O'Reilly on Web 2.0


Tim's framing up the Web 2.0 idea and does a great job of explaining why it's different and why it matters. This quote, I think is pivotal:

At bottom, Google requires a competency that Netscape never needed: database management. Google isn't just a collection of software tools, it's a specialized database. Without the data, the tools are useless; without the software, the data is unmanageable. Software licensing and control over APIs--the lever of power in the previous era--is irrelevant because the software never need be distributed but only performed, and also because without the ability to collect and manage the data, the software is of little use. In fact, the value of the software is proportional to the scale and dynamism of the data it helps to manage.
From O'Reilly: What Is Web 2.0
Referenced Tue Oct 04 2005 11:15:54 GMT-0600 (MDT)

Some other key lessons that Tim cites:

  • Leverage customer-self service and algorithmic data management to reach out to the entire web, to the edges and not just the center, to the long tail and not just the head.
  • BitTorrent thus demonstrates a key Web 2.0 principle: the service automatically gets better the more people use it.
  • Network effects from user contributions are the key to market dominance in the Web 2.0 era.
  • Operations must become a core competency.
  • Users must be treated as co-developers.
  • Support lightweight programming models that allow for loosely coupled systems.
  • Think syndication, not coordination.
  • Design for "hackability" and remixability.

He wraps these up in a "feature list" for Web 2.0 companies:

  • Services, not packaged software, with cost-effective scalability
  • Control over unique, hard-to-recreate data sources that get richer as more people use them
  • Trusting users as co-developers
  • Harnessing collective intelligence
  • Leveraging the long tail through customer self-service
  • Software above the level of a single device
  • Lightweight user interfaces, development models, AND business models

Think you're a Web 2.0 company? How do you stack up on this list?