Discussing Web 2.0

There are two web 2.0’s.

There’s the mantra that has come to define the second "up move" of the Internet. Every run needs a name and this one has been called web 2.0. That’s nice enough and if this run comes to an end, and surely it will at some point, then it will probably be the end of the web 2.0 mantra as well. I’d be happy to see it go.

Then there’s the "web as a platform" meme that the man who coined web 2.0, Tim O’Reilly, meant it for. Tim articulates that meme really well in a series of two posts he wrote over the memorial day weekend. Web 2.0, in Tim’s mind, is the ultimate incarnation of the web:

I believe that we’re collectively working on an Internet Operating System,
and that it will ultimately look more like Unix than it looks like
Windows. That is, it will be an aggregate of best of breed tools
produced by an army of independent actors, all playing by the same
rules so that those tools work together to produce a whole greater than
the sum of the parts.

That web 2.0 is just getting going and is probably a ten or twenty year work in progress. Maybe we are five years into building this Internet Operating System.

So, that’s my frame of mind going into a discussion I am participating in on Friday at TieCon East in Waltham Massachusetts (a suburb of Boston). I am on a panel with Don Dodge, David Cancel, Nabeel Hyatt, and Brian Balfour. The title of the panel is Web 2.0: Viable Business Model or Bursting Bubble? And my answer is, of course, neither. 

It should be fun. If you live in or around the Boston area, stop by the Westin in Waltham at 10:45am and join the discussion.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Eben Thurston

    Sounds like a good one. Wish I could make it.

  2. Taylor Davidson

    Exactly. Aren’t we getting a bit ahead of ourselves in declaring that the answer (success or bubble) has to be evident right now?Business models will emerge once we understand how we can fit everything together, to use the technological and cultural innovations being created to exchange value between people / companies. We’re definitely not there yet in understanding the impacts.

  3. sweller

    Can anyone just stop in for one panel or do you have to register for the whole two day conference? I’d love to check it out.

    1. fredwilson

      I have no ideaI bet the website link will help

  4. gregory

    i like your “it’s neither” pov … it best describes a higher order of (inter)connection and it is a flow that won’t stop until we have enabled mass omniscience … or so says me

  5. Indus Khaitan

    Fred,It’s the Internet growing and maturing year after year not by version after another. Just like we don’t call a kid’s first 5 years as 1.0 years and the next 10 as 2.0, we should do the same for the Internet. Let it grow and and build cool services, products around it.Good POV about business model and bubble.Indus

    1. qwang

      I do think there’s something fundamentally different about the pre and post-bubble mentality:Pre-bubble viewed the web as a sales channel for other products. Think big 1.0 names like Amazon (before AWS), eBay, WebVan, where you simply take something from the offline world (including content) and just sell it through a websitePost-bubble viewed web applications as the product/tool itself. I’d argue the first baby step we took towards Web 2.0 was actually Hotmail. It was an application and an end product–you didn’t go there to buy something else. The thinking since then was that if we were going to be using websites as apps/tools, not sales channels, they really should work together like your desktop apps already do–which brings us to O’Reilly’s position today.

      1. fredwilson

        I totally agree and I made this exact point today at the Tie event I linked to in the post

  6. timoreilly

    Thanks for picking up and carrying the torch, Fred!

    1. fredwilson

      Any time tim!