For a while now I’ve been uncomfortable with the direction of much of the stuff referred to as web 2.0. It seems to be full of amusing trifles that don’t offer any real substance in terms of sustainable business models.
For example, while I dearly love Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed and the hyperconnectivity and community they enable, I still have no idea how they plan to make any money to sustain these services.
Late last year Steve Rubel was stating very strongly that Web 2.0 World is Skunk Drunk on Its Own Kool-Aid (a view that I was in sympathy with at the time). And as he said: “I am sorry to be a party pooper on conventional wisdom, really. But I miss the days of 2004 when the class that includes Flickr, del.icio.us and others started. They really were about changing the web, not making a quick buck (they did so only because they added value).”
This idea of adding value, or at least of being self sustaining is important. Especially if we want to transfer the genuinely revolutionary web 2.0-ish ways of building systems and new cultural approaches to software into the enterprise. Thus we need to become serious agents of change.
A good example of this is the fact that waterfall software development gives us failure upon failure and we need to find a better way to deliver enterprise software. Putting software built using rubbish processes into the cloud is not the right answer. Instead we need to take the cooperative and iterative development methods we’ve used to build cool web 2.0 stuff and show that agile and scrum are scalable and real solutions for the enterprise.
One of the reasons we have so many user friendly, functionally rich web 2.0 applications is that they were not built the same way we’ve always done software. One of the most revolutionary things we can do is transfer this kind of capability into the enterprise. This will enable us to build better systems that are not just for fun but which are better for people and for business.