Maybe it's the product manager in me but I always like to have goals for the things that I'm trying to do. I thought I'd share them with folks who might be following along. I don't have it down to pithy statement yet but I will. I'm open to suggestions too so please drop me a line if you've got any.
wsfinder wiki goal - be a great community resource for people to share and discover the web services and open APIs that are the underpinnings of the new Web 2.0 world.
The goal that we have for the blog is a little different though. While there are a few blogs like techcrunch and web 2.0 that are talking about new companies that are emerging in this field, I haven't managed to find a blog that focuses the discussion how the world changes once web 2.0 comes into existence. To be fair, John Battelle's Searchblog, Marc Canter's blog, danah boyd's blog and others touch on this theme every once in a while.
wsfinder blog goal - to promote web services and open APIs but also to foster a discussion on how this new web 2.0 world will manifest itself and what some of the implications are.
In my mind there are some important questions that remain unanswered that I hope to think about and to discuss within this blog:
What does it mean to be a web 2.0 company?
"Web 2.0" has come to be a catch all term that encompasses almost all new companies. Is there a definition that we can agree on? As danah boyd points out the wikipedia entry isn't exactly too focused and yet her idea of glocalization isn't one that I necessarily can buy into either.
How can web 2.0 companies be financially successful?
Yes - I know that folks like Google, Amazon and Yahoo are successful and they've embraced this but are there examples of other companies that have gone this path first and made it? Flickr seems to be the only one I can think of, and yet their path to financial success was being bought out by Yahoo. Is this the only route?
Who owns what in a web 2.0 world?
One thing that strikes me as I look through the wsfinder wiki is that many of the APIs don't allow commercial use. Does that mean that we'll never have a set of viable companies created around them? Who has the right to control where the content in RSS feeds appears? When I was at Tribe we ran into a situation where we were bringing in RSS feeds and showing advertising around them and the content owner complained that we were cutting him out of the revenue loop. Should we have been allowed to take that content and show ads next to it?
What does the Web 2.0 value chain look like?
At the risk of going all MBA on folks, I think that there's a real question around what the value that these web 2.0 companies are really creating. Who benefits from their existence? Who's lives are made better by them being out there? How does this flow through the ecosystem of companies out there?
What does the map of the world for web 2.0 look like? Who's doing what?
I've seen a lot of companies started that are ostensibly web 2.0 companies but I haven't seen a comprehensive list of them in a good categorization scheme. I'm thinking of starting another wiki that will take care of this.
I invite people to join in the conversation and see if we can figure out how this new world is going work.