Web 2.0 Summit 2006 / Summary 100,000 foot view

Here are my summary thoughts on the 3 day Web 2.0 Summit 2006 in SF, CA

There were some overall themes that seemed to prevail in the sessions I attended and I’m going to try to capture them here in no particular sequence. It’s one thing to have sat in all the sessions or to review all of the notes but another to reflect on all that was said and see what can be summarized from it all.

  • Web 2.0 is real. In fact, it’s even more important than when Microsoft had their epiphany about the internet ten years ago.
  • We’re at the beginning of the ramp for things like social media and mobile;
  • This year, we grew users 10-15%, usage 20-30%, and monetization 30+% and that looks like it will continue;
  • video has surpassed text everywhere all the time;
  • Internet Advertising is still under-represented so ad spend will shift from 8% of the total spend to about 15% of the total spend and will make this transition very quickly.
  • It’s now possible to build an entirely virtual company by outsourcing every single component of it;
  • Application development speed continues to leap ahead radically;
  • find and go towards the large white spaces;
  • there is lots of capital out there; ideas and good teams are the limiters; there’s no excuse for not raising money right now;
  • web services and mashups are going to explode;
  • find passionate users, let them drive your products and your business;
  • In fact, let them help you BUILD your product if possible;
  • Build your products so that people either love them or hate them; don’t aim for the zone of mediocrity.
  • LOVE your users;
  • To keep good people, ensure they’re passionate about what they’re doing, give them the ability to somewhat drive their (and your) success and innovation; engage them in decisions;
  • Realize that you can build things now collaboratively across the web in ways that were not possible before;
  • Do something bold that changes the game:
    • Goldcorp gave up their sacred data and $500K to make $3.4B in revenues
    • Bob Parsons cancelled the GoDaddy.com IPO because the analysts were too annoying;
    • Amazon wants to start running your businesses because frankly, they can do it better, cheaper, and faster than you can by a factor of 100x.
  • the better your product, the less you have to use traditional marketing;
  • focus on niches;
  • we’re at the beginning of the curve on immersive environments and they will play a larger and larger part in our economy;
  • help people make money on top of your platform;
  • Watch the cashflow (daily!); it’s more important than profits (for a smaller company);
  • Making money is better (and way more important) than finding investors
  • Adapt quickly
  • Create passionate users who will help you create your business
  • Listen to yourself; listen to your customers; don’t listen to analysts; never listen to the doubters.
  • measure what counts but remember that “not everything that counts can
    be measured, nor does everything that can be measured count.” (be
    careful what you measure);
  • operational excellence can be a a defensible long-term strategy, and significant point of differentiation; (Microsoft, Amazon, Fedex)
  • Profit or size?
    • Most people: make it profitable right off the bat; then build with revenue as fast as possible;
    • Bezos: go for size!
  • On finding the next opportunity:
    • Calcanis/Dmitry: stay focused on your original business!
    • Bezos: Always keep exploring down dark tunnels for new business opportunities!
  • ecosystems beat platforms beat applications beat features;
  • there was a lot of contradiction regarding how companies should or should not start small. I think it shows that there is no right answer. There will be a plethora of small companies and others will choose to get the funding to get big fast as we did in Bubble 1.0;

Overall, the three days were very worthwhile. I met some fantastic people and am looking forward to attending the Web 2.0 Expo in April 2007 that will focus much more heavily on the tactical details of Web 2.0 deployment.