Web 2.0 on a shoestring: What bubble?
Web 2.0 is not a heady financial bubble ready to burst, it is a hot air hype balloon ready to deflate.
The cost-free ease by which 20-something weekend software developers hatch colorful, lightweight, cool apps ready-made for the colorful, lightweight, cool TechCrunch spotlight yields a dizzying parade of often indistinguishable Web 2.0 “feature sets.”
In “Web 2.0 financial success: Easy as 'two weeks and $700 bucks'?” I present Kevin Rose’s description of his $700 bargain basement start-up of Digg:
I was sitting around thinking about how this would play out. My background in school is in computer science. I wrote a scoping document to a friend, who is a developer. The friend said it would take two or three weeks to create and cost 700 bucks, so I said, 'Let's go for it.’
In “Rocketboom: Web 2.0 'success' on $20 a day?” I present The New York Times’ look at the early days of Rocketboom, “TV Stardom on $20 a Day”:
It’s not just cool, though, it’s prescient…In case you’re wondering, it has occurred to Mr. Baron and Ms. Congdon that they just might be sitting on a gold mine. At a cost of about $20 an epiosode, they reach an audience that some days is roughly comparable in size to that of, say, CNN’s late, unlamented ‘Crossfire’ political debate show.
In “Graham on Google: Web 2.0 foe” I quote Paul Graham, financial backer of recently folded online calendar site Kiko via his Y Combinator, on his “no money down” Web 2.0 start-up funding philosophy:
There's another encouraging point here for the new generation of web startups. Failure is not a disaster when you're very light. The total amount raised by Kiko in its existence would be about six months' salary for a first-rate developer. There's a good chance they'll recover most of it by selling their code. They only had one employee besides themselves. So this is not an expensive, acrimonious flameout like used to happen during the Bubble.
How can there be a financial bubble if the Web 2.0 community boasts about the near cost-free and risk-free nature of “starting-up”? As little time or money is invested in the typical try at Web 2.0 glory, however, there is also little emotional investment, or sweat equity created.
The Kiko demise headline is not "Google kills Web 2.0," it is "Web 2.0 gets bored."
In “Eight sure ways to get in TechCrunch Deadpool” I cite the Kiko team on their lack of dedication and commitment to putting in the time and effort necessary to grow a viable business for the long-term:
As you might have noticed, we haven't been actively working on the site for a few weeks…We are selling Kiko because we want to have time to work on other projects as a development team. We had a project in mind we just didn't want to wait on :)
we thought that the release of Google Calendar might be good because it would push one of the other big players into acquiring a calendar application to compete. 30boxes had stated that they didn't want to be bought out so, as the #3 player, things were looking hopeful. Things didn't pan out, but that's okay. None of us were ever had a Lexus on hold
A handful of deep pocketed corporate players willing to overpay their way into the Social Web does not equal a heady financial bubble.
Legions of under invested and under motivated amateur entrepreneurs does equal a hot air hype balloon.