Home > business, smugmug, web 2.0 > Bubble 2.0: Buckle up!

Bubble 2.0: Buckle up!

October 8, 2005

So I just got back from the Web 2.0 conference and there’s definitely a new bubble in the making. Let me first say that the conference was great, the organizers did a good job, I learned a lot and networked plenty. I achieved my goals, and the organizers achieved theirs. It’s not their fault that we’re watching The Return of the Bubble.

But that doesn’t stop the conference from feeling like Bubble 2.0 is coming. Marc Hedlund at O’Reilly seems to think we’re all wrong for thinking that there’s a bubble, but his rationale doesn’t address the biggest indicator: no real business models.

There were a lot of neat ideas at the conference. No killer apps, but the truth is that killer apps take time and they begin as neat ideas. eBay didn’t happen overnight. So lots of neat ideas = cool.

There was a lot of money at the conference. I ran into more VC than I could count, all looking for neat ideas that could become killer apps. That’s good, too, because neat ideas often need capital to become killer apps. Not always, and I think less often these days than in the 90s, but still fairly often. So lots of money in search of neat ideas = cool.

But after talking to at least a hundred guys with ideas and a hundred guys with money, I didn’t hear a single solid business model. Furthermore, there were no speakers on the agenda who even addressed this vital issue.

Most common business model? “Grow fast, get acquired.” (Heard that one before, have you?). Second most common business model? “Slap Adwords on it.” Third most common? Oh, wait, that was as far as it went. I’m sure there were companies there who were selling things to consumers, or doing subscriptions, or doing added service and support. I was there, afterall, and I’m sure there were others. But they weren’t a blip on the radar, let alone the majority.

So my bottom-line takeaway from the conference is that smugmug is even more special than I’d realized. We not only have a business model that works, but it’s been working for years. We have our hedgehog strategy and we’re sticking to it.

Categories: business, smugmug, web 2.0
  1. October 9, 2005 at 8:28 am

    The new bubble has been rising for some time, IMO – ever since the Google IPO, it seems that a growing investment hysteria has been rising around the big internet companies again – and again, it’s built on expectations, rather than delivered goods.


  2. October 12, 2005 at 11:05 am

    I have to say that I too believe a bubble is growing. I don’t know if it will get as out-of-control as it did with Ver. 1.0 but then that would go against the technology trend of bigger, bigger, bigger with each “version update” or is that bloated, bloated, bloated. Present company is firmly excluded. Your changes seem to be of a very reasonable and cautious nature. You are after all affecting all of our photos with any changes you make. Photos are personal and I am sure that some use your site for archival purposes. Anyway, if they are failing to even present the very modest idea of what their business model will be then they are in trouble. I don’t just blame the Google IPO, I think everyone thinks they can do what Google does which is offer products for free. I don’t know if Google can do it, at least for any length of time. Microsoft, one of the worlds largest companies and king of the hill in Technology money doesn’t give away much for free and only what they deem necessary. Some products can achieve success and be free, FireFox for example but that is done on people’s free time with the exception of a very small group adn they are subsidized by a few large companies. I guess you could call them the NASCAR of technology. We shall see in the end, but if I were an investor… I would be very careful where I put my money. I think it will be the current players who take the new technology and run with it.

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  14. November 15, 2009 at 10:28 am

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  1. August 16, 2006 at 2:29 am
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