Very Bubble Web 2.0, Web 3.0 Article
Here’s some great reading for a post-Thanksgiving, Monday morning food hangover. If you were looking for more evidence that we’re in another .com bubble (something I’ve been predicting for a while), here it is. The article makes many points which are totally hype and ridiculous, if you think about them with any semblance of objectivity.
1. San Francisco is the place to be, because you bump into other entrepreneurs in the coffee shop – everybody who’s anybody is starting a tech company with everybody else. Yet later in the same article, another tech-head says he employs people in a dozen countries. So I guess basing a company in Silicon Valley means the founders schmooze in an “urban warehouse” and at “Buck’s of Woodside” while they outsource the actual work overseas? Makes sense to me.
2. People who know little about tech are getting in. There is mention of people motivated by networking, by celebrity, and the get-rich-quick-scheme of building your business and selling it to Google (which of course, hit $500 a share), sure to attract all newly-minted MBAs. There is even a hint to videographers, writers, and artists that now is the time to move back to the Bay Area and get back the job you lost the first time around. Yeah, it’s always a great idea to start a tech company or work for one when your primary motivation has nothing to do with technology. At least this article calls a spade a spade: “flipping.” I believe the allusion to the sinking housing market is intentional. The Casey Serins of the world can latch onto Web 2.0, now.
3. Gratuitous nods to the folks who already made it big. Any bubble article has to have a list of companies that already cashed in, and this one has it in spades: MySpace, YouTube, PayPal, Google, and even mentions all the VC folks in Woodside riding horses among the eucalyptus trees with Michelle Pfieffer, Steve Jobs, Neil Young… (every name dropped seems to inflate the bubble further) – the implication being that if you get in on this, someday you too can eat a vegan breakfast burrito and feel bad for not having “jet money.” Has anybody recreated Woodside in Second Life?
4. Web 3.0. As if all this Web 2.0 hype wasn’t enough, there are several paragraphs devoted to Web 3.0 which I guess must be in alpha since Web 2.0 isn’t even out of beta. I guess if you want to leap past the social-networking-user-content-podcast-AJAX thing, you can jump into the “global mind.” Maybe this big idea will involve hiring an entire third-world nation (one of the African ones might do) to tag everyone’s data.
5. Lastly, a list of companies nobody in the Midwest has heard of are the next big things. This part of the article reminded me the most of Web 1.0. – a list of new companies and the “old” Web 1.0 ones they are replacing. Yelp is the new Craigslist. Pandora is the new iTunes. Loopt is the new MySpace. I seem to recall people thought eToys was the new Toys R Us, too. The sock puppet will soon be back, this time shilling Amici’s pizza. You know it.
Anyhow, once again I’m watching with amusement to see how this all plays out. I suggest reading What Jobs and Woz Want You To Know for some perspective on why starting a company can still be great – I just hope people continue to do so for admirable reasons.