Web 2.0 will not reach its potential until those associated with it stop the irrational thinking.
The problems with bringing the promise of Web 2.0 to the larger market has NOTHING to do with edgy web site design, anticonsumptioning, VCs, inverted triangles of community involvement, or any of the other ridiculous reasons that I’ve recently read.
It’s ironic, but the irrational thought of Web 2.0′s thought-leaders is the very thing holding back Web 2.0.
Web 2.0 holds great promise. It’s impacting many segments, forcing companies and entire industries to adapt, change, or disappear. But don’t let the promise of Web 2.0 distort your entire perspective of reality. The problem with bringing Web 2.0 to market is, sorry geeks and others reaching for a complex explanation, a business 1.0 problem.
You can dress business 1.0 words up with Web 2.0 lexicon (“flocked”,”ninged”), but the issues and challenges remain unchanged, remain completely business 1.0, and are fundamental problems that arise during commercialization of any product within any market segment.
Flocked? Flock was actually Segway’d, and Segway was actually, etc. The idea that a product wasn’t valued by the end user isn’t a new one. A start-up needs to validate end-user needs during the commercializing stage or else it will fail. There is nothing revolutionary about this thought but that doesn’t change it’s veracity. The same goes for usability (“Ninged”).
This is the commecialization stage: It’s the (validating of) value, stupid.
A start-up needs to validate, test, challenge, and explore many issues during the commercialization phase, and Web 2.0′s thought-leader’s irrational thoughts are steering Web 2.0 ventures from this simple truth. (Why? Not the subject of this post… but partly because the thought leaders are geeks, and partly because the thought leaders are consultants (gasp!)).
The irrational thought that is most ridiculously wrong? The notion that building Web 2.0 businesses without a potential revenue stream is a long-term sustainable strategy. Lots of dicussion on this lately, so maybe the tide is changing. Web 2.0 businesses may be many things, but they’re still businesses and it’s probably unhealthy for the long-term viability of your venture to forget this. I don’t know where this thought started, how it grew, and why it persists. The one reason that pops into my mind is that “Web 2.0 is about being evil free” and “business = evil”.
If the nuns have come to terms with the necessity of money and traditional business practices, I hope Web 2.0 can as well.
[note: getting a conversation to the top of tech.memeorandum on "Disrupting Commercialization" will not make the task any easier, change what's required, or cure the nuns dependance on money. It will, however, allow the irrational thinking to continue.]
[note 2: JS, thank you for wonderful nun annecdote]