2007 Prediction

Posted on 1/5/2007 @ 11:25 PM in #Non Techie by | Feedback | 4589 views

While the whole world is busy making predictions about what's gonna happen in 2007, I'm gonna make only 1 prediction.

- Web 2.0 is gonna go PHUTZZ !!! -

Let me define what I mean by Web 2.0 - Pure web based applications that rely on "Social Networking", "Tagging", "Ajax" etc. The technologies will persist, but I doubt we will see any crazy masterpeices worth billions of $$$ anyday soon.

Why?

Here are my reasons -

  • WTF is Web 2.0 anyway? You can't really define it, there are a few palpable technologies that are driving the "undeniable energy" you see on the web today. Unfortunately, all that hot air created by the glassy, translucent graphics, simple single column layouts, etc. will soon run out of steam, and be replaced by yet another strategy of design and presentation - but really no new groundbreaking technology. So what happened is, "Something you couldn't really define", and "Something that wasn't there in the first place", has caused a lot of VC's to put in $'s into startups - just like the .COM era. Just like home builders, they won't learn. Don't believe me? Check out the list for yourself - http://www.allthingsweb2.com/. :-/ seriously now.
  • The scary inverted yield curve. Okay, I'm branching into economics here, but bear with me. When long term debt instruments have a lower yield than short term debt instruments of the same credit quality/risk - you get an inverted yield curve. You may think, why the heck would anyone want to lock their money for a longer term for a lower interest rate? It only happens when people predict that in the long run, interest rates are going to drop, and thus in the long run - locking in rates right now makes sense. Sounds good so far, but pretty much whenever the economy has had an inverted yield curve, we've had a recession following it. This will constrain the supply of money, and drive some fizzle out of the Web 2.0 bubble.
  • Vista will see decent adoption - not crazy adoption, but a decent adoption. As a result, MSFT will settle a platform apt to mix desktop + web and provide consumers with a really compelling solution, over, web-only applications. I don't see google spread competing against excel services in the corporate environment, or writely making any serious $ dent into MS Word. Seriously, if staroffice/openoffice couldn't do it - would "writely" do it? Don't be silly. In short, MSFT slow in responding to the "Web only" web 2.0, will provide us with a platform that is thick centric, yet network centric - it's gonna happen. And that will drive the fizzle out of Web 2.0.
  • We hit the wall on software technology - way before yesterday. Oh my, I'm gonna irk a lot of optimists here. But bear with me and read on. Consider a technology - Solar Cells. Did you know, Solar cells became a commercial reality in the 70's? Back then, a commercially viable solar cell had an efficiency of about 14%. It was predicted that by the turn of this century, even if we manage to get the efficiency up to 30% and reduce the price by half, it will become a major source of our energy. What really happened? The best efficiency you get today is about 17%, and the cost didn't drop.

    The fact remains, all the thick glass'ed PhDs that large companies like MSFT employ, have been unable to solve a few crucial challenges - Voice Recognition, Indexing and understanding Audio/Video/heck even pictures, natural language recognition and translation etc. There is still a huge group of "information" that only humans are good at. So Web 2.0 had the natural consequence of bridging machines and humans. YouTube - lets humans comment and tag videos, while the computers render and network. Look at this list one more time - http://www.allthingsweb2.com/ . Is there anything at all in all those bright ideas, that we haven't already seen in the .com times? :-/. Technology changes, we moved from COM to .NET, from ASP to ASP.NET, but what we are building unfortunately remains very similar. We have increased a percentage in complexity thanks to the better tools, not a magnitude in complexity. Seriously, where is my R2D2, this is frickin' 2007 already.

    Interestingly Bill Gates recently made a prediction that Robots will be the next revolution. I almost agree with him on Robots, even though I think his past predictions lately have been a washout. Tablet PC, UMPC, Speech Server taking the world over, Spot Watches - Oh puhleez Bill, a USB Vibrator would have done better than your silly Tablet PCs. It's not that they can't do what needs to be done, it's just that they lack the acumen to recognize what needs to be done.

    The problem is, Bill Gates doesn't code anymore - and if you don't code, you absolutely cannot comprehend what it takes to build something and if it is really do-able or not. This is unfortunately a huge problem that is stiffling innovation - today people "in charge" of technology, despise technology. They think they are managers, and thus are "above" mundane coding and need to know nothing about what they are managing. The fact remains - the most successful tech companies - did their masterpeice home runs when the techies were in charge, and in touch and in love with technology.

    Sorry, I'm rambling and getting off topic here, but you know what I mean.
  • Finally, everyone's on the bandwagon. How many smart 30 year old software hardcore geeks do you know, that have registered their own domains and are working on their next big idea in their basement in their "spare" time? I know quite a few. In fact, I know quite a few investors who are willing to toss money, so a techie will do something interesting with it. It's when your neighborhood stray dog talks about investing in tech, is when you know it's time to get out of the parade and let everyone fall off the cliff.

Sound off but keep it civil:

Older comments..


On 1/6/2007 2:45:57 AM Frans Bouma said ..
Great article! I agree 100%, and I'd like to add that I also don't think 'Ajax' etc. will catch on.


On 1/6/2007 9:05:25 AM Sahil Malik said ..
I know if Frans agrees with me, I must be right :)


On 1/6/2007 10:07:06 AM Bill said ..
I agree and hope you're right. If I see another "Business Week" with the 'Geniuses' behind Web 2.0 - I think I'll barf.

If this was a cooler world, there'd be international laws against most of the stuff on MySpace (an International Treaty Against Terrible HTML and Tacky Web Pages) would be divine


On 1/6/2007 10:08:16 AM Bill said ..
P.S. You're wrong about tablets. They rock.


On 1/6/2007 11:06:20 AM Arnaud Weil said ..
This is a heck of an excellent comment, and very well documented. I can't agree more and urgently linked to it from my blog (http://arnaudweil.blogspot.com/2007/01/une-intressante-prdiction.html).


On 1/6/2007 3:12:39 PM Sahil Malik said ..
Bill -

Look at the positive side of MySpace. All the bad looking pages are on a single site now - we know what to avoid :).

BTW - Tablets, beyond the cool factor, I just don't see the point. :-S. Not until technology improves significantly around resolution & handwriting recognition.

SM


On 1/7/2007 5:52:25 AM Alex Lvovich said ..
I agree for 100%. I involved in web development for 5 years. For all these years all what I do is chasing after the technology.


On 1/12/2007 8:00:41 AM Jim Jackson II said ..
Couldn't agree more! The gravy train is running strong right now with ideas whose time has not come and won't primarily because, in the end, a capitalist society needs companies that make a profit. Not much profit in a snap and sizzle web site that doesn't help the user with anything. My personal opinion based on the nature of the job market: If you are marketable, make sure you are in or get into a job you want making the money you want. Make sure you are adding REAL value to your employer and that your employer has a plan and is profitable. In about a year, those Monster and Dice job searches are going to run very dry. That will be your signal that the gravy train is off the tracks (again).