TECH TALK: Web 2.0 Conference: Observations

Jeff Jarvis summarized the conference:

Trust is an organizing principle. In our world of instant access to everything, we’ll get what we want we want with a little help from our friends — via links as a measure of trust (see Google and Technorati and more to come).

We want to control our data. There was much discussion of big, bad companies’ efforts to keep us by keeping control of our data: the roach motel strategy, as Steve Gillmor called it. They get our email (Yahoo) or our reputation (eBay) or our IM (AOL) and don’t want us to export or sync it with anyone else. But that is clearly a losing strategy.

Open source rules: Whether via Kim Polese’s new open-source-integrator business … or a couple of wiki businesses out to replace expensive enterprise software … or talk of the web, indeed, becoming our operating system … or calls to have interoperable and open standards on phone OSs …. or talk of the big, old software industry’s days being over … it’s clear that open-source is both the architecture and the culture of technology today.

RSS has arrived. I know, it had arrived before. But the RSS session in which I participated was jammed. RSS kept coming up in every tech presentation. There were lots of RSS vendors: Feedburner, Topix, Rojo.

Podcasting will arrive: Much buzz about the new platform for radio.

Martin Tobias had his own observations:

1. The web as a platform. This is the basic contention of web 2.0. If web 1.0 was about making the web safe for people, web 2.0 is about making it safe for computers. The next generation of web applications will leverage the shared infrastructure of the web 1.0 companies like EBay, Paypal, Google, Amazon, and Yahoo, not just the “bare bones transit” infrastructure that was there when we started all those companies in the late 90s (UUNet, Exodus, doubleclick,, etc.). This fact is fundamental to the next generation of entrepreneurs thinking about companies today.

2. Search is going to see major innovation over the next 12 months. Just when you thought Google had it all tied up, here comes the next generation. Some are calling it personalization, some local search, whatever you call it, you can think about it like this: The mass of web links was tamed and organized into a card catalog by Yahoo but it was still too hard to find relevant stuff, so Google reduced the process to one box with superior results. Having simplified the massively complex web to one box, we are not aching for more control, more customization, etc. Next generation search will go away from simplification into personalization and user control of the search results.

3. China is the most important country in the internet’s futureBasically if you are not paying attention to the China internet market you are not watching the future of the internet.

4. There are many people ready and willing to run up the hill again. After the meltdown of 2000-2003, I had some serious concerns about who would be stupid enough to run up the innovation hill again after such a bloodbath. Luckily, the spirit of entrepreneurship is very resilient and the successful are coming back (as well as a new crop).

Tomorrow: Observations (continued)

TECH TALK Web 2.0 Conference+T

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.