Web 2.0 amateur entrepreneurs: failure to succeed

Web 2.0 is not beset by a financial bubble, but by a rash of amateur entrepreneurship: Legions of under invested and under motivated amateur entrepreneurs.
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor

In “Web 2.0 on a shoestring: What bubble?” I posit that Web 2.0 is not beset by a financial bubble, but by a rash of amateur entrepreneurship:

How can there be a financial bubble if the Web 2.0 community boasts about the near cost-free and risk-free nature of 'starting-up'? As little time or money is invested in the typical try at Web 2.0 glory, however, there is also little emotional investment, or sweat equity created…

A handful of deep pocketed corporate players willing to overpay their way into the Social Web does not equal a heady financial bubble.

Legions of under invested and under motivated amateur entrepreneurs does equal a hot air hype balloon.

A lightweight, disposable approach to Web 2.0 entrepreneurship, however, is supported by many in the Web 2.0 community.

John Battelle argues in “Failure to Fail”:

one of the really cool things about Web 2 is that you can keep making new companies, see if they work, then disassemble them and try again

I quote Paul Graham, financial backer of recently folded online calendar site Kiko via his Y Combinator, on his “no money down” Web 2.0 start-up funding philosophy:

There's another encouraging point here for the new generation of web startups. Failure is not a disaster when you're very light. The total amount raised by Kiko in its existence would be about six months' salary for a first-rate developer. There's a good chance they'll recover most of it by selling their code. They only had one employee besides themselves. So this is not an expensive, acrimonious flameout like used to happen during the Bubble.

My Web 2.0 concerns are for a “failure to succeed,” rather than a “failure to fail.”

Twentysomething weekend software developers are encouraged to crank out the latest attempt at the next cool Web 2.0 app. Where is the encouragement, however, for committed long-term personal investments in building successful Web 2.0 companies?

The software application is the easy part and the TechCrunch spotlight is the fun part. The day-in, day-out non-stop dedication to continuous improvement and growth, however, is the hard part.

I have said: The Kiko demise headline is not "Google kills Web 2.0," it is "‘Web 2.0 gets bored."

In “Eight sure ways to get in TechCrunch Deadpool” I cite the Kiko team on their lack of dedication and commitment to putting in the time and effort necessary to grow a viable business for the long-term:

As you might have noticed, we haven't been actively working on the site for a few weeks…We are selling Kiko because we want to have time to work on other projects as a development team. We had a project in mind we just didn't want to wait on :)

we thought that the release of Google Calendar might be good because it would push one of the other big players into acquiring a calendar application to compete. 30boxes had stated that they didn't want to be bought out so, as the #3 player, things were looking hopeful. Things didn't pan out, but that's okay. None of us were ever had a Lexus on hold.

In “Web 2.0 dreaming: get rich quick, or fail trying” I reflect on desires for “get rich quick” American dream success stories, rather than working towards a “hard earned dollar”:

As every American is born with the unalienable right to the ‘pursuit of happiness,’ and we often equate money with happiness, there is a tendency to jump on ‘happiness’ bandwagons, rather than take ‘slow boats to happiness.’

This second wave of the commercial Internet is no exception. At TechCrunch, Michael Arrington cheerleads daily for the latest cool applications put forth by a seemingly unending flow of Web 2.0 ‘start-ups.’ While his colorful anecdotes are well received by fellow Web 2.0 champions, there appears to be less interest in the ‘deadpool’ tag he recently added to the TechCrunch Company & Product Index.

This week’s entry of the now defunct online calendar application, Kiko, into the TechCrunch Deapool is getting attention, but the parties involved in the failed Web 2.0 start-up are gearing up, undeterred, for their next chance at the TechCrunch limelight with another 'outrageous startup idea.'

Battelle has put out a call “Help Us Find The Companies That Will Launch at Web 2.0 2006.” Web 2.0 Conference touts “one of the strengths of Web 2.0 is the startup—a new company that bursts onto the scene with an innovative and promising new technology.”

I have not seen a call, however, for “Help Us Find The Companies That Will Share Their Three Year Success Stories at Web 2.0 2006.”

UPDATE: eBay: Web 2.0 failed start-up flea market?


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