Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
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Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.


 
Friday, December 09, 2005


All Your WEB 2.0 Are Suck!321#$$!

Nick C says:

"...At least, I thought, this brouhaha will mark the pinnacle of Web 2.0 farce: Aging MTV star anonymously rewrites Wikipedia podcast entry to give himself more prominence in the community-written history of the creation of the latest overhyped online medium. What could possibly top that?

I was wrong, of course. Just days later, a new peak was conquered, in Paris at the Les Blogs conference...

Utopias are great - until people start moving in."


Look. This is a straw man. Think about it this way - 500 years ago, you could have asked the same question of books:

"Will these...these...damned books create a utopia?! No! For the masses will spew filth and trash!! Let us forget about these useless books, brothers."

Clearly, the right question would have been to ask whether books made us better or worse off - not whether they create a perfect world.

It's the same here.

The rational question, of course, which Nick seems intent on not asking, is not whether 2.0 offers a perfect world - it's whether it offers a better world. That is, very simply, do the social benefits of 2.0 exceed the costs?

For guys cloistered in ivory towers, I suppose this doesn't matter.

But for those of us focusing on real economic value creation (as opposed to snark) it does. Snark is easy. Creating value is hard.

I am better off because my kid sis can Skype me whenever she wants.

I am better off because my friends and family (and clients) across the world can read my blog.

I am better off because Last.fm lets me find - and subsidize - music I couldn't find otherwise.

I am better off because Google, Wikipedia, delicious, and even Yahoo magnify the productivity of kids in 3rd world countries who ping me to tell me I am wrong.

Multiply that by millions of people, and you have a deep, revolutionary, fundamental economic shift. As copiously demonstrated by the huge - yet not irrational - erosion in the value of, for example, Media 1.0 industries, and the concomitant explosive shift in that value to players like Yahoo and Google.

Point: I find it hard to take Nick's "utopia" line of argument very seriously, because his question assumes an impossible outcome. Maybe you should too.

-- umair // 10:33 AM // 0 comments


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