We will never have Web 3.0, because the Web’s dead
More and more in tech, it seems that your long-term viability as a company is dependent on when you were born.
Think of the differences between generations and when we talk about how the Baby Boomers behave differently from Gen X’ersand additional differences with the Millennials.
Each generation is perceived to see the world in a very unique way that translates into their buying decisions and countless other habits.
In the tech world, we’ve really had 3 generations:
•Web 1.0 (companies founded from 1994 – 2001, including Netscape, Yahoo! (YHOO), AOL (AOL), Google (GOOG), Amazon (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY)),
•Web 2.0 or Social (companies founded from 2002 – 2009, including Facebook (FB), LinkedIn (LNKD), and Groupon(GRPN)),
•and now Mobile(from 2010 – present, including Instagram).
With each succeeding generation in tech, it seems the prior generation can’t quite wrap its head around the subtle changes that the next generation brings. Web 1.0 companies did a great job of aggregating data and presenting it in an easy to digest portal fashion. Google did a good job organizing the chaos of the Web better than AltaVista, Excite, Lycos and all the other search engines that preceded it. Amazon did a great job of centralizing the chaos of e-commerce shopping and putting all you needed in one place.
When Web 2.0 companies began to emerge, they seemed to gravitate to the importance of social connections. MySpace built a network of people with a passion for music initially. Facebook got college students. LinkedIn got the white collar professionals. Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon showed how users could generate content themselves and make the overall community more valuable.
Yet, Web 1.0 companies never really seemed to be able to grasp the importance of building a social community and tapping into the backgrounds of those users. Even when it seems painfully obvious to everyone, there just doesn’t seem to be the capacity of these older companies to shift to a new paradigm. Why has Amazon done so little in social? And Google? Even as they pour billions at the problem, their primary business model which made them successful in the first place seems to override their expansion into some new way of thinking.
Social companies born since 2010 have a very different view of the world. These companies – and Instagram is the most topical example at the moment – view the mobile smartphone as the primary (and oftentimes exclusive) platform for their application. They don’t even think of launching via a web site. They assume, over time, people will use their mobile applications almost entirely instead of websites.