What Is Love?

Many people have been trying to figure out what the term "Web 2.0" really means. Some think it means nothing. Some thing it's the second Internet boom. Some think it's all about that clean, Google-ish look. And some think that anything with "Web 2.0" attached to it will get venture capital funding.

None of these are really true, although they are at least partly true. Yesterday I listened to the Inside The Net interview with the company Big In Japan. (Inside The Net, part of the TWiT network, is a weekly podcast that interviews major players in "Web 2.0".) One of the hosts on the show may have stumbled on the point of "Web 2.0" and/or Open Source.

Leo Laporte was commenting on how "Web 2.0" seems to be more about cooperating and working together than competition. Many things are open-sourced, much is done to ensure interoperability, etc. The guys from Big In Japan talk about how another company just gave them the code for part of their application, which is something that you'd never hear of otherwise. Leo even likened it to some Christian principles of helping out your neighbor and stuff.

It seems to me that this is at the heart of the new Internet revolution. But many don't get it yet. At work they were asking me if I could do a project, and I looked around and somebody was already working on implementing this add-on for a popular open-source software. My suggestion to work was to talk to this person, who had made similar add-ons before, to see if we could just pay him some cash to get it done by the time we needed it. That seems like a very Open Source, "Web 2.0" way to do it. If I owned my own company, that would at least be my first crack at it.

But, work said they'd rather have me do it and have me spend the extra time and (their) money to figure it out. I don't have a problem with that because I was happy to learn some new stuff. It seemed to me that it was more about not trusting somebody else on the Internet. Do I have too much trust in other developers? Is it better to go with somebody you know that someobdy who will do the job well? Is my employer missing the "Web 2.0" bandwagon?


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