Monday, December 19

The web is more powerful than a brain

All this talk about Web 2.0 right now. What's really important is that communities and consumer interaction is creating connections that no one ever could imagine on their own.

The internet now is actually fuelling the creative process by letting consumers cut, paste, mix, match, 'colour in' and share beyond streets, offices, neighbourhoods and countries. Whatever crazy ideas you've got, there are several million others in the world who'll be thinking the same things.

The technologies the industry is calling Web 2.0 are simply providing the plumbing to the masses.

Just as Tim Berners-Lee started by stitching PC's together to create something more powerful - a web of micro-chips. Now technology is beginning to take a back seat and users and their ideas are meeting seemlessly across http. That's the power of over 1 billion brains thinking together, moving together, creating.

As the collaborative tools and open API's become more mainstream we can expect people to collectively create images, sounds, applications and businesses no one person could ever imagine. And like a brain, the new internet is capable of incredible creativity by mixing structured and unstructured connections - the thoughts of billions.

The real new economy businesses are trying to own the tools that create these connections - like eBay, Six Apart, Alibaba and more recently Yahoo!'s MyWeb and BBC's BackStage. The first iterations of such tools were simplistic (like Amazon's user feedback, rating and recommendation lists) and controlled. But the business strategy is the same 'let the community do it's own thinking' and step-away to fuel the flames.

The question remains - can a business really hope to own or control part of this "web brain" over the long-term. Those billion people collaborating on thoughts/ideas may outpace any business, and that includes Google.

Are you a left-side or right-side person?

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