January 11, 2006
Does the Web 2.0 tag reduce innovation?
I was sitting at lunch yesterday with Firas Bushnaq, co-founder and CEO of eEye Digital Security (one of my portfolio companies). Part of our discussion centered around Ajax and Web 2.0. Firas had an interesting point that perhaps the Web 2.0 themes tend to reduce innovation as they make people think about a specific set of themes rather than what they are truly trying to accomplish and then expressing their desire in the best way possible with available technologies (or creating new technologies).
Perhaps getting too stuck on the themes creates a “box” that developers live within? Perhaps also, the themes create the desire to utilize as many of the themes as possible so that they live within the entire box, thereby adding complexity without adding utility (rather than the volume inside and outside the box that best expresses the intent of the developers)?
I am sure that the original intent of the term “Web 2.0” was to give a theme for a conference, which turned into a “tag” for innovative web apps. Perhaps at this point, the “tag” has outlived its usefulness of expanding innovation and now does create constraints as many of the themes have played out? Or, perhaps the themes continue to resonate and will help innovators brainstorm new ideas that will lead to better services?