Web 2.0 Expo: Jeff Bezos & Tim O'Reilly

by Luke Wroblewski April 15, 2007

Tim O’Reilly's conversation with Jeff Bezos and conference welcome at Web 2.0 Expo explored the ideas behind Web 2.0 and Amazon's Web infrastrucutre services.

Tim O’Reilly

  • Web 2.0 is happening and we are just at the beginning. It’s equivalent to the introduction of VisiCalc during the PC era. There are a few killer apps and we are starting to see a lot of competition emerge.
  • Consolidation & failures will happen but the ideas behind Web 2.0 are bigger then any single company. It’s about figuring out how to leverage the global collective knowledge of all people.
  • The future is not like the past. Early practitioners are often shaped by the imagination of what came before. Example: horseless carriage for cars.
  • The Web is special because it can harness collective intelligence inline any other medium. It also provides new business advantages in the form of data collection.

Jeff Bezos

  • When you start a new business, you want to go as fast as possible from idea to successful product.
  • Between the idea and what you want is a lot of heavy lifting: server hosting managing bandwidth, moving facilities, contract negotiation, etc.
  • Often you have to loop through that cycle. Those who cycle the loop the fastest are the winners. It’s a high price of admission.
  • For this need, Amazon introduced their infrastructure Web services: SQS, Mechanical Turk, S3, and EC2. They are built to manage the heavy lifting.
  • S3: Storage in the cloud. Accessed through Web service APIs, variable pricing, eliminate fixed costs and fixed burdens. 5 billion objects within the system today. Peak day: 920,847,345 requests; Peak second: 16,607 requests
  • Services orientated architecture: Web-scale architecture needs loosely coupled pieces. If parts get slow, the whole application does not grind to a halt.
  • The key to a loosely coupled architecture is a queue service.
  • Consumer (the services that carry out operations) queue can clone itself. It builds new hardware to increase throughput when the producer (teeing up work) queue gets long. Elastic computing: can increase or decrease based on needs.
  • Amazon: can we package things that we are good at the right way? Leverage the infrastructure powering Amazon and make it a service.
  • Capacity constrained is not good way to run a business. Its better to be demand constrained.
  • Base strategy on what will not change over the next 5-10 years.
  • Physical movement of goods will not change in next ten years. Amazon has fulfillment infrastructure service: pay by the cubic foot. Can control storage & shipping via Web service APIs (virtual warehouse).