Web 2.0: What Will Emerge From Chaos?
Over at Infectious Greed, Paul Kedrosky responds to a reader about the “Web 2.0” meme:
As much as I love trying the new technology and services, very little has changed in how I use the web. Only RSS aggregation has truly offered me value. Everything else I enjoy trying out and then utterly forget it after a week. Meebo is a great example. Loved the service. Loved using it. Stopped using it a while back and had trouble remembering the name today…
Not to conflate Web 2.0 with mash-ups, but he makes a good point. Can anyone point to a mash-up that they continue to use after the first “Whoa, cool!” moment? I use Paul Rademacher’s housing maps service now and then (mostly to cringe at the prices of homes here in La Jolla), but as near as I can figure, that’s the only mash-up I use. And as far as technologies go, the only so-called 2.0 technology that has really penetrated my daily work/play life is syndication feeds, which I have waxed about many times.
I’m completely unsurprised that integrated web services have not yet hit their stride. The nature of innovation involves experimentation. It involves chaos. It involves running with
scissors ideas because they sound promising. Are they promising? Yes! Will they be successful? Unclear. Not all promising ideas are going to succeed. Some of their proponents will execute poorly: They’ll make dumb, avoidable mistakes. Others will be brilliantly managed, only to discover that the market isn’t ready. Still others will get stuck in yet other ways. Eventually, someone will get the mix right, and offer great value to end users.
No one’s going to make money from “web 2.0.” (Excepting those who build web 2.0 infrastructure for other companies. But competing with the exiting tool set may be hard.) Web 2.0 isn’t a thing that anyone cares about. But web 2.0 will allow those who take advantage of it to give themselves a competitive advantage. Organizations that offer their data for others to build on will be cemented in the center of the new way of things. Others, who take advantage of that, will find their costs of starting up dramatically reduced.
One of the ‘blessings of liberty’ is that it makes possible this experimental froth. And from that chaos, from the innovation of experimenters and the dedication of those who build businesses around those innovations, cool new things emerge.