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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Web 2.0 - Built for Speed (Not to Last)

Being built for speed isn't a bad thing - especially not if that makes your price tag go up.

Insiders looking for the "next Flickr" and the "next JotSpot" are congregating this week at Web 2.0.

Some of these types of conferences (Toronto's entry, mesh, is going on again next spring) seem to be a little closer to the "unconference" model where you have more face time with the builders of hot, fast-moving companies like Toronto-based Bubbleshare and Chicago-and-the-planet-based 37 Signals. They are becoming absolute musts to anyone wanting to stay conversant with what makes growth happen (remember when you thought you understood why Hotmail succeeded?). For example, mesh was the first place I ever heard of plentyoffish.com - venture capitalist Paul Kedrosky was describing it as one of the few fast-growing Canadian web startups, but lamenting the fact that they made so much money they didn't need VC funding!

Web 2.0 Con in San Francisco (not that I'm in attendance mind you) has a long list of established speakers like John Battelle and Don Tapscott, to go along with the networking amongst hot new players. It seems a little more formal and of course much more big money will be in attendance. That means more serious deals will get done, but also that some of the entrepreneurs there will be putting on just a bit too much of a show (i.e., BS'ing).

It seems to be a given that Web 2.0 Con will generate enough buzz for a dozen or so startups that they'll find themselves in the arms of an established suitor, prior to making significant revenues or proving their business model.

Velocity is good, if it's on your side, and the acquisitions will make sense at the time. Next year's crop of startups may well include silly things that mimic the attitudes and buzzwords of this latest crop. That'll be annoying to most outside observers, and the mainstream press will have its field day with it.

I guess if it were me, I'd be most interested in Web 2.0 plays that combined a credible business model with a fast-growth niche, rather than just being a business-model-free fast mover. Then again - Google had no business model when it started up.

And if you're looking to start the next Flickr, maybe you should try another idea. :) I hear great things about Bubbleshare.

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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