Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Fast and the Arrogant

During one of the sessions on virtual worlds at the Under the Radar conference last week, one of the VC panel members talked about "conventional social network" Vs. virtual worlds.
Although I was listening to buzzwords all day long, this phrase caught my attention. I joked about it with Andreas from SAP Venture. It made me feel so old for 'still' having interest in social network and for having the feeling this domain should not be "archived", just yet...

I was thinking about this over the weekend. I could not find the right way to express what I thought about it, until I saw Marc Andreessen's post:


More recently, aided and abetted by new communications technologies such as blogging and instant messaging, the inside baseball effect has become particularly acute and short-sighted among the group Josh Kopelman famously dubbed the Techcrunch 50,000 -- the core group of Internet industry aficionados and early adopters, including myself and many of my friends, who live, sleep, and breathe this stuff.

It works like this: A new technology hits the market in its earliest form -- social networking, or peer-to-peer video streaming, or voice over IP, or widget-style embedding, or now the Facebook platform. Said technology is rapidly adopted by the Techcrunch 50,000, who jump all over it, enthuse about it, dissect it, analyze it, write about it, use it some more, find some limitations in it, tire of it, cynically dismiss it, and then move on to the next thing, almost overnight.

Sometimes the new thing then proceeds to fall over and die, starved of attention and press coverage, and forever confined to life in a tiny niche of die-hards. And the Techcrunch 50,000 say, yep, called it.

But sometimes, the new thing goes on its merry way, ignored and dismissed by the in crowd, and grows, and grows, and grows, and grows, and grows, and grows -- and is ultimately discovered by millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions, or even billions of people all around the world who incorporate it into their daily lives and don't have the foggiest idea that there was ever a group of insiders who dismissed it a few weeks into its pre-adolescence.


Open questions:
  • Are we moving too fast?
  • Do VCs dismiss good ideas/products/companies just because they are on a chase for the 'next big thing'?
  • Are we 'early adopters' or just beta testers?

Going fast in great, as long as we do not miss or dismiss opportunities and as long as we are not being arrogant to those who think they can improve current products/services/technologies. Event if they are "so 5 minutes ago"...


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