As a quick follow-up to my post last week on the Google Zeitgeist, the official Google Blog has provided details on how they come up with their annual Zeitgeist stats. And it’s not based on the most common searches (thank GOD).
Archives for December 2006
Read a great article in the Wall Street Journal today where two venture capitalists face-off on whether the whole Web 2.0 thing is a bubble about to burst or a healthy boom. According to VentureOne, VCs sank $455 million into Web 2.0 companies in the first nine months of 2006 — three times the amount from the same period last year.
The question is, are these companies a good investment. Is the Web 2.0 phenomena a bubble or a boom? Todd Dagres of Spark Capital and David Hornik of August Capital face-off on the issue, with some interesting analysis (I won’t regurgitate the article here, go read it for yourself).
Dagres made a provocative statement: “…the combined cash flow of Spot Runner, LinkedIn and Facebook is less that that of one Costco store.” Hornik counters that the margins of those companies is probably much better than that Costco store, but Dagres’ makes his point. If Web 2.0 companies can’t deliver more than eyeballs — if they can’t deliver the cash — then it’s all just a bubble waiting to burst.
I agree that the barriers to entry are low. Hell, anyone with some decent AJAX coding skills and a clever idea can cobble something together on a bare-bones budget. And sure, most of those sites (like the billions of dormant blogs) will fade away and no one will miss them.
But what’s really being questioned here is not the Web 2.0 phenomena, but the potential of those companies that have taken venture capital. And frankly, most of those companies have potential.
Sure, there’s a number of MySpace wannabes and YouTube clones that will eventually fail, but the ones with strong market support (audience share), a sustainable business model, and solid leadership will do well. Just as any business with those qualities will generally do well.
So far, the VCs have resisted the urge to buy into the hype machine like they did during the Web 1.0 bubble. The market has been stingy to some firms that really understand the community and user-driven strategies of the Web 2.0 (like Yahoo).Â We’re not faced with the runaway mess of VCs urgent to give money away lest they miss the boat (the name was Titanic).
Personally, I’m not to bothered by the whole thing. Good websites, providing good services or products and delivering value in a package that provides an opporunity to provide a good return will do well.
Remember, the cream always rises to the top.Â
I recently relocated to Aliso Viejo. Now instead of spending three hours on the road each day driving to and from the office, my commute is about five minutes. This gives me roughly 15 hours each week to fill with more meaningful pursuits. Pursuits such as mountain biking.
Being new to the area I set out looking for some trails nearby and ran across the amazing Geoladders.com site.Â This site elegantly combines community, user-driven content, GPS data, Web 2.0 technology and asynchronous competition in a really special way.
I’ve used other sites like Trails.com for planning hiking routes, but Geoladders takes the cake. It does a helluva mashup with Google Maps, providing turn-by-turn directions with photos. They also merge GPS and terrain data to provide a 3-dimensional view of the trail, with elevation gain.
Although the stated purpose of the site combines GPS data from your rides with the duration to create a competitive ladder, this site is useful even for riders interested in finding and checking out potential trails.
I’ve focused on mountain biking because that’s my interest, but they also support road biking. In any case, check it out — it’s a great example of the Web 2.0 done right.
I’ve got to agree with Boing Boing: Nothing says Merry Christmas like a chihuahua with a rifle, as in this Christmas card from 1895.
Google has published their year-end zeitgeist — a collection of stats that describe what the world thought was worth searching for. It’s always interesting, and often surprising, to see things from a global perspective.
Also interesting are the sports stats. Not surprisingly, the World Cup was far-and-away the top searched sporting event. The World Series is barely a blip on the radar.
Sadly, the top search within Google News was for Paris Hilton.
In a couple weeks, I’ll be heading to Las Vegas for the 40th annual Consumer Electronics Show. It’s an enormous convention — so big that only a city like Vegas could really handle the crowd. I’ll be checking out the latest technology for BigBlueBall.com. Last year we got some inside info on Google Talk upgrades, tons of info on VoIP products and generally had a blast gawking at all of the electronic eye candy. It’s really an amazing.
My plan is to arrive Sunday afternoon, January 7th for Bill Gates keynote at the Venetian, spend the evening enjoying everything that Las Vegas is all about, hit the convention floors all day Monday and drive back home that night. Maybe we’ll even do a BBB podcast!
If you are interested in joining me on this whirlwind tour, let me know before December 29th. After the 29th the free exhibit hall registration jumps up to $200!