My thoughts on future of the web - http://allthingsd.com/20120626/the-new-new-web-ask-not-who-needs-it-ask-who-wants-it/
Thomas Korte stashed this in must-read
Thomas, thanks for sharing this.
I agree with Keval's main point that after twenty years of climbing the "Web of Need" we've moved into a new era of the "Web of Want":
Today, the billion users on Facebook have reached the apex of Maslow’s hierarchy on the web. All of our basic needs have been satisfied. Now we are in pursuit of self-actualization. It is no surprise that on the Web, we are now open to playing games (Zynga, Angry Birds), watching video (YouTube, Hulu), listening to music (Pandora, Spotify), expressing our creativity (Instagram, Twitter, Draw Something), window shopping (Pinterest, Gojee*) and pursuing education (Khan Academy, Empowered*).
I'm still digesting his "Maslow Hierarchy of Needs" though! It's all about "channels"...
Interesting thoughts. I would like to add that the differentiating point for a "2012" product will be the users community.
There are 10000 ways to use facebook or twitter; question is, which "circle" will I will be hanging out with on the site. Which of my interestes will I satisfy with this product. Initial success of facebook was not just because of the profile pages web site, but the Harvard community profiles pre-loaded there.
Google seem to figured it out with "Plus", but only geeks wear the same jeans to the date and to work. Different communities require different products.
The essence of social product is: will there be people there, who can share my valuation of content. One of the main aspects of the community is a feedback. Nobody will buy FENDI bag if there is no community of people, who assign the same value to it. If there are no people, who will also use something similar.
I see more interests and community focused apps popping up. Quora is a good example. An app for enlightened geeeks. Reason it's so popular it brovides a not only Q&A functionality, but immediate feedback and assignment of value to the content provided by the users. Did Quora kill all other Q&A sites, which were there before? No... Their communities are different.
Web properties will be more like real estate. Same quality house costs much more in wealthy community with good schools, jobs and art around.
For an entrepreneur, it will be more and more organizing community around the product and less about anything else.
Sergey, that is an excellent point. Communities matter.
Wikipedia, Tumblr, Pinterest, the Blogosphere -- these are all communities.
The more specialized the community (Reddit, Ravelry, and WeHeartIt, to name three), the more specialized what the members share with each other (news, knitting, and cute images, respectively).
It's interesting also to acknowledge what aren't good communities: Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, Twitter Lists. Not specialized enough.
Good communities take time to develop and defend their value systems.
That's why, for example, it took Reddit years to grow.