Monday, March 27, 2006

Has Web 2.0 jumped the shark already?

There's two rules to live by when looking at technology trends/fads. First (it's an old but true joke) be wary when newly-minted MBAs start jumping in and founding companies in a particular field en masse. Most MBAs aren't risk-seeking (otherwise we wouldn't gone after an MBA ;)) hence why the vast majority of successful startups come from plucky engineers (Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, eBay, and on and on) who bucked conventional wisdom. There are exceptions (feel free of course to confidently invest in any and all future companies I may start), but when the non-risky folk start jumping into something, its no longer a technology trend to follow, but a fad to be cautious of.

The second sign of the end is when any glossy periodical starts talking up a particular trend. One clear example was a great article in Fortune on the Real Estate gold rush. Literally within 2-3 months the market for flipping real estate fell apart. From Digital Tech News, Newsweek apparently is headlining Web 2.0 in their next edition "Putting the WE in Web". Ack. Not only is the title as trite as "Putting the EW in Newsweek" but its a misnomer. User-generated content and social-networking is only one of many drivers of these models. Usually by the time traditional media brands something as next generation, the real innovation has moved on...


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