I'm a partner in the advanced analytics group at Bain & Company, the global management consulting firm. My primary focus is on marketing analytics (bio). I've been writing here (views my own) about marketing, technology, e-business, and analytics since 2003 (blog name explained).

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March 10, 2006

Web 2.0 Calendaring: Squash is good, but misses the point

Via my friend Bill Ives, read this bearish post on Phil Sim's Squash about calendaring, given Google's presumed intentions (I imagine there's some "shadowcasting" going on here -- hint at your intentions to rob an otherwise fertile field of sunlight -- aka investment).  It's quite thoughtful.  But I think it misses an important point, namely it presumes that VC-funding-headed-toward-major-acquisition-or-IPO is the objective.

My interest in "Web 2.0"-style calendaring, and for that matter in web technology in general, is not so focused on such naive hopes.  Rather, I see them as inexpensive experiments that can either be done or bought, pre-VC or at most not long after an angel round, by larger firms. 

I think Phil is right, in that what matters in the Web 2.0 world isn't so much technology anymore (in fact, the explosion is driven by the relative simplicity of building these applications), but liquidity -- users.  And, unless you're really clever, first-mover advantage is gone in Web 2.0 applications by now, just as the landscape in the blogosphere (Technorati Top 100 vs. Long Tail) is largely established. 

That is, unless you already have a large user base you can drive to these new capabilities one way or another, as major online publishers, portals, etc. do.

So look for a lot of bootstrap or $1M angel efforts cashing out at ~$3-5M to strategic investors again.  Back to "$1M-per-developer" pricing for tech deals once more, like we saw in the mid-late '90's?


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