November 11th, 2006

Web 2.0 Enters the Post Paradigm Shift Phase

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The signature experience of the Web 2.0 Summit was hearing the roar of the schmoozing, networking crowd out in the hall every time the door to main conference session room was opened — there was the distinct sense that there was more excitement outside the conference than inside the conference. If you wanted to meet potential investors and partners, Web 2.0 was the place to be. This was by no means a poor reflection on the conference program — John Battelle is a great interviewer, and he went mano-a-mano with a who’s who of the industry, asking tough, probing questions to which no one seemed able to give very satisfying answers. But there were few revelations, few moments where you had the exhilarating experience of seeing something that was about to change the world. Every conversation I had began with discussing the underwhelming nature of Web 2.0, as Richard MacManus and Liz Gannes expressed in their conference wrap-ups.

The paradigm shift phase is over — Web 2.0 entered the hard, unsexy phase of figuring out how to build long-term sustainable businesses. There were many obligatory references to the fantastic potential of online video — but as to what the BUSINESS of online video will look like, there weren’t many insights beyond the obvious observation that everyone hates pre-roll ads. Microsoft dazzled with its Photosynth three-dimensional photo visualizations software — but they made no pretense to knowing what businesses might emerge from this technology.

One of my favorite moments at Web 2.0 was listening to Jeff Bezos talk about Amazon’s Web Services. Extending Amazon’s infrastructure to offer “pay by the sip” resources for scaling online infrastructure seemed so perfectly logical as Bezos described it. Battelle asked Bezos the obvious question of why a retailer would get into web services? Bezos’ answer — Why not? We’ve got excess infrastructure. We run a high volume, low margin business. Duh.

Another great moment was hearing Microsoft’s Ray Ozzie argue that the web as operating system is not (yet) a panacea — there are some things that offline local client applications still do better — like provide truly reliable, instantaneous applications. Although Microsoft as a deep vested interest in offline software, Ozzie’s argument was compelling and well articulated. Marissa Mayer later talked about Google’s struggle to meet user expectations for fast, reliable application in an online environment. Companies like Omnidrive and Zimbra bragged about online/offline integration.

The infrastructure for Web 2.0 is still in a transitional period. The network is not ubiquitous, not entirely reliable — web applications simulate the ideal user experience, but don’t yet fully deliver it. The web as operating system will eventually be a reality, but online business strategy needs to be anchored in the realization that we’re not there yet.

Comments (15 Responses so far)

  1. Nouvelles fonctionnalités auxquelles vont s’ajouter les services intégrés de SpikeSource, le prêt-à-l’emploi des infrastructures Open Source pour une interopérabilité maximale entre logiciels et applications. N’en déplaise à Ray Ozzie, pour qui « le Web comme système d’exploitation n’est pas (encore) la panacée, vu qu’il reste bien des choses que les clients offline font mieux en local, en fournissant des applications fiables et instantanées

  2. ReviewMe Experiment: Lessons Learned 2 hours 25 min old ReviewMe Creates a Currency and Marketplace for Buying Influence 23 hours 59 min old Web 2.0 Enters the Post Paradigm Shift Phase 1 day 3 hours old The Deep Structural Problem of Advertising 2.0 3 days 18 hours old The Absent Network 3 days 23 hours old

  3. Web 2.0 is so over. First came the tepid reviews of the third annual 2.0 boondoggle. “If you were looking to learn something new,” sniffed GigaOm’s Liz Gannes, “this week’s Web 2.0 Summit was not the place to be.” Wrote a jaded Scott Karp, “there were few revelations, few moments where you had the exhilarating experience of seeing something that was about to change the world. Every conversation I had began with discussing the underwhelming nature of Web 2.0.” “I

  4. evolution of web innovation that is coming. Lets back up for a second. Most marketers still cannot even grasp the concept of web 2.0 because they cannot grasp the true concept of combining all marketing efforts together to create one coherent message. I am not saying that

  5. Clip Source: publishing2.com

  6. Originally uploaded by benbarren. Hehe, brainmush today, but alot of exercise has helped supplant some depleted chi with endorphins : Over in the Valley though, they have $3k Web 2.0 Summit tickets, Lou Reed and the corridors of conversation. It all reminds me of the start of Michael Wolff’s Burn Rate, which by memory starts in a near identical Dot Com Conference although I do like Intel’s SuiteTwo depending on how the implementation of the different API’s work – And similarly

  7. Web 2.0 is so over. First came the tepid reviews of the third annual 2.0 boondoggle. “If you were looking to learn something new,” sniffed GigaOm’s Liz Gannes, “this week’s Web 2.0 Summit was not the place to be.” Wrote a jaded Scott Karp, “there were few revelations, few moments where you had the exhilarating experience of seeing something that was about to change the world. Every conversation I had began with discussing the underwhelming nature of Web 2.0.

  8. link

  9. Web 2.0 Enters the Post Paradigm Shift Phase » Publishing 2.0

  10. Grace Nationville

    a similar lack of ‘ah-ha moments’ is expressed in other web 2.0 summit coverage. of course this has to do with the conference attendees’ demographics, which leads to your point about finding ourselves in the post paradigm shift phase.
    change this crowed to a more entertainment focused, and you’ll find plenty of ah-ha, o-lalal, and even a few wow!
    it is the future dialogs between those two groups that will continue to fuel the web 2.0 fire. Thanks for conference coverage.

  11. [...] Web 2.0 Enters the Post Paradigm Shift Phase Very true – Web 2.0 companies are still trying to figure out their business models. This is the true challenge for entrepreneurs. (tags: Web2 Web2.0) [...]

  12. [...] It was perhaps more than a little strange to read Scott Karp’s epitaph of the Web 2.0 Summit today, in particular his description of Ray Ozzie’s presentation, in which Ozzie apparently argued “that the web as operating system is not (yet) a panacea — there are some things that offline local client applications still do better — like provide truly reliable, instantaneous applications”, on yet another day in which I’ve done almost all of my wordpro on Google Docs. [...]

  13. [...] It’s easy to embrace the New York Times hype about Web 3.0 — Web 2.0 hasn’t built that many successful businesses yet, so why not drop it already and mover on to the next big thing so that we can keep pumping up start-up valuations for bigger exits? Rapid software releases may be the new development paradigm, but we shouldn’t forget that the objective is to make the software work — and make the business work. The evolution to a digital, networked world may require several “software releases,” but let’s not get deluded into looking for another evolutionary phase over the horizon — the one we’re in is going to take a long time to work itself out. And it’s going to be hard work. [...]

  14. Maybe a conference is not where to find out what’s happening with Web 2.0 in the enterprise. Maybe we need to get out — and into — the companies themselves who have to deal with day to day business issues. Also, let’s not just focus on “knowledge workers” as end users. Not every one who benefits from sharing or collaboration in the workplace is a knowledge worker.

  15. [...] GigaOm’s Liz Gannes, “this week’s Web 2.0 Summit was not the place to be.” Wrote a jaded Scott Karp, “there were few revelations, few moments where you had the exhilarating [...]

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