Posted on January 22, 2008
Filed Under Web 2.0 Kool Aid |
Jimmy and Jason each gave a brief overview of their human powered search engines. Jason railed on Google and other big engines, saying algorithms have failed to control spam and SEO gaming, and that humans must be involved to get good results. Jimmy was more circumspect, and spent most of his time arguing that large numbers of people will be willing to spend time helping Wikia Search develop good results.
The first thing I thought: why would any conference invite Jimmy Wales and Jason Calacanis to discuss anything related to search? On January 10, “Mahalo ranked 69th last week among Search Engines and received 0.02% of all US Internet visits to Search Engines compared with Google’s 55.52%.” For a company that’s raised $16 million, it doesn’t look too promising. Wikia, with its $14 million in funding, was called a “complete letdown” by Michael Arrington when it launched recently and clearly has an uphill battle.
The second thing I thought: why is it that so many of the founders of Web 2.0 companies that are struggling to turn into viable businesses seem to be on the conference trail more than they are actually working to make substantive progress for their companies? Given the challenges Mahalo and Wikia face, why does it appear that their leaders are more involved with industry events than making their companies consumer successes? Sure, about what it’s going to take to beat Google, but executives aren’t paid to discuss theory - they’re paid to execute. Wales and Calacanis shouldn’t be engaged in talk; they should be engaged in action. Obviously, there’s a certain amount of industry “stuff” that executives always need to do, but it seems that for many Internet executives, Web 2.0 is more a perpetual cocktail party than it is a massive business opportunity.
With a , I think serious executives are more worried about taking care of business than being on panels at every single conference that has sprung up to exploit new buzzwords. And the conference organizers should heed my advice and actually invite interesting people who can justifiably speak with authority on the topics being discussed.Print This Post