Web 2.0 – Is the world moving too fast for Web 2.0?

Good morning all

Apologies for the radio silence. I have been travelling and hence a delay. Among other things, I was in Berlin speaking at the Web 2.0 expo.

My impressions of this event were mixed. It was nice to meet everyone – and considering the work I am doing in German speaking counties with Web 2.0 and Enterprise social software/Enterprise 2.0; this was a useful event to attend due to it’s location.

However, my overwhelming impression was: The world is moving much more faster than Web 2.0 and the idea of Web 2.0 cannot keep up fast enough ..

Let me explain ..

Even during Tim O Reilly’s keynote on November 5 – I found myselves scanning my Blackberry for the Google phone announcement. Tim’s keynote was the same one he had given at a number of Web 2.0 events(by his own admission). Much of it was familiar to me. When it came to ‘latest developments’ with respect to Web 2.0 – Tim mentioned ‘Sensor networks’. This was interesting until I realised that he meant services like last.fm(in the sense that a network like last.fm ‘senses’ your music requirements and then suggests options to you based on what it has sensed)

Last.fm is all well and good but it is a relatively mature development.

My thoughts were on my Blackberry .. scanning the Google announcements ..

Maybe it was no coincidence that Web 2.0 arose in the 2002/2003 timeframe.

Web 2.0 was proposed in the post dot com era .. and the principles underlying Web 2.0 were created in the immediate aftermath of the dot com bust by Tim (2002 – 2003) when he asked the hypothetical question: what do the successful companies in the dot com era had in common?

The unsuccessful ones made the news from terms like ‘cash burn’ .. but what about the ones who had emerged as market leaders?

From that arose the whole idea of Web 2.0

However, my point is: In 2002/2003 we had the luxury of looking back because the market itself was stagnant. We no longer have that luxury in 2007 leading up to 2008.

My own talk on the impact of Mobile Web 2.0 on the Telecoms industry was focussed more on Social networking – and the idea of umbrella social networks i.e. social networks that span the Web and the Mobile Web.

So, as 2007 nears an end .. we have to ask ourselves .. is the world moving too fast for Web 2.0?

Should we look at last year(last.fm) or to the future?

Do we have the time to retrospectively abstract principles of successful companies when the Googles of the world are moving at a fantastic pace to dominate the web and the social networking arena?

Indeed Web 2.0 principles are still only now making headway in the Mobile and the Enterprise space .. but rate of change has increased dramatically for new principles to be abstracted by looking at the past ..


I wonder if anyone else had similar thoughts? Or is it that I am too familair with Web 2.0?

see synopsis of my talk in berlin :

Of Jesus lizards and King Kong: If the customer is King .. then metadata is King Kong ..


  1. Tim O'Reilly says:

    Hmmm –
    I think you misrepresent my talk a bit.
    I do agree that the world continues to evolve beyond the initial ideas in my 2005 web 2.0 paper — though I keep repeating them because, as I said in Berlin, people *still* don’t get some of the key principles, like how much the next leverage point is data, not software APIs. And the battle between the “one ring” and “small pieces loosely joined” operating system models is also very relevant (e.g. to facebook vs. opensocial).
    While I do think that the key principles I articulated are becoming the common wisdom for many, there are still lots of people who haven’t fully grasped them. Comments on the talk in Berlin were evenly split between “been there, heard that” and “inspirational and thought-provoking.” Depends on which part of the adoption curve you’re on.
    But clearly, we’re past the point where I have to keep pushing many of the ideas.
    Where you misrepresent my comments is regarding sensors. I used the last.fm example to show that *even* in Web 2.0 applications, we’re moving towards autonomic tracking rather than explicit contribution. But the real sensor examples I gave in the talk were Norwich Union’s “pay as you drive” insurance based on GPS data reporting, Microsoft’s photosynth, which treats the camera as a sensor, IMMI, which uses a mobile phone to “listen” for advertisements for Nielsen-style measurement services, Jaiku’s use of cell tower triangulation to report user location in a smart address book, and even Wesabe, which treats every credit card swipe as a kind of spending sensor, and every choice of spending as a “vote” on the popularity and price of merchants.
    I’m not sure how you missed these examples in the talk.
    I also talked quite a bit about social networks, and in particular how the phone has a huge repository of social network information just waiting to be tapped.

  2. Ajit Jaokar says:
  3. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know about you, but Web 2.0 is moving too fast for me. I’ve found a new social networking site every day now for 24 days in a row! How is a php programmer like me, supposed to compete with that! I have a few bright ideas every now and then, but I feel snuffed out in the flurry of the web. At this rate my ideas are becoming obsolete by the time I implement them. Depressing, isn’t it?