I heard this soundbite today (pronounced “web two dot over”) as Silicon Valley’s response to the crisis in the financial markets, declining consumer spending, and the imminent recession.
In many ways, I think it’s true.
- Many of the previously-unconstrained-by-revenue web 2.0 startups are in for a reality check.
- I attended the now-famous Sequoia “Rest in Peace Good Times” meeting and indeed sat in the front row. While I concur with Sequoia that this is a big structural problem that will take years to unwind, I think it will impact different companies in different ways. (And you have to love the Whiner Jenkins parody in response.)
- Heck, even the father of Web 2.0, Tim O’Reilly, urged startups to get serious and stop delivering silly software.
- Because web 2.0 startups were less capital-intensive, it seems that there are way more of them. And, oh, are some of the names painful. I won’t miss Weebly, Zlio, and Yoono.
- Heck, there was even the famous web 2.0 bubble video by The Richter Scales, a sure sign that things were coming to a head.
However, in many ways, I think the Web 2.0ver assertion is not true at all. In fact, it almost misses the point. While a swarm of eyeball-catching, oddly-named, twenty-something-led startups may get obliterated, that wasn’t the point of web 2.0 (outside venture circles, at least). To me, web 2.0 was, is, and will remain, an important collection of concepts that will endure:
- A read/write web, where we can participate, update, annotate, comment, link, tag, etc
- A social web, where there is awareness of relationships that can be leveraged appropriately
- User-generated content, which is here to stay and, in fact, always has been (think: radio call-in shows, Kids Say the Darndest Things, or America’s Funniest Home Videos)
- The use of the web for communication and entertainment. People are natural communicators. We will always adapt our tools to that fundamental need.
- A personalized web, that understands what we like and how we like to get it
These concepts — and others — came with web 2.0, and perhaps despite the illness of the hosts who brought them, they are most certainly not web 2.0ver.