(This column is part of an ongoing series on “India’s Next Decade”.)
Look back to 1994-95. That was the time Mosaic had just been launched by the team led by Marc Andressen (who later co-founded Netscape). HTML made it so easy to create web pages. The hyperlinks made it possible to connect documents together and from a user’s point of view, leap across worlds just like the mind navigates through ideas. Experiencing the 1994 World Wide Web was like a million mind bombs going off. Suddenly, there were so many opportunities, so many possibilities. Suddenly, there seemed to be infinite futures imaginable.
Look even further back (perhaps, to the 1980s) to the first we time we interacted with a computer – in school, college, at work or at home. Remember that feeling? It was man and machine in communion, like a different world which was opening up in front of us. My first experiences with a computer was in 1983 when a friend showed me his new ZX-Spectrum at home and my father bought one for his office. I was in college then. I still remember wanting to rush to the office and try and out the new BASIC program I had written. I even made a game which would play out one-day cricket matches. I also programmed the Monopoly game. That rush of excitement, that feeling of exhilaration, the notion that anything is possible, that the old way of doing things is now going to change, that a new order is emerging – its coming back.
Cut to Kevin Werbach of Release 1.0:
Listen carefully. The old grassroots energy is coming back. Web services, Weblogs and WiFi are the new WWWThe new WWW makes software, content and connectivity into resources that may be shaped and combined into new ways. The three new W’s all have openness and critical mass going for them. They are built on standards, and have managed to gain the support of large platform vendors and independent developers alike.
(Esther Dyson’s Release 1.0 should know. Dyson has chronicled the PC revolution since 1975. Tech Talk too has covered these topics in the past few months: Web Services, Blogging and Wireless. Also read: Emerging Enterprises and Emergent Networks.)
Email, Instant Messaging and the Web have glued us together. Hundreds of millions of computers, cellphones and people are now inextricably connected together. But this is just a small beginning. There is much about life and business which can be made
better. There are still hundreds of millions in the emerging markets of the world who are not yet fully integrated into the global network because technology is still too expensive for them.
XML, XML-RPC, SOAP, WSDL, UDDI, Oultiners, OPML, Weblogs, RSS, 802.11 are the Legos for the new emerging world.What is now interesting is to see how the new WWW can be put together to spark the Next Revolution, one which will be driven more by the grassroots, the bottom of the (enterprise) pyramid. This is the set of opportunities our generation has to build new companies, and perhaps, a new India.