Social Enterprise

The four Web2.0 companies I wish I could buy

If I ran CNET (never happen) and was in the mood to acquire some Web 2.0

up-and-comers to invigorate the brand (and grab some industry

headlines), here's who I'd buy...

  1. Digg.

    Do one thing, do it well. This is the Web 2.0 mantra, and digg

    exemplifies it. They find the coolest Web content, as derived from

    community consensus. Despite reaching a relatively niche audience

    (seriously, how many people really design CSS Web pages as

    their main activity), digg is one of the top ten content referers on

    the net. Yahoo had a $35 million buyout offer on the table, but I never heard

    of it being consummated (Yahoo! already has del.icio.us, and flickr, so digg is really gravy for Semel & Co.). I'll overlook the fact that digg users hate my guts, and concede that this is a great Web 2.0 idea that is only going to get more expensive the longer somebody waits to buy it.
  2. 37Signals. These guys own the leading edge of Ruby on Rails development, which is the hottest Web coding platform going (or so the early adopters and pundits have said). They make successful Web-based applications—Campfire, Basecamp, Backpack—that

    at least the aforementioned early adopters and pundits believe can

    compete with Microsoft's heavy duty productivity tools. They have a

    real flair for clean, catchy, effective design. That, and they blog well.
  3. Instructables.

    Nothing beats pictures to make step-by-step isntructions easier, and

    since everyone (but me) has an online photo site account, Instructables

    is the niche remix site for all that underutilized data. Instructables

    let's you upload images and quickly arrange them into a visual how-to

    guide. It's a niche application that appeals to everyone, the ultimate

    Web 2.0 idea. Mix it with the photo sharing service of your choice.
  4. YouTube.

    If video mashups are the new mixtape, then YouTube is the new jam

    party. YouTube lets you upload, tag, and trade digital video clips, and

    the interface is so intuitive and viral that you'd swear Apple designed

    it. This one has almost no business application whatsoever, other than

    being the biggest cashcow in the brief history of Web 2.0. Bigger than

    flickr. Bigger than digg. Someday soon, everyone will trade DRM-busted

    Tivo clips and digital home video via ubiquitous broadband, and YouTube

    is the platform that will make it happen. Once Hollywood gets off their

    DRM delusions, YouTube will make even Google quiver. You heard it here

    first.

So, what would I do with this fantastic four. Well, in true Web2.0

fashion, I'd create a mashup. I'd build a platofrm for highlighting,

sharing, and remixing everything you've got saved on the Web, and build

a whole community around it with one giant shared API. Video, audio,

stills, code? Throw it all in and arrange it into something new. Remix

DJs of the new Web superculture. But me, I'm a dreamer. That's why I'm

not in charge.

About Jay Garmon

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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