The Internet Is As Dead And Boring As You Want It To Be

I have friends who loved music in high school and college, would spend hours going through the bins at the record store, and would hang out all night playing music and talking about music. And some of these friends barely listen to music anymore. They think rock music is "dead and boring". They are right. To them it is.

But not to me. I read music blogs, hang out at the hypemachine and last.fm, write about new music, and go see live music as much as I can. Music is as interesting to me now as it ever has been, maybe more exciting now that is so ubiquitous.

That’s the first thing that came to mind when I read Mark Cuban’s assertion that the Internet Is Dead and Boring. It is to him. He doesn’t care about the Internet anymore. That’s fine. He’s moved on to other things that are alive and exciting to him like professional sports, HD video, etc.

The main thing I take objection to in his post is the use of second and third person. Take this paragraph:

Some of you may not want to admit it, but that’s exactly what the net
has become. A utility. It has stopped evolving. Your Internet
experience today is not much different than it was 5 years ago.

If it ended with "my Internet experience today is not much different than it was 5 years ago", I’d be nodding my head in agreement. Clearly Mark’s not using the Internet the way I am.

My delicious toolbar records my most visited web services. Typepad, Google Finance, Techmeme, Delicious, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, last.fm, hypemachine, yottamusic. I did not use one of those services 5 years ago. Not one of them!

The other thing that I think Mark is wrong about is his focus on bandwidth as the essential element for innovation. He says:

The days of the Internet creating explosively exciting ideas are dead.
They are dead until bandwidth throughput to the home reaches far higher
numbers than the vast majority of broadband users get today.

I’ll be the first one to agree that here in the US we are way behind the rest of the world in broadband to the home and our telecom infrastructure policy would be laughable if it wasn’t so critical. But I don’t think innovation on the Internet is driven so much by bandwidth.

Moore’s law continues to work it’s magic and we can do more with less bandwidth than ever before. And software developers continue to build new technologies that deliver better experiences. Look at Adobe’s new "moviestar" version of Flash for an example of what can be done with today’s internet infrastructure.

But even more importantly, the web is primarily a communications platform, not a broadcasting or publishing platform, those are secondary uses. We don’t need vast amounts of bandwidth to communicate. We seem to be doing just fine with new communication services like voip, blogging, social networking, etc. The key to these innovations is not more bandwidth, its thinking about what the internet/web makes possible that is not possible in the offline world.

And the second wave of internet creativity, dubbed web 2.0, is doing just that. And it has made my experience vastly different than it was 5 years ago, 1 year ago, even 6 months ago. Hopefully if you read this blog, you get to share in all of these exciting new developments and aren’t bored either.