What do you need to say about Web 2.0?

by Paul Browne

Related link: http://www.firstpartners.net/blog/location/dublin/2006/01/28/give-your-input-int…

I've been invited to do a Web 2.0 presention to the Irish Dev / Irish Internet Association (it's on the 21st Feb in the Morgan Hotel , Dublin, if you're about in Ireland that day).

So, we have a problem. I consider myself to know a little about Web 2.0, but nobody knows everything about it, even the great Tim O'Reilly and his famous definition of Web 2.0. You might as well try and record every conversation happening in a busy room. I thought I would ask the community.

The Audience is tricky, as it is partly business (to whom Web 2.0 = next dot com boom) and partly technical (to whom Web 2.0 = Ajax) - for the record , I consider both views wrong. We also have only 30 minutes , including a (very quick) demo of how easy it is to migrate to Ajax (based on this Java.net article). A lot of the business concepts will be at the level of this article that I wrote for Ireland's Business Plus magazine.

I have some notes on the Web 2.0 presentation taking shape over on my website. To cater for the technical side, we'll probably also (quickly) cover some of the Ajax Enabled Java Frameworks (summary of these here).

What would you say if you were standing in front on this audience?

What do you think? How can I inject a cold dose of reality into this Web 2.0 business?


2006-01-28 14:29:38
Novice Business perspective of Web 2.0
Last year I was selling streaming video as a way for business to communicate...that was when I started noticing this shift going on in the way businesses communicate, market, and sell. I recently leaped out and started my own consulting company helping companies implement emerging technologies like video, podcasting, and blogging. I was introduced to the idea of Web 2.0 just last month and now I am pushing an event where a speaker from Gartner is discussing the "tectonic shift" of corporate information from in-house to outside the firewall. Last night I attended a Future Salon that discussed doing business in the second life world of the internet.

My point...it's not about the technology, it's about the shift in how businesses operate and the global economy.

I'll be writing more on this as I find the time. www.mindblogging.typepad.com

2006-01-28 14:39:38
Novice Business perspective of Web 2.0
I would agree and change your second last line slightly - it's not about technology, but about people.
2006-02-02 06:52:38
It Is About Shared Risk
In the technical sense, Web 2.0 is about a read\write network of information resources. From the perspective of a business that bids for work based on these shared information resources, it is about the shared risk of using these resources. Mashups combine information from multiple resources but so do information portals. The difference is editing by sometimes anonymous sources over information that has not been vetted, may not be current, and may be deliberately or unintentionally distorted.

This is a significant risk for any mission critical application in business so a good business person takes a hard and precise look at the quality of the information service and its guarantees and indemnities.

Open source shares the costs of development with many eyes. Web 2.0 shares the actions over data without the same introspection. It is a lot more risky. Before one touts the 'wisdom of crowds' experienced professionals know the answer to the question 'crowds of what?'

2006-02-02 07:16:20
It Is About Shared Risk
Thanks - in the presentation I was going to use a 'Berlin Wall' analogy.

To compress 80 years of history, part of the reason the West 'won' the cold war was a willingness to be open and share ideas. This contrasts with the other side of the Berlin Wall were there was a single-doctrine that sought to surpress non-conformist points of view.

In the Web 2.0 world this 'open by default ' and willingness to share information contrasts with the traditional organisation for which all information is , by default, covered by non-disclosure agreements.

Of course the downside of 'openness' is bad / malicious information from users or in a free society , wall to wall 'Reality TV' shows.

2006-02-09 06:18:53
It Is About Shared Risk
Another way to look at that is cost. It costs a lot to control ideas. That is a pure information theory problem of the energy vs size ot the address space issue. If a government, company, any polity with the task of administering resources gives up the control over ideas, it simultaneously frees up the resources to create and incubate ideas. The risk accrues not to the State but to the individuals who are empowered administrators if conflicts to goals arise as a result of such freedom of thought and speech.

No matter how it is spun, a regime that seeks to control thought inevitably evolves to an 'us vs them' state with regard to the subjects of that control. It is wasteful because it is impossible to maintain. Information erodes fixed verities just as water erodes rocks.

I can turn off American Idol. It's a lot tougher for a CTO to turn off web services, and tougher than that for any politboro anywhere to turn off freedom of thought. It requires a climate of fear the creates a behavior of acquiescence and at some tipping point, not enough subjects will acquiesce. The results are historically demonstrated.

So pick the risks you care to share commensurate with the rewards. But that isn't Web 2.0. Web 2.0 is just a read/write web. The rest follows from that.

2006-02-09 06:45:16
It Is About Shared Risk
I'll read that as both the 'cost of control' (how much it takes to enforce the control) and 'costs because of the control' - the hidden costs of missed ideas, mistakes made because of lack of information etc.
2006-02-09 07:09:15
It Is About Shared Risk
And energy or resources the could better be applied to other more productive tasks.

Jack Welch talked a lot about process but not in terms of adding process. He talked about taking it out to free up energy. That's what open source does: lots of eyes on the dynamically created resources we agree to share, so shared risks.

The notion in management that you can't manage what you can't measure and you can't measure what you can't see is turned on its head because the real question is, what do you need to see? There are two dangers to real time automated systems: 1) you will overcorrect and fly it into the runway. 2) you will undercorrect and it will fly itself into the runway. No free lunch. If one allows openness, one risks undercorrection. If one deprecates openness, one risks overcorrection. That is why there is no such thing as a frictionless economy or a completed automated business. Human judgement is the answer to human risk and it isn't perfect.

Nothing is. The question one should always ask when confronted with the position 'the wisdom of crowds' is 'crowds of what and what is the decision to be made'. For source code, crowds work wonderfully well. For picking a product, they pick about average. For picking a CEO, YMMV.

2006-02-21 02:21:30
Updated Slides
Updated Slides , Video and Links from the presentation are available on: