- The finger pointing culture of fear will always dominate a culture of openness. Media
thrives on taking people down and creating a general fear of the worst
possible outcome. Whether it's trying enact anti-MySpace laws or
firing everyone who says a dirty word or two, until we hold our noses
and fully embrace freedom of expression in this country, we're going to
hold back the real potential of the internet as a medium of
conversation and open exchange. Everyone will be too scared to publish
anything thought provoking for fear of being stoned by glass house
- The thinking, not just the building, has gotten small and
lightweight... Too many people building features, not applications,
or, gasp, companies. People are confusing design with innovation. Just because you add AJAX and rounded boxes to something does mean you have innovated.
- Web 2.0 hasn't even come close to breaking open the carrier choked mobile world. E-mail and WAP? That's what I'm paying unlimited data for? Come on. We can do better than this.
- Web 2.0 is a conversational vacuum. I'll prove it. Unless you live in the Valley, walk outside your door and try to find a Twitter user... You've got six hours. Go. Trust me, we're talking to ourselves. (Don't get me wrong... I really like Twitter... We just need to remind ourselves about how close to the edge we all are out here.)
- Spelling and grammr (beta) have gone to hell in a handbasket. I'm in ur domainz, droppin' ur vowelz.
- M&A Wack-a-mole stopping innovation in its tracks... Dodgeball, del.icio.us, MyBlogLog... Some of the most innovative startups have been swallowed into the black holes of big companies, abruptly halting their innovation paths. Unless we get some more robust business models, some more risk seeking entrepreneurs, maybe a real IPO market, most of Web 2.0 is going to wind up becoming the corporate walking dead of long forgotten or poorly understood acquisitions. Consumers suffer when entrepreneurs won't make a go of it on their own and make a bigger impact on their online experience. (Pleasant exceptions being the Office-like apps at Google...)
- Content licensing is still a bottleneck. Web 2.0 is all about people and sharing, two things that music and video content owners don't seem to be big fans of. For now, much of what we share is illegal or user generated. Freely shareable stuff probably makes up about 2% of the millions of hours of content ever created professionally. I'd like to blog a clip from the A-Team... Not only can I not access it easily, I can't clip it easily, and I sure as hell can't publish it legally. Yet, no one current monetizes it on the web, so it just sits and collects digital dust.
- The really juicy data will always remain locked up... I'd very much like to be able to share my purchases, particularly restaurants, at my own discretion. Of course, that data is at Mastercard, and I think I'll start wearing "I love the RIAA" shirts before Mastercard starts creating personal RSS feeds or APIs for users to take their own financial data to various applications. The same with my credit history. I need to sign up for lots of junk mail to get a credit report... and don't even get me started on my own medical history.
- A lot of powerful people don't participate. How many VC's out there fund widget companies without having a blog or a MySpace profile? Any Sony bloggers out there? What about brand managers that want to do Second Life campaigns without ever having been inside. How about my elected representatives? They get out there and kiss babies during election time, but how many blogging elected officials are there? (And not watered down campaign blogs... actual blogs written by the actual people.) We could do great things if we weren't so segregated into a small group of people punch drunk on Kool Aid and a great deal of people who've never even heard of Kool Aid.
- MySpace is the most popular social network. Seriously, is this the best we can do? Spam, hacking, viruses, one song at a time, and no developer network or API? Facebook is such a better product, but it's really pretty limited as a self expression tool. Plus, neither really comes close to being able to be my digital home on the web as much as my blog is.
I invest in seed and pre-seed NYC startups at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures. Native Brooklynite, 11x triathlete, 2x 70.3, 4x marathoner, softball player, hockey goalie. Check out my This Week in Startups interview or check out my bio here. Also, this is me SEOing myself by linking to Charlie O'Donnell, and Charlie O'Donnell and more Charlie O'Donnell. PR people, do not pitch me to cover your story, as this is my personal blog. I'm not a journalist.