Am I alone or does it feel like the rush of the dot.com era is back?
In terms of innovation on the world wide web with web 2.0 (yuk), social networking, blogging and the rise of user-generated content, google and search — it feels like a different world to the web of about 3-4 years ago.
It’s like the early days of the dot.com boom all over again — that same excitement, enthusiasm and culture of innovation and creativity of those halcyon days. The original boom was almost ten years back. If I remember correctly both Vince and I were coding HTML and creating sites to work in Netscape 1.0 at Rhodes University. (My first site was a shocker for the Rhodes Drama dept).
But then, later, in the early 2000s the crash came and suddenly online just wasn’t cool any more and tech companies started folding left, right and centre. There were survivors such as Ananzi, Netflorist, Digital Planet and iafrica. There are a whole host that just ceased to exist. South Africa of course wasn’t immune from the crash. (I wrote this piece, “Surviving the great dot.con”, on those early dot.com days in South Africa to document the crash and the culture but also mainly as a therapeutic exercise).
But this time the dot.com rush is different. “Rush” probably ain’t the word either. South Africa’s web entrepreneurs are innovating and creating new web products with bigger, savvier audiences behind them, with technology that makes it easier and cheaper to do than ever before. But more importantly, new products are being created with solid and sustainable business models behind them.
And that I think this is the difference between the web.2.0.era of now and the early dot.com.era.