An Ignoble But Much Needed End To Web 2.0, Marked By A Party In Cyprus

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Sequoia Capital’s 56 Slide Presentation Of Doom

In May 2007 I wrote “Times are good, money is flowing, and Silicon Valley sucks” in a post about how, in my opinion, Silicon Valley was ripe for a downturn.

This week, without any doubt, we got that downturn. It was different from the last downturn in that it wasn’t driven by the crazy bullishness of Silicon Valley venture capitalists and investment banks. This time, Wall Street and our government screwed everything up all on their own while we minded our own business and acquired our own instead of going public at crazy valuations.

So what exactly just ended? Easy capital to start. And that means already funded companies are going to tighten their belts in a big way, per the request/demand of venture capitalists like Sequoia Capital, Benchmark Capital and Ron Conway.

The first to go will be the bulging marketing and communications departments at all those startups – the very people who make Silicon Valley such a nasty place to be in the boom times. But as the number of startups dwindle, it won’t be so hard for them to get attention from press and users, so those marketing and PR flaks won’t be missed all that much (of course, the people without jobs won’t be happy).

We’ll look back in later years and think of this most recent boom as the Web 2.0 period, when we were wowed by the magic of user generated content, copyright violations on a massive scale, and neat little widgety things that used Javascript and Flash to turn web pages into pretty close equivalents to the old desktop apps. Of course there were other evolutions as well. Advertising technology has advanced steadily, particularly in tailoring ads to an individuals needs, and tracking them properly. This is the period that social networking as we think of it today was born, and we’ll never be rid of it in our lifetimes.

So why the use of the word ignoble in the title? Well, all this went down at an unfortunate time for a score of Silicon Valley posterboys and girls as they partied 1999 style “the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in October of 2008 for a week of reflections on life, love, and the Internet.” They leave behind an absurd video that would have gone unnoticed a month ago. But this week, with the walls tumbling down, they look like a bunch of jackasses who have no idea what’s going on back at home. And this video will always be associated with the end of Web 2.0.

Goodbye, Web 2.0. I hope I never have to type those words again. Now can we please get back to work? There’s still a ton left to do before we get to Matrix-style virtual reality, the Singularity, and mobile phones with batteries that last a whole day.

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