Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What does Web 2.0 mean to me?

I was asked this question for a podcast at the recent Under the Radar conference where Zvents presented. You can test my memory by hunting up the actual podcast, but I am pretty sure this is the same answer I gave:

It means two things -- one technological, and one social.

Socially, it's the return of hope and enthusiasm to Silicon Valley. People may mock "bubble 2.0" and naysayers can always point to some particular point of excess, but the reason we entrepreneurs are here is to change the world, and a lot of dreams lay dormant from 2001 to 2005. Those dreams are being knit into reality today, and many of us can see that we'll be able to make the world a very different, and hopefully better place, soon.

Technologically, it's about data as a platform (just like Tim O'Reilly said) and more importantly, it's about fast and simple integration of that data. Mashups may occasionally be dorky, but they demonstrate a level of interoperability that is simply astonishing when compared to 1999. We've all seen network effects accelerate change and growth to warp speed -- what we're seeing now is kind of Metcalfe's Law of web functionality, where the value of every interoperable web service is the square of the number of other services to which it can be connected.

Hmmm. I know I didn't say that one in the podcast. It may actually be worth its own post.
But, back to work. Big customer meeting tomorrow...

...Web 2.0 means the return of customers. Yee Hah!

Aggregate Knowlege launches at ETech

I may be busting the press embargo by 90 minutes or so, but I'm really excited about this one. e, Tomorrow at ETech, Paul Martino and Chris Law are taking the wraps off of Aggregate Knowledge, their fascinating new play on a recommendations web service.

Paul and Chris were formerly founders of Tribe Networks, and Paul (several lives ago) was a graph theory PhD student at Princeton. They've cracked the problem of providing user-specific recommendations across multiple data types in real time, thanks to some seriously fancy math under the hood. We've been using AgKnow at Zvents to power some of the "related events" content on our site (Disclosure: I am also an investor), and look forward to more customers joining their service so we can begin to benefit from further network-effect driven recommended content.

Most importantly in this mash-up world, it takes from minutes to a few hours to fully implement their service on your site. EAI is soooo dead.

I expect them to do very well in both the content recommendation and non-search navigation business. Rock the house, guys!

P.S. I previously mentioned these guys in November.

Technorati Tag: ETech

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ether *is* Keen 2.0: Old Wine, New Bottles

Over at TechCrunch, Mike just posted on Ether, a new company driven out of the pay-per-call innovators Ingenio. My immediate thought was, "is Mayfield funding this company?" because Mayfield is (in)famously trolling through old bubble business plans for ideas, and this sounds an awful lot like Keen.com.

Keen was funded by Benchmark around 1999. I first saw gigantic billboards on the Underground advertising Keen in 2000 when I was living in London, and I remember thinking, "Damn, that's a great idea," as I stared at them from the platform across the tracks. It may still be a great idea, but Keen was relegated to a fairly painful fate, morphing into a psychic hotline and not much else. And certainly nothing that could make back the bubble-zillions that got poured into it.

In poking around to check out the carcass of Keen, I discovered a most curious fact:

Ingenio (Ether) *is* Keen! Changed their name sometime in the last seven years. Look right down at the bottom: "Keen is a trademark of Ingenio, Inc."

What was old is new again...!