October 08, 2005

Bubble 2.0

Yow, this has to be one of the dumbest things I've ever seen written, O'Reilly (the tech publisher and conference company) on their Web 2.0 conference: "The only problem with this is, if everyone agrees it's a bubble, then it isn't a bubble."

They went as far as putting "then it isn't a bubble" in bold AND italic. I won't step that low. They also made it the title of the piece. Apparently they think its some great bit of insight. Like if everyone agrees that the ship is sinking then of course it can't sink.. yeah. To top that off, even if somehow their statement where true, the post itself is coded to make it worthless. If the writer doesn't think it's a bubble well then everyone can't agree its a bubble can they?

Personally though, I think this Web 2.0 business is the opposite of a bubble, more like delusions of grander. These core webheads want their bubble days back so bad, they want to feel that important again, be back in that media spotlight again, be bathed in the money of suckers again. And at a conference like Web 2.0 they can close the doors (via a $3,000 entrance fee), lock out the outsiders and engage in the sort of collective ass licking, striation and wall building that any maturing industry perpetually engages in. Its good for the insiders, but for the rest of us...

Posted by Abe at October 8, 2005 12:53 PM


Say it, brother.

Well... I agree with your puncturing of the self-importance of O'reilly and co. $3k is ridiculous for a conference.

On the other hand, I think there;s something real behind web 2.0, in that there's a lot of useful functionality coming online that's improving peoples lives. However, it seems very unlikely to me that anyone will make gazillions off of this outside fleecing some funders.

The zeitgeist of web 2.0 is very much about being Open, Free, and Decentralized. Lots of opportunity for small business, new-school hustlers and social entrepreneurs, but I don't see a lot of opportunities for large corporation (or even a small one with big ambitions) can really rake in a lot of profit.

From what I can tell, 'Web 2.0' describes a basket of technologies that turns the web into something resembling an operating system API:

Tags implements a database as distributed folksonomy. Open APIs allow deveopers (and sophisticated users) to mix and match data sources to create new and interesting applications. AJAX (or anything that can deal with XML) brings it all together in snappy interfaces.

Web 2.0 may not be the huge revolution that some say, but there certainly seem to be some interesting things going on with those technologies.