Is it my imagination, or was there a distinct "party's over" kind of feeling to the Web 2.0 conference this year? Not quite so many really good ideas, more big companies, and most of the interesting startups were already funded. Most of all, though, it lacked excitement. When Amazon.com and AOL are the companies that really stick in my mind, I take that to mean the conference has lost the mojo. Not to put those companies down, they're clearly doing very interesting things, it's just that the first couple of years it was the startups that were centre stage. This time, though, it felt like the big kids showed up and said: "thanks a lot for your help so far, but we'll take it from here..." Not that it wasn't worth going - it just didn't feel like the place to go for inspiration. There were a few things that stick in my mind:
- Nary a word about families. Nothing about kids; nothing about the elderly. Apparently, there's lots of opportunities still to be had as social networking goes mainstream.
- The platform wars are on again, and this time AOL and Amazon.com want to be players
- Don't build any more technology than you have to. It's expensive, and makes you harder to buy, and M&A is the only realistic exit right now
So that's good! There's still some helium left in the balloon if you're smart, fast and light.