May 15, 2006

the OTHER bubble

when i was at stanford, we would often remark about "being in The Bubble." this is not to be confused with The Internet Bubble (of my high school years), when venture capitalists were supposedly wrapping up $100 bills in thick wads and throwing them at would-be entrepreneurs (or so i've heard). no, The Stanford Bubble refers to the seemingly self-enclosed world of the stanford campus, where students are not only oblivious to the outside world, but often also to the weather outside of Sweet Hall.

it was with that in mind that i read josh kopelman's post (that has been generating some online buzz in our "bubble") 53,651 the other day, in which he effectively points out the self-enclosed nature of michael arrington's techcrunch readership. as kopelman puts it, the chasm between web 2.0 companies and "the real world" is large:

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been on several phone pitches from west-coast companies that are looking to be the “flickr of XXXX” or “like but YYYY” or “the Digg killer”. It got me thinking – how many people outside of the valley have ever heard of these companies? I asked a bunch of local (Philly-area) acquaintances and the answer came back loud and clear: none – nada - zip. People here have barely heard of Myspace and Craigslist – let alone any of the “hot” Web 2.0 companies.

i was reminded even more of this when my good buddy john lincoln sent me a few photos (through e-mail, not flickr or photobucket or skeedelkalamazoo, mind you):

the point? kopelman is right. web 2.0 companies need to spend more time thinking about users. not users who read techcrunch and click around on every new site that's mentioned, but real users outside of this silicon valley bubble. what does that mean? it means making things easy. not easy because mr. lincoln of kotzebue, alaska can't figure it out himself, but because mr. lincoln of kotzebue, alaska would much rather spend his time shooting down tasty birds.

there are a lot of great technologies and ideas floating around in the web 2.0 world. the problem is that real users (outside of the techcrunch bubble) don't care about the technologies. and they shouldn't. and they'll only care about the ideas when they're more than just ideas. youtube isn't "online video publication," it's watching videos. myspace isn't "social networking," it's connecting with friends. and google isn't "page ranked web-crawling," it's finding shit. we'll see who else gets there.

products that i think are on the way? flock, riya, flickr,


At 5/15/2006 04:15:00 PM, Anonymous king said...

wtf is a BLOG? anyway, if you're talking about the red-states, then yes, none of those people have any clue what web 2.0 even means. Actually, come to think about it, there arent too many nerds who spend hours in front of their computer reading/clicking/responding to new internet websites quite like folks in silicon valley/computer science fields, so who are we kidding. The companies that will survive are the ones who provide something useful to the general public as a whole, and I dont know if tagging is picking up a lot of steam outside of us internet freaks, but maybe it is.

At 5/21/2006 08:28:00 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Read the first two paragraphs of this article.

At 5/21/2006 08:28:00 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Or the whole thing.


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