Web 2.0: Lessons learned
: John Battelle is interviewing Marc Andreesen and Yahoo honcho Dan Rosenzweig.
He asks Andreesen whether the browser has a future. He says he was amazed that Microsoft got the advantage in browsers and then did not use it.
Battelle says, “a lot of the things you developed — RSS — are huge.” Andreesen nods. How many people get credit for developing RSS?
Andreesen says that with Firefox, Opera et al innovating in browsers, Microsoft will finally start competing.
Rosenzweig says, “I hope Marc doesn’t keep waking them up.”
He adds: “The more we try to cage people up in how they do things the less likely they are to do it.”
Battelle asks whether you need client software on the user’s computer. Andreesen shakes his head no. Rosenzweig says there are clients like music that matter and he’s looking at more clients, for such things as photos.
Andreesen says that if the walled garden of the past was portals, the walled garden of the future is data. Many have eBay envy, for eBay owns your data and there’s no way to export your reputation to use elsewhere.
“I think it is the application of data and not using data as a weapon against your users,” Rosenzweig says.
Andreesen says there is no personalized or job service, for example, that lets you get your profile out. You can’t get your email out of Yahoo.
Rosenzweig: “As unopen as you claim it to be, nobody’s required to do anything.” Cop-out.
Moments before, he said this: “The more we try to cage people up in how they do things the less likely they are to do it.”
Esther Dyson just leaned over and said we need Marc Canter in this discussion. Thirty seconds later, Canter stands at the microphone.
Andreesen says the reason people are trying to lock-in data is because there is no brand loyalty and if a new and better product comes out, people will switch.
Jarvis’ First Law: Give the people control of media, they will use it.
The corollary: Don’t give the people control of media, and you will lose.
: Battelle asks them about the rejuvenated web-as-OS meme. Andreesen says Google is being led by the nose, willingly or unwillingly, into a confrontation with Microsoft. Who’s leading? Press, analysts, users, everything — “I’ve seen it before…. Everybody loves the fight.” He says that a desktop OS and a search engine don’t need to be competitive. He thinks “Google is going to do some things that are very surprising.” A browser would be obvious. Battelle reminds him that John Doerr said last night that Google is not going to do a browser. Andreesen answers: “The day they start listening to John Doerr is the day they don’t do a Dutch action.”
Rosenzweig: “All this tech talk is fun and it’s great for blogs and the 12 people whose lives it will change.” Bloggers belch. Somebody asks why they added blogs to MyYahoo if they’re ready by only 12 people. He says he didn’t say that.
: Battelle asks, “You both just got fired. Where are you building your next company?” Andreesen says, “I think Dan would start a blog.” Dan says, “Actually, I would. I think blogs and personal publishing are great.”
Andreesen says there are a few levels: the number of users, the amount of usage, the number of mobile users are all growing hugely. The cost components have all declined dramatically: hardware, bandwidth, even people. On the business side, he says “in the last five years, we’ve cracked the code on advertising.” He says the capital requirement to start a new internet business is coming in under $500k in many cases and the question is whether they will even need to raise venture capital. He never does says what he would do.
Steve Gillmor pushes his RSS synchronization theme. He says there is a roach motel strategy: the meta data goes in and it never comes out. “Are you willing to commit to an open standard around attention meta data.” Rosenzweig says he’s not ready to commit to anything today. “It’s going to take more time than many people want it to take but at the end of the day we’re all going to end up surrending to what the user wants to do.”
And Marc Canter brings up, of course, FOAF. He says standards setters need some help from “the billionaire boys’ club.” Andreesen says it’s not money; “the answer is obviously open standards.”
Chris Tolles asks whether Overture will go into RSS advertising. He says the guys at Overture say the guys at Yahoo stop them. “You should give me the name of that person at Overture,” Rosenzweig says. “You want to understand whether Yahoo, which is in the ad business, wants to roll out an ad business that will make more money…. The answer is yes.”