Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Why Robert Scoble Is Wronger About "2010 Web": A BoomTown Translation!

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Oh, Scooby-Don’t…

You could not be more wrong in your post last week–titled, “Why Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg are wrong about naming Web 3.0 ‘Web 3.0′”–about Walt and I being wrong about naming Web 3.0 “Web 3.0″ in an essay we posted at the start of our D: All Things Digital conference, which took place last week.

I know writing “Kara Swisher,” “Walt Mossberg” and “Wrong” is well-nigh irresistible, but your solution of calling the digital era we are in the “2010 Web” is equally confusing and incorrect.

So, since you know I love to do translations, let me try to take apart your entire piece paragraph by paragraph:

What Scooby-Don’t wrote: Can we just head this trend off at the pass? It seems that Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, at their “All Things D” conference announced the beginning of the Web 3.0 era.

That’s ridiculous.

And I’m not the only one to think so.

BoomTown response: Walt and I simply wrote an essay in which we said we thought mobile and smart phones were super important as the next platform and represented what we thought Web 3.0 innovations, such as social networking (which we also think is important, by the way) would pivot around.

We didn’t “announce” anything, although that does sound awfully grand.

But so what if we did, because it happens quite a lot?

Dan Gillmor, for goodness sake, declared it Web 3.0 in 2005. His take was different:

“The emerging web is one in which the machines talk as much to each other as humans talk to machines or other humans. As the net is the rough equivalent of a computer operating system, we’re learning how to program the web itself.”

And in 2007, Tim O’Reilly weighed in on it, responding to Web 3.0 theses by Jason Calacanis and Nova Spivack, and also noting Stowe Boyd’s thoughts on the subject.

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You get my point, Bobby? Lots of folks have opinions about what is Web 3.0, much as they will when we start arguing over what Web 4.0 is.

At Web 5.0, of course, a self-aware Google (GOOG) will have begun its inevitable war with the human race, sending back a cyborg to terminate you before you wrote that post, thereby making this rebuttal moot.

But, I digress!

Scooby-Don’t wrote: Short aside: It’s interesting that neither Kara nor Walt show up very often on friendfeed, which is the best example of the 2010 Web right now. Kara Swisher has made a total of five comments there. Walt is even worse, doesn’t bring any items in there, and only has six comments. How can you know what the 2010 Web is, if you don’t use it and don’t participate in it?

BoomTown response: The fact of the matter is that neither Walt nor I like to use FriendFeed as much as you do. I daresay that no one likes to use FriendFeed as much as you do.

Thus, hinging a larger point to this, just because we don’t play in a particular sandbox you like to play in, feels a little too much in the digital weeds to me.

Just because you have chosen to be the unofficial spokesmodel for the very laudable service–about which I have done a very lovely reported post on complete with video–I am not clear why you need to accuse Walt Mossberg and I of not being social because we don’t use it as much.

We both just happen to prefer Twitter and blogging as our social outlets.

I have done 3,255 updates on Twitter since I started last year, for example, which is certainly not as much as your 21,224. But–and I think we can all agree–as blabby as I am, I am simply not as blabby as you.

So, let’s try to make this as clear as possible.

We. Don’t. Use. FriendFeed. Regularly.

As I said, we use Twitter, we use Facebook, we use SMS, we use blogging and we use a whole lot more. In fact, between us, we try out pretty much everything.

While I appreciate that FriendFeed seems to be your home planet of the moment, it is not the only place to realize your term, 2010 Web, and it feels very Web 1.0 to say so.

Scooby-Don’t wrote: The Web does NOT have version numbers. Naming what was going on in the last eight years “Web 2.0″ did us all a large disservice (Tim O’Reilly did that, mostly to get people to see that there was something different about the Web that was being built in 2000-2003 than what had come before).

But by naming it a number, I believe it caused a lot of people and businesses to avoid what was going on and “poo poo” it as the rantings of the new MySpace generation (which was just getting hot back then).

BoomTown response: Let me see if I can get this straight. You can call it 2010 Web, but we cannot use version numbers, such as Web 3.0?

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Hey, we’ll call it Britney Spears if we want!

Actually, I like naming the next era of the Web after the always volatile entertainer. She’s mobile, ever-changing, ubiquitous and always entertaining! Also, there are several eras of Britney: Sweet, Timberlake Lady, Federline Lady, Young Mom, Nuts, Nuttier, Nuttiest, Hospitalized, Medicated.

My main point remains: Who died and made you Boss of Pointless Internet Catchphrases?

Scooby-Don’t wrote: See, the Web changes EVERY DAY and a version number just doesn’t do it justice. Think about today, we saw Microsoft (MSFT) announce a major new update to its search engine, named “Bing,” that turns on next week and is already getting TONS of kudos. Seriously, in the rental car shuttle today a guy I met said the demo he saw at Kara and Walt’s conference was “awesome.”

Also today was Google’s Wave, which caught everyone by surprise and which sucked the oxygen out of Microsoft’s search announcements. Check out all the reports that I liked from around the world this morning.

BoomTown response: The Web changes EVERY DAY? You’re kidding! We had no idea! Thanks for that critical morsel of info!

Earth to Robert: Walt has spent a large part of his life writing about the panoply of new devices that have come out in an unceasing flow and I have written at least 10,000 news stories and two books about the Web since the early 1990s.

Pretty much all we write about is how the Web changes every day. Actually, every second.

Scooby-Don’t wrote: But, back to the theme of this post. There IS something going on here. I covered it a few weeks ago.

The things that are happening are NOT just Twitter and search. Here, let me recount again what is making up the 2010 Web:

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1. Real Time. Google caught the Wave of that trend today BIG TIME.

2. Mobile. Google, again, caught that wave big time Wednesday when it handed Android phones to everyone at its IO conference.

3. Decentralized. Does Microsoft or Twitter demonstrate that trend? Not really well.

4. Pre-made blocks. I call this “copy-and-paste” programming. Google nailed it with its Web Elements (I’ll add a few of those next week).

5. Social. Oh, have you noticed how much more social the web is? The next two days I’m hanging out on an aircraft carrier with a few people who do social media for the Navy.

6. Smart. Wolfram Alpha opened a lot of people’s eyes to what is possible in new smart displays of information.

7. Hybrid infrastructure. At the Twitter Conference this week lots of people were talking about how they were using both traditional servers along with cloud-based approaches from Amazon (AMZN) and Rackspace (RAX) to store, study, and process the sizeable datasets that are coming through Twitter, Facebook, and friendfeed.

BoomTown Response: We had folks on stage at our D7 conference discussing all this last week. In fact, we covered a whole lot more than that, which you can read about if you click on through.

While I think all yours are also interesting ideas, I am still not clear why you need to get your knickers in a knot, since we happened to think mobile platforms and smart phones are more important trends at this juncture.

Also, could please explain how Google “caught that wave big time Wednesday when it handed Android phones to everyone at its IO conference.” Google is innovative because they give free swag to folks?

We gave free swag to folks this week at D7, so I guess that makes Walt and I 2010-Web-worthy!

Scooby-Don’t wrote: So, why doesn’t a version number work for these changes? Because they don’t come at us all at once. A lot of these things have been cooking for years. The Internet makes iteration possible. Tomorrow will be better on the Internet than today. In the old world of software you’d have to wait for the compilers, then you’d need to distribute tons of CDs or disks. That no longer needs to be done.

The idea that we have a version for the Web is just plain ridiculous. It makes the innovations we’re implementing too easily dismissed. How many times have you heard that “Twitter is lame?” I lost count 897 days ago.

Now, is using a year number, like what I’m doing, better? Yes. It gets us out of the version lock. And it makes it clear to businesses that if you are still driving around a 1994 Web site that it’s starting to look as old and crusty as a 1994 car is about now. Executives understand this. It’s a rare executive who drives an old car around. Most like to have the latest expensive car to get to work in.

Same with the Web. Calling it the “2010 Web” puts an urgency into what’s happening. If your business isn’t considering the latest stuff it risks looking lame or, worse, leaving money on the table. Just like driving a 1994 car risks looking lame or, worse, breaking down a lot more often than a newer car.

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BoomTown response: Actually, I would have to say that your year numbering system is deeply confusing and I am not sure we can treat Internet development like some auto or, even, say, fine wine.

Ah, that 1995 Web was saucy with a smooth Netscape IPO finish, while 2001 had a disappointing popped-bubble tone, due to the excessive tannins of Pets.com. Now, the 2009 is still very young, but it has a frothy Twittery taste, which goes surprisingly well with brie.

Scooby-Don’t wrote: Is the year metaphor perfect? No, I’m sure there are a few things wrong with it. For one, if you want to host a conference based on the “trend” you’ll have to change your conference name every year. That costs money, which is why conference companies like to have more stable trends that they can exploit for a few years, at least.

BoomTown response: D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D7. So far, changing the number has worked out well for us that we’re going to go for D8!

Scooby-Don’t wrote: Also, there are some clear “eras” in the Web, so I could see wanting to suggest that we’re in the third era of the Web, but I’ve been studying this for the past eight years and calling the second era “Web 2′ actually held us back because mainstream users didn’t think anything was happening in the past few years and Web 2.0 became a useless phrase anyway.

BoomTown response: You must know that mainstream users don’t pay one bit of attention to any and all of the dumb terms Silicon Valley comes up with.

And, with all the obviously massive change that has happened in the past few years in tech and the Internet (iPhone, Kindle, Facebook, Twitter to name a few), it seems odd to say that anything has been held back.

Frankly, it would be nice if tech innovation took a breather once in a while.

Scooby Don’t wrote: Anyway, can we use year numbers to describe the Web now? It’ll make it easier to evangelize the modern world to businesses. We’re entering the 2010 Web, that’s what I’m exploring. Calling the Web a version number is for people who don’t really understand, or participate in, what’s going on here. Kara and Walt, you gotta do better here.

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BoomTown wrote: What’s in a name?

Well, it’s dang easy to attack, of course, instead of actually discussing the actual premise that we were outlining in our essay, titled “Welcome to Web 3.0.”

As we wrote:

“So what’s the seminal development that’s ushering in the era of Web 3.0? It’s the real arrival, after years of false predictions, of the thin client, running clean, simple software, against cloud-based data and services. The poster children for this new era have been the Apple (AAPL) iPhone and iPod Touch, which have sold 37 million units in less than two years and attracted 35,000 apps and one billion app downloads in just nine months.”

So, if you want to just focus on the name, then you gotta do better here.

Until then, you say 2010 Web, we say Web 3.0 and let’s call the whole thing off.


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A lot of companies have innovation departments, and this is always a sign that something is wrong when you have a VP of innovation or something. You know, put a for-sale sign on the door.

— Apple CEO Tim Cook, in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek’s Josh Tyrangiel