Category Archives: web 2.0

At Foo

I will be at O’Reilly’s Foo Camp Friday through Sunday. Drop me an email (dawn/at/dawnfoster/dot/com) if you are attending and want to chat about collective intelligence, web 2.0, communities, or any of the other topics that I regularly blog about.

Danese Cooper and I are going to record some podcasts at Foo about community for an upcoming O’Reilly book, so please contact one of us if you have something interesting to say about community. This is your chance to be a famous voice immortalized in an O’Reilly book [grin].

I am also trying to organize a discussion to explore how the web 2.0 communities are similar to / different from open source communities. What can Digg, MySpace, LinkedIn, and others learn from open source communities? How could open source communities take advantage of web 2.0 technologies to bring more non-technical people into open source communities (think SpreadFirefox for example)?

UPDATE: I spent some time writing about how web 2.0 communities and open source communities are similar / different on my Intel Trends in Web 2.0 blog.

Biz Dev in the Web 2.0 World

AKA Biz Dev 2.0.

Web 2.0 is starting to change the nature of business development in the online world. Not long ago, the business development process for joint efforts between companies looked something like this:

  • Step 1: A brilliant idea for a joint effort between your product and company X’s product.
  • Step 2: Find contact information for company X.
  • Step 3: Continue to pester contact at company X trying to get them to return your voice mail / email.
  • Step 3a: This step will likely involve a rousing game of ping pong as you are passed back and forth between several people at company X before finding the “right”person.
  • Step 4: Possibility 1 – Both of you agree that it is a great idea and want to start immediately or
  • Step 4: Possibility 2 – Company X laughs at you. … Return to step 1 with company X’s biggest competitor, company Y.
  • Step 5: The lawyers enter the room. Negotiations, paperwork, and legal matters suck all of the coolness out of the idea along with a year out of your life (and possibly resulting in more gray / less hair in the process).
  • Step 6: Build something slightly less cool than what you envisioned before the lawyers entered the room.

The new process for web 2.0 companies?

  • Step 1: Get a copy of company X’s API.
  • Step 2: Build something cool

According to Caterina, this is exactly what happened with QOOP and Flickr:

Several companies — probably more than a dozen — have approached us to provide printing services for Flickr users, and while we were unable to respond to most of them, given the number of similar requests and other things eating up our time, one company, QOOP, just went ahead and applied for a Commercial API key, which was approved almost immediately, and built a fully-fleshed out service. (Quote from

Here is a similar take and a few more examples from a VC in New York:

But we have witnessed some interesting things happening in and around open apis, rss, search, crawling, embed code, widgets and mashups that suggests there’s a new way to do business development. Here are but a few of the interesting things we have noticed:

  • YouTube makes it flash video player available via embed code on MySpace and their traffic takes off.

  • TripAdvisor search engine optimizes its service and becomes one of the most popular travel services.

  • Technorati hits delicious’ api for its tags and builds the web’s most succesful tag search service.

  • Indeed crawls the Internet for jobs and builds a popular job service overnight.

  • Kayak crawls the Internet for flights, hotes, and cars, and builds a popular travel service overnight.

  • Qoop takes Flickr’s API and builds a Flickr printing service without ever engaging with Flickr’s team.

  • Netvibes takes a few RSS feeds and builds a start page that looks as complete as MyYahoo overnight.

You get the picture. These days it’s often better to just take what’s already freely available on the Internet to integrate with other web services. (Quote from A VC)

OK, so maybe it is not quite that easy. For every YouTube or, there are probably a dozen that did not make it. There is an element of luck or buzz or viral promotion that makes it difficult to predict which will make it and which will go down in flames.

Browster Gets Friendly with MySpace

I downloaded Browster 2.0 yesterday. For those who are not familiar with Browster, it integrates into Firefox or Internet Explorer allowing you to preview links without leaving the original page. A nifty time-saving feature used to decide whether or not to follow a particular link without having to leave the original page and wait for a new one to load. This is especially handy when looking at search results.

Browster just released a new feature that can be used to preview MySpace pages. Anyone who has spent time on MySpace knows that the graphical backgrounds, music, and all of the other clutter on some MySpace pages can make it painful to load the pages and even difficult to read once the page has loaded due to the graphical backgrounds combined with less than optimal text color choices. Browster 2.0 makes this easier by ignoring the user’s style sheet to display only basic profile information, the about me section and a couple of pictures. It works quite well, and my only issue so far is that the next / previous buttons are still a little buggy. In a Google search, for example, Browster would take you to the next / previous search result on the page; however, in MySpace these buttons seem to display the same profile multiple times or take my to another random profile on the page. Even if you are not a MySpace user, Browster 2.0 is worth a look just for the ability to preview search results alone.

You may want to check out a few complete reviews on Mashable! and TechCrunch.

Web 2.0 Starter Kit

Over a great pizza at Ken’s Artisan Pizza in SE Portland this week, I was talking about how many people are getting excited about the web 2.0 buzz, but are having difficulty really grokking the concept. Todd suggested that I put together a web 2.0 starter kit to help people learn more about web 2.0. I encourage comments on this post to point out the inevitable misses, and I hope to update this post with more ideas as the web 2.0 concept evolves. I encourage you to forward this to people with questions about web 2.0.

The Web 2.0 Starter Kit

Step 1: Read Tim O’Reilly’s essay, What is Web 2.0, and the Wikipedia entry on Web 2.0.

Step 2: Read web 2.0 blogs.

I recommend these:

Extra credit:

Use RSS and subscribe to the above blogs plus five others. If you need more help getting started with RSS, Netvibes has a fairly intuitive interface, and you can even click here to get a copy of my Web 2.0 / technology rss feed tab.

Search for blogs on another topic of personal interest using any of the common blog search engines: Technorati or Google Blog Search, for example.

Step 3: Stop reading and starting participating.

This is the most important step. You will not truly understand web 2.0 unless you participate in it.


If do not already have a blog create one! Blogger is an easy place to start. Pick a topic that you are passionate about (technology, photography, wine, beer, cats, dogs, sports, your kids, or anything else) and commit to posting something every other day.

Use these sites every day for one week.

  • Create bookmarks

  • Share some of your photographs on Flickr

  • Join any social networking site. I suggest MySpace for those under 30 or LinkedIn for the over 30 crowd. Add 5 MySpace friends or LinkedIn connections.

  • Participate in Digg by submitting a story and digging a few stories that you find interesting. Extra credit: Add Kevin Rose as your friend.

  • Visit YouTube and watch three of the “most viewed” videos of the day. Forward one to a friend (congratulations you are now viral).

  • Add yourself to my Web 2.0 Starter Kit Frappr map with a “shout out” message.

Step 4: Repeat Step 1.

After participating in various web 2.0 activities, you will gain new insights from re-reading the O’Reilly essay and the Wikipedia entry.

Step 5: Continue Learning

Watch the Web 2.0: The 24 Minute Documentary.

Web 2.0 is not something that you can learn once and then stop. Because web 2.0 is still developing and maturing, new ideas and new websites pop up every day. Keep reading the blogs in Step 2 and continue to play with new web 2.0 technologies as they appear.