During web 1.0, I was a skeptic and pretty vocal about it. Before my research was finished, I presented in Atlanta (12/99) when market caps were high for the digital apostles I was tracking. Most of the presentation was tongue and cheek, but is somewhat prescient looking at it today. I wrote this column for Phil Wainewright’s aspnews.com site which was also published as an op-ed in Computerworld for the user community. When the back-breaking, risky 300-page market research report on what I called the “e-services” market was published in April 2000, I joined one of these start-ups myself. You see, through the course of doing the research, I became a believer too. I fell in love with the first Internet revolution and its massive societal-changing promise. Of course, like most companies in that first run up, the start-up crashed. I felt like I, in particular, should have known better than to have fallen for such an idealistic infatuation.
I read with interest Michelle Manafy’s editorial in eContent. This is the second time I’ve heard the Soylent Green, “It’s made of people!” reference in the web 2.0 crowd. This time it gets attributed to Ross Mayfield. I know when I have said, “It’s the people, stupid.” I’m not talking about cannibalism and annihilation; I’m talking about liberation. I’m not talking about overpopulation; I’m talking about a billion Internet users– sharing and doing. Interestingly enough, the tagline for our 2000 start-up was a question– “what happens when everyone’s connected to everything?” Less death. More rebirth.
So, maybe we should start considering a different indie flick? or maybe something more mainstream, if the mission is to turn perception positive on Enterprise 2.0, eh? Manafy’s a great writer and her community is extremely important to the new office generation. For instance, I just received the best presentation (a 100-slide deck) I’ve ever seen on web 2.0 yesterday. It didn’t come from Dion Hinchcliffe; it wasn’t something I found on techcrunch or wasn’t even something I could have gotten my hands on privately as an Enterprise Irregular. It came to me from Molecular, a consulting firm part of the Isobar network of Interactive Agencies. And oh, the reason I was reading Manafy is because Shiv Singh (Avenue A|Razorfish) referred to it in his blog.
Web 2.0 inside the firewall isn’t all work and no play, though. Singh has suggested to clients that there are fun ways to use the interactive processes for “prediction markets,” which harness group intelligence. For example, if a company has six ad campaigns under consideration, they can create a space where employees can “trade shares” on the ideas. “Then execs can see the activity that happens around an idea,” he says.
While Web 2.0 may or may not live up to its press, nobody can scoff at the ability of its underlying technologies to enable some of the Internet’s founding principles. As Singh says, “Collectivism is very big.”
Referencing the slide above… Now, one film we might consider could be Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The “throw out your dead” scene, in particular, is working for me. I was chatting with Cognizant’s Malcolm Frank Friday who is not dead (“Yes you are! No I’m not!”), and he was telling me that, in fact, Bob Gett, Gordon Brooks, and few others from web 1.0 are back in the Internet or IT services game. Of course, Jerry Greenberg has found Internet religion again. So maybe the Holy Grail is attainable in web 2.0. I’m not skeptical this time ’round. And it’s really early.
Incidentally, for all ITSinsiders who haven’t heard yet. the weirdest development for those with long memories, is last week’s announcement that Jim Sims was named to EDS’ board of directors. Can someone send that cart to Dallas? 🙂