JB Notes on NYSIA – Web 2.0 Wave of the future

JB Notes on NYSIA – Web 2.0 Wave of the future
monday, 20060123

ed note: sorry this is so ugly, but its better than nothing

NYSIA is pitching its publicity svcs: a newsletter. “i don’t know why ppl aren’t using this” he’s begging. and he couldn’t be less “new media” or “web 2.0” if he tried.

++++++ WEb 2.0 Decoded – Howard Greenstein
howardgreenstein.com has a copy of these ppt slides

Tim O’Reilly coined the term, drew up a meme-map

– users control the data

HG doesn’t know the word “tag cloud”

is the new model of publishing a mass amateuization

Key pts:
– web qua platform
you control yr data
data is remixable
sortware as svcs, w interfaces to which others can attach
petretual beta tests
users are trusted allies
long tail (everybody drink!)

+++ User Generated Content

SNS’s
flicker (sic)
del.icio.us

tristan louis – openness encourages sites to grow

bness slang for network models
“tension trust”
“root market”

suprglu.com – aggragates tags for flickr, myspace, del.icio.us, etc

LAMP = linux/apache/PHP or Perl or Python and MySQL – basically, anyone but M$

excite founder: its an order of magnatide cheaper to start jotspot today than excite during dotcom

what is AJAX?
what is long tail

+++ Panel

Bob Wyman – CTO of PubSub.com; “searching the future”. rather than indexing pre-existing pages, they record what yr looking for–like a subscription?–and pushing it to you via IM clients.

“web 2.0 tailors data to the machines so that machines can do the thinking”

Fred Wilson – VC

Joshua Schacter – del.icio.us, spent a while on wall street “del is a social system for sharing–FOR NOW–bookmarks” (emphasis added) “tags are the things i invented by renaming ‘keywords'”

Dennis Crowley – dodgeball.com, mobile SNS. “technology that facilitates serendipity”. txt msg dodgeball and they’ll buzz you when a friend comes in

+++ Panel Qs

++ What’s the big deal w Web 2.0? Is this new technology or new uses of tech?

DC – the tech’s been around forever, we’re finding new sociual uses. we’ll supply the framework, the users will supply the content

JS – user-created content was here in web 1.0 (eg cddb, imdb). the big diff is PHP. now anyone can build anything. lowering the transaction cost of 1) making a new thing and 2) talking about it

FW – web 2.0 is an oxymoron bc the whole notion of naming software releases sequentially is exactly what web-point-oh (verbal slip) isn’t. they iterate their software for daily or weekly and ship it whenever

BW – in the 90s, technology stopped dvlping bc everyone was worried abotu deployment. web 2.0 is the coming back around again, not necessarily a tech’y change but a realization that we need to come back around again

+++ ?

JS – i think web svcs are nice, but i don’t see ppl creating things using other APIs. the incluencers build stuff, but the top tier aren’t consumers of APIs. APIs are useful to ppl, and are effective advertising

DC – when a feature isn’t offered, ppl use APIs to roll their own. eg Flickr/Google Maps

FW – “the consumer version of real web svcs”. the thing that concerns me about w2.0 is that its getting a lot less expensive to build these things, and that makes it really hard to get a handle on what’s out there. its commoditizing the value propesition of existing web svcs. it leads me to question whether this is a good place to invest in from a financial POV. 2003 might have really been the sweet spot; that’s when del and dodge came out. VC moved in around 2004. its w1.0 all over again; we’ve seen this movie before, and we all know how it ends.

we’re flooded by web svcs, but i’m not seeing a flood of viable bnesses. small players using AdSense or something to generate $5-10k/mo, and that’s a great model for them, but not investors.

BW – more ppl are making small amts of money. (sounds like the long tail to jb). we’ve seen the same thing w componentization in technology. we diesigned a strategy: put down a platform w/ an interface that would make it easy for ppl to add value (now its evolved to .net), the idea being if its easy to dvlp, ppl will dvlp. the easier it is to build a component, the more likely it is to be commoditized. facing the competition for commodity, though, they won’t be albe to build platforms. they’ll never be able to play w the big boys. they think they’re building great bnesses, but they’re really just sustanace-lvl survival. the platform builders are capturing all the value.

++ Q: What’s Missing?

FW – the problem w consumer-facing web svcs is that they can’t be subscription-based unless yr delivering a LOT of value. so yr stuck w a media model, the problem w which is that you either use a self-svc system like AdSense (you’ll make a little $$$, but not a lot) or you can go out and build yr own advertising infrastructure, which is pretty hard to do.

JS – this is some downer-talk, but i have a buddy who runs a forum that pays his mortgage. he did it for yrs, w no renumeration. that’s neat. i think the stuff fred’s gonna look for is the stuff that changes the system, changes teh way to change the flow. we’ve got money-flow, attn-flow. seach engines are a big new thing in that they change the attn-flow, they change the transaction cost for finding information. now we can monetize small amts of attn usefully.

BW – by lowering the barriers to entry, there’s a huge boost in innovation. teh downside, is that its harder to capitalize on each individual innovation. but the system as a whole enjoys a positive boost by large inovation.

FW – i think its disappointing that two of hte most sucessful consumer facing web svcs got sold before we could figure out if they could get monetized–skype and myspace. if they’d stayed independant we may have seen a more interested bness model.

BW – M$ is coming out w new RSS and aggregation, and that means that innovation is gonna come to a screeching halt. it used to be IBM that did this, now its M$, it’ll probably be google. once the 800lb gorilla is shipping code for free, innovation screeches to a halt.

FW – this is what pisses me off; $1.99 for a tv show ruins the bness model. why should i pay for something i get for free?

DC – the inovation is all at ITP; everything starts at a hobby. a lot of the innovation is coming from small products.

++ Q: when i graduated ITP in 94, the hot new thing was streaming jpgs. they used it for porn and made a mint. So far i’ve heard: its scratching yr own itch, its finding yr own needs, solving them, and exporting it to other ppl. FW, you said that there’s too much to track; what’s hit yr radar lately?

FW – ppl hit me w that every day–“you need to check this out”. but what changed my way of behaving? I add something to my bag of tricks about once a month, lately i got into last.fm. this is a trend i like called “myware”, which is basically spying on yrself and using it to discover what i like and what other ppl w similar interests like.

JS – web-based multiplayer games; click once or twice a day. my citibank acct is more interactive than most online games. i’m facinated that there’s a UI model that scales to something very complicated, while games dont. i feel that there’s something there. the flickr guys were a game company first; all this technology (AJAX, LAMP) hasn’t been brought into the gaming world.

BW – what’s interesting to me is that we’re not using w1.0 terms. no “sites”. we’re not talking about places, we’re talking about svcs. that’s a BIG difference. we’re talking about logic [computation] rather than data.

JS – a lot of this stuff isn’t paid for. ppl want to go in and get it for free, and if they ahve to pay to play its very expensive to go it. Would you pay $5/mo for CL? (someone shouts “yes!”). JS – NO! you might use it, but not enough other ppl do.

FW – pulling out yr wallet’s a pain in the ass. flickr figured it out though. once i was into it, paying another $24 to go pro was the easiest deciscion i ever made.

BW – bezos said “w1.0 is for ppl, w2.0 is for machines”. blogging is all verse written online. we’ve built up all these closed systems. we need a semantic web. structured blogging allows the machines to parse this stuff. the idea is to get structured publishing back on track, this is an old idea, its from the 1980s.

Q: what do you think of microformats?

BW – there’s an activity, which is structuring semantics. MFs are one style to structure the content. its one of many ways of adding structure. a lot of ppl like XML.

Q: i’ll rephrase; what’s the added value?

FW – you’ve got millions of ppl contributing data, but there’s no way to filter the chaff. i don’t want to HAVE to go to Zagats, or MenuPages to get “week-old italian rest reviews in soho”.

JS – that’s fine, but how do we bootstrap it? it sounds great if everyone does it, but if not everyone does it, its nowhere.

DC – but now we’ve got 3 or 4 formats

BW – don’t worry about that, the geeks will worry about that. the important thing is to train ppl to structure teh content.

FW – as a content provider, i don’t want to structure; right now, i’m jsut talking about it. i think the way to do it is to let the USERS structure the content int he process of consuming the content and make it re0usable over time.

JS – the value proposition here is “everyone do a little more work so the aggragators can get going”. its a matter of using indicative data; if someone posts a amazon URL, you know there’s a book.

BW – this is why we have no tools for reading stuctured content, bc we want to prove that ppl will do it even though there’s no way to read it. we want to prove that ppl will structure bc it makes sense to them. look at incredibooks.com. These are homeschooled kids writing book reviews, the site looks good–they could never do it if we didn’t give thems structred tools. They can utilize the templates, the prettyness, the cover art, etc. it just so HAPPENS that the strcuture remains in the post.

+++ AUD QUESTIONS

Q: Why are GOOG and YHOO valuable?

BW – platform produceers are the place to be

DC – we chose GOOG, they didn’t choose us. we didn’t want to run a bness, we wanted to do research.

JS – i don’t think del is a platform play, its a media and attn play. we had insane traffic , and ppl we’re reading it, not using it.

Q: is web2.0 a big lawsuit waiting to happen? what happens when the user-content producers want to move their content?

BW – non-issue. now ppl own the data. publish on yr site, and we don’t need book reviews on AZN; the reviews will come from the writer’s sites.

FW – no way. unless you go F/OSS & run on yr own server, you are contributing to someone else’s system. if i were to lose it, i’d lose lots of value.

BW – the bness model is selling ads to communities you build

JS – del has an open API and you can take yr ball and go home.

FW – but how many ppl do that?

DC – that’s the problem w SNSs. Fster and MySpace lock you in.

BW – old Garnen systems are built ot suck you in and not let you out

Q: i find it interesting that i have differnet identities and differnt personas. how will w2.0 facilitate me keeping it together?

JS – some ppl want to bring multiple IDs together, other ppl want them kept seperate. its probably a safer world in which no one has figureed that out yet.

BW – ID has been concived of as a byproduct of walled gardens. its not related to you, its not yr tag for you, its THEIR tag for you. A tremendous amt of what goes on is the bness model of taking ID and selling it back to you.

Q: ???

FW – CLI is so much more efficient than GUI for most things.

BW – in the 70s and 80s, CLIs were great–for us. But we had to start building for Desktop users, and they didn’t get this stuff. So we did research, and found out how offices worked. And that’s how the desktop metaphors came about. It made a lot of sense at the time, but now ppl are saying “gee, this is cumbersome”.

FW – so maybe we’ve outgrown the physical metaphor.

Q: shirky defined social software as “stuff that gets spammed”. how do you solve that?

BW – understand that del may not be subject to that. there’s 1st person tagging (“I’m the author and i’m writing about this”) and 3rd person tagging, which is what del is about. turns out the motivations are very diff. 1st person is interested in attracting audience. 3rd person tagger is more interested in DESCRIBING the object that’s so-tagged. generally you’ll find that 3rd person is more useful.

JS – its all about Attention Theft. attn is valuable, and ppl try ot divert it everywhere. i haev a lot of behavioural info about the users; right now its easy to spot spammers.

DC – dodgeball needs to be tied to a workign mobile number. that makes it pretty easy to spot spam. w.in a closed social network, you can only reach yr immediate network. if we give users the tools to manage, they’ll manage.

FW – spammers should be flogged

BW – there was a time, when the net was young…

JS – “my spam filter ate yr mail” has become a accepted social excuse. that’s really interesting.

Q: what’s the investment picture? and: w2.0: tech’l progression or mkting hype?

FW – we’re overexposed again. copycats are the antithesis of innovation. inoovation comes when there’s no obvious thing to do, no easy thing to do. i would suggest innovation is inversely correclated w periods of hype and excess capital.

JS – we all started companies that predate the term “web2.0”

BW – when you componentize, there’s a flurry of lots of little innovation. its not Big Problem stuff that the VCs like.

DC – w2.0 is all the stuff that we had as hobbies before we got fired in the dotcom days.

JS – its interesting in that the hype works both ways. you can go home and work on things instead of being depressed. but VCs would say “we’re interested in ‘web 2.0′” and we’d drink a shot.

FW – the term “w2.0” was a reasonable term at the time; the second incaration of the web. ther’s a historical story there. but this is a cyclical bness

BW – there’s a lot of mkting hype, but there’re a lot of good ideas too.

*** – jb ideas – what about a mspace/ fster scraper. this data isn’t that hidden; free the data!

ID problem: is anonymity a recent blip? for most of human history we used to live in schtetls and evreyone knew everyone [‘s bness].

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