A few days ago I saw what I consider a great talk on TED:
http://www.ted.com/talks/roger_mcnamee_six_ways_to_save_the_internet.html While he doesn't spell everything out, and does jump a bit to conclusions, I find his talk very interesting and credible. His vision at the very end of the lecture, regarding advertising is similar to that of the start-up I am building these days.
I looked at the comments on the site, and saw that many people disagree with him, and I wanted to get this community's opinion on the matter (you guys are much more relevant then the TED audience anyway).
So what do you guys think? Are his 6 hypothesis reasonable, or did this legendary investor (29 years, from EA games to Facebook) get it wrong?
1 - Yes, the figures speak for themselves.
2 - Yes, indexed search has never delivered well and as per the point above the shift has already happened and the figures speak for themselves. One thing that is not mentioned is aggregation sites like Reddit and Digg which I think still play an important part in what bubbles to the surface. There is still a small portion of your friends or friends friends who are willing to scour the bottom of the internet looking for the next gem. The way people discover new things and share them has changed. People can't find the funniest lolcat this year using Google until it is already viral. Google only shows what is already popular. It's like the guy who retells a joke a million times after it has long stopped being funny. People prefer fresh and indexed search comes too late to the party.
3 - Apps are not better than the web and are not the revolution or the evolution of the web. The two things play out in a different space. I could go into a 2 page rant about how they are completely different, but don't imagine that ultra closed ultra protected model is going to be the new "web" or even integrate with it. Apples and Oranges, not fruit salad. It's Nintendo cartridges on a large-easy accessible scale, don't think for one second that it's going to become the next platform for the free flow of data.
4 - Gigantic IF people wanted flashy sites they would have built them in flash, right? I always spend time pondering why people don't stick theme music or background music on their sites. Like a department store, why doesn't eBay play something classy while you browse their site? The answer is people already gave a resounding thumbs down to this type of garbage ruining their access to the real info. Don't imagine for a second people will be dragging and throwing stuff around their screen in an internet app until it is a hell of a lot better. HTML5 has some other useful parts to it, but it isn't a level higher than flash when you are talking about multimedia, its just slightly more accessible.
5- Sure, tablets are winners. Apple got there first, but don't think for a second they won't have decent competition within the next 2 years. My guess, is that Apple will lose where they have always lost: competitors will deliver something that is 80% as good as Apple at 50% of the price. Then I will buy one and my Mum will buy one and my neighbour and Uncle will buy one.
6 - Facebook will be the next MySpace. Remember Myspace was valued at $12 billion at one point and recently sold for $35 million. Anyone who says there won't be something bigger than Facebook has no idea about reality. All roads led to Rome, now all roads lead to Facebook, but somewhere in the next 10 years or much earlier there will be another platform. It's a foolish statement to say all new platforms will have to link of Facebook, sure they may need to provide some integration. It's the same as this guy now saying Google is dying, but 2 years ago everyone was saying how if you want to be noticed you need to optimise your site for Google. Don't be fooled by the current big thing, participate, but think ahead.
What I see is that the market of computing has changed from being mostly business oriented to be now mostly consumer (leisure time) oriented. In the prior decades most computers were used to work and study, now most computing devices are used for communication, either from a bar, the beach, a bus or anywhere you are and anybody you are (a kid, a grandpa, a tourist, etc.).
But, at least for my business, the relevant market has not changed so much: People who must do real work, which mostly is not mobile and deal with many people, documents, formats, information sources and so on (I cannot imagine an accountant doing a balance with a tablet device while taking the sun on a resort).