Web 2.0 Expo: Web 2.0++

by Luke Wroblewski April 18, 2007

Rolf Skyberg‘s Web 2.0++: Why We Got Here and What's Next talk at the Web 2.0 Expo argued that basic human needs form a compelling framework for understanding the explosion of Web 2.0 and what might come after it.

  • Optical telegraphy was developed by the French military and is a precursor to the telegraph that was developed by Samuel Morse. The telegraph drove significant business value for American entrepreneurs. When the operators of telegraphs had free unlimited access to the system, they began chatting amongst themselves and socializing.
  • This pattern was also repeated in the development of the cell phone: military applications, business applications, and now socializing.
  • The pattern for the lifecycle of these technologies is: 1) safety (military support) 2) prosperity (make a buck) 3) socialization (chat)
  • The evolution of the Web has also followed this pattern. Web 0.0 was Darpanet (for safety), Web 1.0 was primary about commerce, Web 2.0 supports our need to socialize.
  • This matches Maslow’s of hierarchy of needs: survival supercedes security, security supercedes prosperity, and prosperity supercedes socialization. Enlightenment, esteem, and belonging are at the top of the pyramid. These priorities are innate to all humans and apply across offline & online ecosystems.
  • As you move up the pyramid, expendable resources decrease because total resources are finite.
  • Kids can focus their time on being social and being themselves and don’t care about lower level priorities. MySpace is a reflection of that condition.
  • Sears, CostCo, Wal-mart, Home Depot all sell hot dogs. They want you to participate at a commerce level so they meet the needs of the levels below. They consider human needs to decrease attrition of commerce (higher level needs).
  • Ignoring the precedence of levels can be dangerous. eBay set up blogs and people used them to chat. They had an unfulfilled need to be social when eBay was asking them to express themselves.
  • Technologies on the Web have reduced the cost to build tools. Free software & low cost hosting make developing your dream an option. Web 2.0 is what people build when required revenue approaches zero.
  • The Web will continue to cycle between technology disruptions and commodity markets.
  • Users will continue to be humans and their needs are not changing. Fulfill their needs with the least amount of sin. Build tools that empower and delight the humans you deal with. Create services to manage new world problems: identity management, spam filtering, personal data retention, etc.
  • Create unique content, which only you can generate. In a world where copying costs nothing. Uniqueness is the new value.