This is the full text of the my talk at the European parliament covering Web 2.0, Mobile Web 2.0 and beyond. I spoke at an evening meeting and then another breakfast session the next day on the social web
There are three key themes I was covering in both my talks
a) The future of Web 2.0 is mainly about Mobile Web 2.0(in addition to Enterprise Web 2.0 – which was not the topic of my discussion)
b) Europe already has expertise with Mobile. Hence, Europe should leverage that existing knowledge base into the world of mobility and convergence based on Open standards. However, if we don’t adopt the spirit of the Web, we will lose that expertise
c) The third topic of my discussion was ‘engagement’ i.e. as politicians, Web 2.0 and Mobile Web 2.0 offers the opportunity for politicians to engage with the people – not just at election times(as Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama are doing brilliantly) – but also in a much more ongoing fashion(like MEP Piia-Noora Kauppi is doing through video blog on YouTube)
I must admit I was not quite sure what to expect with this audience – considering that
a) This was not my usual tech audience
b) This is the very first time either Web 2.0 or Mobile Web 2.0 has been discussed at this forum before.
However, I was pleasantly surprised at how my message was received and also how engaged the audience actually was. I have already mentioned specific quotes from Malcolm Harbour MEP, Piia-Noora Kauppi MEP and Bartho Pronk of the European commission - but overall, everyone was keen to understand and engage with the brave new world of Web 2.0, Mobile Web 2.0 – with questions ranging from Identity, net neutrality, the ‘dark side’ of the Social Web(i.e. cyber bullying etc etc), Long Tail education and so on.
So, my talk was as follows ..(10 mins)
Show of hands –
Who has heard of Web 2.0? (Many hands!)
Who understands Web 2.0? (A few brave souls ..)
When Basecamp asked 1000 of their customers what Web 2.0 meant to them:
13% answered that they didn‘t know what it was 87% who answered yes on the question, nearly everybody came up with a different description
So, you are in good company ..
What is Web 2.0
I follow the Tim O Reilly definitions as much as you can .. and so should you!
a) Web as a platform:
pets.com TV(vs. Google)
Can you build a web of mainframes?
Only the Web can connect the smallest farmer in Africa to the rest of the
b) Harnessing collective intelligence : Google page rank
The platform is the Internet, On the Internet, the rules are different. Information sharing is actually better than information hoarding. With enough people sharing information – you build a database and the database becomes bigger and better with incremental users
If it is so simple, why don’t people get it?
a) Some don’t want to understand it
b) Some have their own agendas(dreams of defining Web 3.0!),
c) Some see it as ‘software and not data’ and
d) Some others see it as a part and not the whole(Ajax, mashups etc)
User enhanced databases – Amazon reviews
On the Internet, you build a product that gets better as you harness the intelligence of the users. Hence, users must contribute. Amazon is a commodity business on one hand (you can’t get more commodity than selling books!) but has implemented many small Web 2.0 innovations(like reviews) so that they are far away from the commodity.
Web 2.0 is all about building systems that get better the more people use them
• People are sharing more – esp. personal information.(ex Twitter)
• In an era of commoditization, people are looking to express themselves ..
• What is the difference between a song and a ringtone: A song is something you consume vs. ringtone is something you display. Hence ringtone has ‘more’ value than the song even when it is a poor copy of the song
• As computers become commoditised .. people buy the Apple for what it means!(and less for what it does) – i.e. a means of expression
Beyond Web 2.0
• Enterprise Web 2.0 and Mobile Web 2.0
• Mobile Web 2.0 = Harnessing collective intelligence from mobile devices
• Location/tags etc
Top 6 areas to look for …
b) Mobile TV – and to me that’s increasingly DVB-H
c) Mobile payments
d) WiFi and Wimax(More the connectivity – the better)
e) Opening networks
f) Long tail education ..
I was born in India and am a naturalised British citizen and by extension a European citizen. So, I have an interest in fostering a vision that benefits the European union ..
The future belongs to pockets of technical excellence ..
As my friend from Tel Aviv said to me once: ‘We Israelis don’t do web 2.0’. That’s an astute observation. Israel has technical competence in security, communications and networking. India – has a more broad based business software experience. Brazil is developing expertise in bio fuels.
So, I ask you as MEPs .. if we fast forward the next few years .. what technical area do we want to dominate? What technical legacy will we leave our children?
And I propose to you – that it is ‘Mobile’
We already have an ecosystem in GSM and we have world leading mobile companies in Nokia and Ericsson based here.
Let us not look to the east – nor the west
We lead America i.e. the West (for once!) with mobile technology ..
Let us not look to the East(Korea and Japan) for innovation. Yes, a lot has been achieved there – but based on closed standards. That innovation is not globally technologically scaleable.
What we are doing here in Europe is fostering innovation based on Open standards and the ethos of the Web. That innovation is globally scaleable and is (globally) inclusive.
In a world of contribution(Web 2.0) – cooperation is a competitive advantage.
Many thanks to for their help especially to the following
EIF and especially Peter Linton and
Sean Krepp of Nokia
And finally, an interview of me on Piia’s video blog on YouTube