Web 2.0 *Doesn’t* Suck

Let me start with a disclaimer right up front: I’m a pragmatist but am mostly a happy-assed, optimistic, glass-is-51%-full guy. Instead of looking at why something can’t work, doesn’t work or what the issues are, I search for how to make the inefficient efficient; the broken, whole; the impossible more possible. That’s why I rail against the negative which — while he’s amusingly right in so many ways — Charlie O’Donnell’s post about Why Web 2.0 Sucks looks like his glass is nearly empty and I must admit that I think his position sucks.

Are there issues with Web 2.0 as the world gets re-engineered around the Internetwork? No question…but Charlie, read this chunk of a speech by Teddy Roosevelt which I have framed on my office wall:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

So in that spirit, I’d prefer to focus on all the reasons why Web 2.0 is working and appreciate and admire the “doers of deeds” as Roosevelt refers to them. The items that don’t work in Web 2.0 don’t “suck” as Charlie refers to them, but rather are blazing an infinite number of trails as the builders of the next generation Web strive valiantly while admittedly quite often committing errors and experiencing shortcomings.

Web 2.0 as a concept is working because the world is transitioning from a closed model to one that is open and transparent. A world where the Internet is the primary connection network for knowledge. There is, and always will be, great resistance from the status quo whose business models, gross margins and livelihood are being disrupted…but the innovation in virtually every category I care about is stunning and I’m personally experiencing the profound transformations being brought about by those daring greatly. Is Web 2.0 ‘complete’? No…but we’re sure learning in a helluva hurry what works and what doesn’t….and what needs to be made efficient, whole and more possible.

Perhaps Charlie will appreciate that I found his post on Techmeme, a conversation tracker of the blogosphere and that the irony won’t be lost on him that his voice in the wilderness wouldn’t even have an audience (other than his pals at the watercooler listening to him rant) had it not been for innovation, participation and the connections facilitated by the Web 2.0 visionaries.

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3 Comments

  1. Charlie on April 26, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    Steve,

    I love all the things we call “Web 2.0”. The post was obviously meant as a pause… a conversation starter… and that’s what it has done.

    I just feel like the last thing we need are more pats on the back about how blogs have changed the world and to realize that there’s still plenty of work to be done.

    I used “suck” in the same way that Brad Feld says that he has a job as a VC because “computers suck”. He doesn’t really think they suck… but he realizes that there’s plenty of innovation left to be done, allowing him the opportunity to fund new ideas. If he really thought computers sucked, which I have heard him say in person, he obviously wouldn’t work in tech. I feel the same way about Web 2.0.



  2. Sergio on April 26, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    I completely agree with you!

    If you want to see a nice example of what really is web2.0 check out this project:

    http://www.mapmyname.com



  3. Steve Borsch on April 26, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    Charlie,

    Obviously you were poking the notion of Web 2.0 in the nose to spark conversation. It actually gave me a chance to say publicly to those who poke….and poke…and poke without acknowledging the fundamental shifts being driven under that umbrella meme.

    The echo chamber is weary of the term, but 90% of the world has just heard about it (as you pointed out about asking people about Twitter). Lots to do and it sounds like you’re in the game.



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