Beyond Web 2.0

my comments in matt marshall’s open thread on silicon beat

…i’m excited by the level of participation – entrepreneurs, vc’s, a very large community of tech focused bloggers and the newest entrants, large web players.

i will say however that we’re not totally there yet. we’re headed toward a better ecosystem where we realize that we’re all better off working together. before publicly launching tribe i pitched friendster on letting us build out and manage social classifieds on their network. similarly, we pitched evite on integrating their function rather than building it ourselves.

what excites me about ecosystem around open source software anything is that it works in this way. there was some talk at web 2.0 about how one company was ‘more open’ than another. while that’s the right direction, the real discussion should have been what does the ‘open ecosystem’ look like and how do we all add to it. we’ll be there when the conversation shifts to how can yahoo profitably open its database of users so that anyone can build a myyahoo, yahoo 360, myweb2.0 or myhotjobs. we’ll be there when the 5 startups in a new category (flickr for video? blog directories?) all look at each other and say what do we all need to win and how should we divvy that up, rather than a bunch of ants competing for a crumb.

the early social networking players had the opportunity to set the playing field long before the big companies and myriad of other startups showed up. some of us tried to create an open standard with FOAF but today the players remain separate islands of utility rather than part of one larger integrated resource (as we’ve seen in the blog world).

we see a number of big media companies today flush with cash and web traffic. they seem to all need compelling new applications and ways to monetize. my hope is that they find better ways to invite hackers, entrepreneurs and vc’s to build on their platforms.

this is no different than the problems facing the democratic party today, where they have to find a way to let new voices and ‘hackers’ usurp their power bases if they hope to ever compete.

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