Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Bubble 2.0

Here's a completely unsubstantiated thought that I'd love some opinion on. Perhaps even a little evidence here and there may help!

As far as I can tell, a major cause of the first dotcom crash was limited access to affordable, high-speed internet connection. There were lots of good ideas, but they couldn't scale because hardly anyone could experience them.

Research group of one here! I remember being all excited about new websites cropping up but soon settling to a repertoire of favourites. Websites kept turning up, but they didn't offer anything new or interesting - that leap of innovation, or rather the mass acceptance of that innovation, was seemingly impossible without corresponding availability of high speed internet connection (imagine the success of You Tube with a dial-up modem?).

Broadband (etc.) enabled bandwidth hungry applications to thrive - not only to exist but also to spread and grow. The ideas that existed pre-crash could now work. This brought us "web 2.0". Multi-media experiences and connectivity that we (at least most of us) couldn't have imagined with a dial-up modem.

But are we now experiencing a second glass-ceiling - where the ideas are starting to be better than the delivery to the (mass) end-user again? Most of the new websites I've seen recently seem to be (more-or-less) copycats with frills on - they are operating within the same framework as the existing sites, limited by the same end-user parameters.

I'm sure some VC is funding a new video sharing website , a new social networking site. But why? People have settled into their favourites - Google, Facebook, YouTube etc. and it will take a massive leap in functionality to get them to change. And I doubt that this leap is possible without a significant increase in readily available connection speed.

So potentially we're heading for another crash, or at least a levelling of innovation and investment. Any views?

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