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Web 2.0 Summit Takeaways

November 10th, 2008 · 7 Comments

The theme for this year’s event was “Web Meets World.” So there were plenty of sessions on how ideas and technologies from the Web world can be used to transform other, large industries – the power grid, the food chain, the automotive industry, politics. Here are some key takeaways, as I see them:

Venture Capital: The VC scenario is going to be tough for the next 1-2 years. VCs have already been predicting doom and gloom, and advising their portfolio companies to hunker down, conserve the cash, and prepare for a long ‘winter.’ New ideas are going to get harder to find capital as the first priority for VCs is to ensure that the best amongst their portfolio have enough cash to last through the downturn given that liquidity events are going to be rare.

iPhone: The mobile data industry has been transformed by the iPhone. It not only improved the Internet browsing experience dramatically, but now it has also driven a whole cottage industry around applications. Apple has become a quasi-mobile operator, albeit a more benign one. There’s a lot of interest around iPhone applications development. Even though there are just about 15 million iPhones worldwide, the interest that has now been sparked in the concept of an Application Store and allowing users to directly download the apps of interest to them (and not being limited to the offerings provided by the mobile operator) is going to be the norm for the future.

Online Advertising: Given that much of the current Internet monetisation model is entirely around online display and search advertising, there was some discussion on what impact the downturn would have on advertising budgets. On this hinges the future of many companies in the Web ecosystem. It is still not clear on how much of a cut there will be in budgets – the coming months will give a clearer picture. The search for a model for monetising  social networks still goes on – while Facebook has made some steps in this direction with their Engagement Ads, much more needs to be done. Mobile Advertising is still very nascent and barely merited a discussion. The US is still very much a PC-centric market.

Cloud Computing and Platforms: Among the emerging technologies, the one which evoked a lot of discussion was the Cloud. It is The Next Big Thing. I have this theory that every 12 years, there is a big technological shift that starts to happen – in the early 1980s it was the PC, in the mid-1990s it was the Internet, and now it is the Cloud. Linked with the Cloud is the desire of every company (almost) to offer its Platform as a Service. The world of Cloud Computing is still nascent but holds much potential – and will probably create new winners and losers in the years to come.

Enterprise Social Networking: The tools that we use for personal social networking need to come to the Enterprise. Collaboration is the one area that needs an overhaul in the way we do things within the Intranet. The elemental ideas and services exist, but they still need to be put together in a way which made the likes of MySpace and Facebook the centre of the lives of so many people.

Web 2.0 for Other Verticals: As I mentioned earlier, what was very interesting about the Summit was the diversity of thought that came from the best minds in different verticals. Energy, Healthcare, Climate Change, the Food we Eat, the Cars we Drive – all are inexorably linked together, as technology begins to start driving disruptive change in different industries. Perhaps, the one which interested me most was the discussion on how Web 2.0 ideas were at the heart of the 2008 Elections.

Big Bets: The time to make Big Bets is Now. This may seem contradictory given the scarcity of capital that will be available, but this was something which many speakers mentioned. The World has big problems that need to be tackled and they cannot be tackled in isolation. With Obama at the helm, there is a feeling that cutting edge R&D and Big, Bold initiatives will help the US maintain its leadership even as it goes through an especially difficult downturn.

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7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Web 2.0 Summit Takeaways // Nov 10, 2008 at 5:56 am

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  • 4 taxidesign // Nov 10, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Once upon a time lived an emperor who spent all his money on the latest web technology. He did not care about the cost, or if the technology was easy to use; the only thing, he thought of was it had to be known as the latest and as one would say of a king “He is in his cabinet,” so one could say of him, “The emperor is updating his home Page!”
    One day two swindlers came to his city; they made people believe they could manufacture the finest web technology that can be imagined. They called it the Web 2.0! They said it had the wonderful quality of being invisible to any man who was unfit for his office or unpardonably stupid.
    “That must be a wonderful technology,” thought the emperor. “If I were to own web 2.0 I should be able to find out which men in my empire were unfit for their places. And he gave a large sum of money to the swindlers, in advance, that they should set to work without any loss of time. They set up two work stations, and pretended to be very hard at work, but they did nothing whatsoever.
    “I should very much like to know how they are getting on” thought the emperor. Personally, he was of opinion that he had nothing to fear, yet he thought it advisable to send somebody else first to see how matters stood.
    “I shall send my honest old minister to the developers,” thought the emperor. “He can judge best how it looks, for he is intelligent, and nobody understands his office better than he.”
    The good old minister went into the room where the swindlers sat before the empty desktops. “Heaven preserve us!” he thought, and opened his eyes wide, “I cannot see anything at all,” but he did not say so. Both swindlers asked him if he did not admire the exquisite Web 2.0 Platform and the beautiful Community Applications. The minister tried, but he could not see anything. “Oh dear,” he thought, “Can I be so stupid? No, I cannot say that I was unable to see the new technology.”
    “Now, have you got nothing to say?” said one of the swindlers, while he pretended to be busily coding.
    “Oh, it is exceedingly beautiful,” replied the old minister looking through his glasses. “What brilliant technology! I shall tell the emperor that I like it very much.” And so he did.
    Everybody in the whole town talked about the precious technology. At last the emperor wished to see it himself, while it was still on the ‘testing phase’. He went to the two swindlers. “Is it not magnificent?” said one of the statesmen who had been there before. “Your Majesty must admire the new Web 2.0!” And then they pointed to the empty webpage.
    “What is this?” thought the emperor, “I do not see anything at all. That is terrible! Am I unfit to be emperor?”
    “Really,” he said, turning to the developers, “Your technology has our most gracious approval.” All his attendants looked, and though they could not see anything, they said “It is very beautiful.”
    And all advised him to put up the new website on his homepage at a great procession.
    The previous night on which the procession was to take place, the swindlers pretended to work about in the air, and said at last: “The emperor’s new website using Web 2.0 is ready now.”
    The emperor deleted his old website, and the swindlers pretended to put the new site on.
    “I am ready,” said the emperor. “Does not my website look marvelous?” Then he turned once more to look at the website, that people should think he admired the new Web 2.0 technology.
    The emperor marched in the procession and all who saw him exclaimed: “Indeed, the emperor’s new website is incomparable!”
    “But I don’t see anything on the screen! The screen is just a blank page!” said a little child. “Good heavens! Listen to the voice of an innocent child,” said the father, and one whispered to the other what the child had said. “But there is nothing on the screen,” cried the whole people. That made a deep impression upon the emperor, for it seemed to him that they were right; but he thought to himself, “Now I must bear up to the end.”

  • 5 AJAYSANTHOSH // Nov 10, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    GOOD, NICE, INTERSTING

  • 6 links for 2008-11-11 » Johannes Kleske - tautoko weblog // Nov 11, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    [...] Web 2.0 Summit Takeaways Rajesh Jain über den Web 2.0 Summit: [...]

  • 7 Indo // Dec 16, 2009 at 1:35 am

    to many bug on Web 2.0 Summit

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