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Web 2.0 Summit – Just Doing Business – What Bubble November 11, 2008

Posted by John in social media, Technology.
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I have to say that I was a bit skeptical about the recent Web 2.0 Summit.  I thought that it would be a bust.  In fact first impressions were that it was trending that way.  However after Jerry Yang’s conversation with John Batelle the Web2.0 Summit pickup up the pace.

I had a chance to speak with many of my friends in the space, and it was clear that doing business and building ventures was on the mind of many.  Unlike recent years where the Web 2.0 Summit felt a bit bubbly, this year was different.  Many were talking about ideas and sending signals of open collaboration – many among serial entrepreneurs.  For companies in the Web 2.0 space the conversation was on doing business.

It was an environment of executives doing deals.  What a concept.  The reality of the market is now on doing business.  The event was successful and for the first time I felt a strong sense of business focus.  Industry participants actually looking to build an industry.

This begs the question:  was there ever a bubble?  Sure some companies are flashy and ajaxy but in reality we never had a bubble or bubble burst.  The financial reality or depression didn’t originate from Silicon Valley or Web 2.0.  The crisis vectored in from mainstream financial systems.

Future of Web 2.0 – Just Do Business.  That’s on the mind of entrepreneurs, VCs, and large corporations.  How refeshing.

Is Yahoo Being Served Silicon Valley Divorce Papers ? It Needs Big Game Changing Product November 6, 2008

Posted by John in social media, Technology.
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3 comments

I’ve been thinking about the Jerry Yang conversation yesterday with John Batelle and it hit me – Yahoo has for years being the outsider in Silicon Valley. The recent blog and press coverage of Jerry’s comments yesterday make it clear that the core culture in Silicon Valley is frustrated with Yahoo and by default Jerry Yang.

Two posts stand out in my mind that got me thinking about this. Mike Arrington’s post and Om Malik’s post (other coverage is basically saying the same thing) speak to the core feelings about Yahoo.  I know both Mike and Om love Yahoo for it’s storied history, but like they and others (me included) are frustrated by the bungled execution.

What’s really going on here?  Yahoo losted a ton of great people in the years that it milked it’s dominant portal status.  That is compounded by a misdirection in strategy one that during the Semel years (the media focus) saw Yahoo lose many of their top product and engineering mavericks.  Innovation is the culture of Silicon Valley and Yahoo lost that years ago.  The recent pile on going down is just built up frustration by Silicon Valley on Yahoo and Jerry Yang is taking all the heat.

I’m pulling for Jerry Yang because I respect the ‘guts’ that it takes for the founder to come back.  It’s very noble of Jerry, but trying to transform his company into a platform player will take years.  It will take new leadership underneath Jerry.  Fact is they just don’t have the ‘chops’ on the product and engineering side.  Silicon Valley wants nothing to do with a ‘false’ prophet.  Jerry needs to move faster or the ‘mob’ will take them down (as Mike Arrington suggests).

Turning the Yahoo battleship will take time.  All Yahoo needs is one game changing new product.  This reminds me of the old minicomputer days.  Yahoo is the Digital Equipment Corp (DEC) of Web 2.0.  They’ve been on this portal and media thing why to long (similar to DEC on the minicomputer) – it might be too late. Some minicomputer companies like HP got new relevant products (hello LaserJet) that fueled a reinvention.

If Yahoo doesn’t get the new product and engineering mojo back Silicon Valley and others will completely turn on Yahoo.

It’s doable for Yahoo due to their ‘huge’ installed base of users, but the window is closing. They need a new product that is relevant – a new flagship.

Run Jerry Run!  Get it done.

I would love to see the founder take back his company and make the turn around.  The question is “do they have the people to do it”?  Silicon Valley doesn’t thinks so.

I’m not convinced yet of Yahoo’s demise and will wait to judge Yahoo.  I think that they can. I vote for the founder to stay – Jerry should stay, but he needs a new management team that will follow the founder in his vision.  I blame Semel not Jerry.

What do you think that they need to do?

Blogging at Web 2.0 Conference – LobbyCon Is A Ghost Town – Mood is Glum – Sequoia Is To Blame November 5, 2008

Posted by John in social media.
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I’m at the Web 2.0 conference and the mood is a bit somber.  The leading indicator of the conference is the LobbyCon (hanging out in the lobby).  Compared to last year LobbyCon is falling short.  I’m now sitting in the overflow area watching Larry Brilliant of Google.org.

Web 2.0 is a great event to see all the insiders.  Top of mind in this event is the economy specifically the recession and online advertising.

I overheard a CEO of an ad network saying he’s trying to do revenue deals – Translation he’s dying.

Much of the bad vibe blame (of the people that I talked with) goes to Sequoia capital.  One entrepreneur thinks that Sequoia put the fear out there to scare the market – note: Sequoia has fresh money hence an advantage in a scared market.

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