, and it is not just for big business (as if that’s the standard by which all important technology is judged anyways).

But it’s not a silver bullet, it won’t let us get to the moon overnight, it won’t make more than 50 or 60 people “overnight” millionaires, and it won’t render the internal combustion engine obsolete.

It’s an opportunity … and opportunities, as you know, often come very well-disguised as hard work.

So let’s not expect instant miracles: let’s roll up our sleeves, use the new tools, and make some cool stuff.

[tags] web 2.0, malik, business, technology [/tags]

1 CommentLeave a comment

  • Hey I read your commen on Om’s blog about end of w2oh and I thought to write.

    It was nice to read your perspective which so rarely gets taken into account. Everyone is so far in the trees working in the industry so few are even able
    to reapply the perspective they learned up to that day.

    I once heard Jon Scwartz, then CTO of Sun Micro answer they question of “what is web2.0?” by saying it’s Internet37, as in just one slightly better interation of the server-client nature of internet based communication.

    I agree with you 100%. Give it time and the good will present itself and the chaff will drift away.

    Hype is to the tech industry as inflation is to an economy, it makes everything harder to live up to expectations.

    Ted Rheingold