MashMeetLA 2.0!

Mashable event (MashMeetLA 2.0!) at Seven definitely proves that LA tech entrepreneurship community is rapidly growing. It was really great to make new contacts as well as reconnect with everyone I’ve met in the past. I had a pleasure discussing some of the projects with other entrepreneurs. I feel that some of the ideas are really great and exiting.

I would like to thank Mashable and Mixery teams for organizing this event. Great job!

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Approaching Bubble 2.0 or transitioning to Web 3.0?

Numerous new social networks launch betas every day. People are sending invites offering their virtual friendship to their real world friends or just strangers. Corporate social network applications target enterprises offering premium wiki and blogging tools. Owners of Web 2.0 businesses are trying hard to attract more users by inventing “never seeing before” features.  Moreover, social network oriented B2B solutions popping up like mushrooms after the rain. At the same time investors are showing their interest in this market.

All of that reminds me late 90s followed by dot net bubble burst. The question is it going to burst this time? I am not an expert. I am not a psychic either. Here is my personal overview of the problem.

           

We have learned an important lesson after dot com bubble burst: Don’t overestimate the value. These days’ VCs are more skeptical when evaluating startup companies. More importantly entrepreneurs develop their business model with this in mind. Of course a lot of Web 2.0 companies try building business for sale as described in “Built To Be Bought (Bubble 2.0)” article by David Hornik. Here is a quote:


“…If companies are indeed again being built for acquisition rather than independence, venture investors are in for a rude re-awakening (that will be precipitated by a very loud popping sound). While a few companies being built for acquisition will be acquired, the vast majority will ultimately run out of money and be shut down (particularly as each new Web 2.0 idea doesn’t just spawn one company but three or four)…”
 

 

 But is it a bad thing? There is a good article on Forbes by Brian Caulfield called “Where Are The Web 2.0 IPOs?”. Here are some quotes from his article

“…venture capitalists say that while the boom is back, there is a fundamental change: The era of the overnight IPO, they say, is gone forever…”

“…You can get traffic overnight, and you can get a viral campaign going overnight, but that doesn’t instantly result in dollars…”

“…Instead of floating their own IPO, they hope to get hoovered up by a Web 1.0 veteran that’s already gone public…”

It became harder to go IPO these days for Web 2.0 startup. I think it is a good sign. Once your business model is working you need to be able to build value in the company before going IPO. You need time and lots of cash for that. That alone will assure existence of much stronger businesses out there. You can wake up famous these days, but you can’t wake up rich. On other side selling the company to a much stronger (financially) company will give a greater chance for your business to survive and grow because bigger companies have time and cash for that.

Web 2.0 companies bet on ad driven revenue! I’ve heard it a lot. Well, not all of them. Ad driven revenue becomes a secondary target while development of a solid business model is taking priority. Don’t get me wrong, ad revenue is a great option, especially with all new delivery channels we have now (mobile web, RSS feeds, etc.). Not to mention all of the additional possibilities Web 3.0 can bring to us such as Geoweb, Semantic Web or evolution towards 3D development (ex. Second Life). I would just not count on ads while developing my business plan. There are lots of Web 2.0 businesses out there providing B2B or B2C services assuring ad independent revenue streams.

Considering all of the mentioned above I would like to say that there is definitely a lot of value in Web 2.0 startups and much bigger percent of the companies are here to stay vs. those from the dot com bubble times. That will ensure a smooth transition from Web 2.0 era we live in to Web 3.0 future market.

Socialize your way

            After reading “Overly social networks” article by Jim Rapoza in the recent issue of eWeek magazine I decided to write my own overview of the issue.

I am an outgoing person and have a wide range of interests.  These two characteristics of my personality gave me a benefit of being able to communicate to people of various backgrounds.  I’ll say more, I have about 400+ contacts in my address book.  I just never delete contact information because I learned from my personal experience that this is a really small world.

My address book is a good representation of the different angles of my life.  For example, my business contacts can range from a small bookstore owner to a successful internet startup CEO.  My favorite city places can have local Indian restaurant and a fancy Italian place on Rodeo Drive. Not to mention my calendar can have events of a completely un-related nature. It is obviously hard to keep those things organized in a way that will be convenient to me.

In recent years I started using social networking communities such as LinkedIn or Facebook as a way of keeping in touch with people I know.  Also I use web sites such as Going or CitySearch to track events that I attend and places where I hang out.  Unfortunately, there is no service I could find that will allow me to organize all of those items in a way I want. While I agree with Jim when he says The ideal fix to this issue is to make it possible to filter our friends into specific groups; for example, I could have personal friends, co-workers, business contacts, readers I correspond with and acquaintances.  I think he is missing a very important concept of grouping people, places, groups, and events regardless of the entity type. For example if I hang out with my co-workers in “Cafe des Artistes every Friday I might want to add this place to my co-workers related group. At the same time this is a not bad French restaurant and they have pretty good drinks selection so I would also add it to My Favorite Places category.

We yet to see a social networking service that will give power of organizing stuff to people in a way they want. The main challenge, in my opinion, is to make this service concrete and simple enough for people to understand and accept.