The panel included Jeff Nolan, Ross Mayfield , Charlene Li and Jeff Clavier. I have attended similar events over the last year or so and I can see that their is clarity of views on Web 2.0 amongst the experts. The audience range from clueless to the Web-2.0-is-rich-UI-for-the-web crowd to a few people that really appreciate the subtle but powerful change that the Web is undergoing.
These changes revolve around economics. The economics in the bigger sense of the word- including economics of collaboration, economics of how-things-get-done and of course, the traditional meaning that revolves around making money. It is easier for an economics enthusiast to appreciate Web 2.0 than it is for a technology or programming enthusiast.
The killer-app of Web 2.0 so far is Wiki followed by blogs, tagging and RSS. However I feel that these are the obvious applications of Web 2.0 – the way hotmail or expedia is an obvious application of Web 1.0. The non-obvious or emergent applications of Web 1.0 were Ebay, ETrade, NetFlix and Amazon. I have not yet seen new kinds of businesses being created on top of Web 2.0. Ebay with tagging and blogging is not a revolution. Salesforce with its AppExchange is one of the most interesting.
The enterprises are yet to absorb Web 1.0 fully. I do not see marketplaces like Ebay within companies (with few exceptions). My personal take is that existing enterprises will probably take 10 years to absorb Web 2.0’s implications. Bank of America and Wells Fargo took 5-10 years to appreciate PayPal, NetBank and online Remittance sites and incorporate that into their businesses. Companies like Blockbuster are still struggling.
Here are some open questions:
- Will IBM, Accenture, Infosys, E&Y absorb Web 2.0 and transform themselves or will there be a new generation of IT consulting companies that emerge ground up based on principles of group work and real-time collaboration? Will there be a McKinsey 2.0?
- Teenagers of today understand Web 2.0 implicitly. Will the Starbucks and McDonald’s of this generation be organized and built fundamentally differently?
- Email is the number 1 corporate app. Microsoft still dominates Email. Will Microsoft build Web 2.0 functionality into Exchange/Outlook? Or will the SocialText’s have to fight Microsoft one project at a time?