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Web2.0: Why we got here and what's next

  1. Web 2.0: Why we got here, and what’s next Rolf Skyberg [email_address] Disruptive Innovator for eBay, Inc. Wednesday, May 27, 2009
  2. my job title at eBay is both fun, and confusing
  3. the role of “Disruptive Innovator”
  4. is part Product Manager, part evangelist,
  5. sometimes developer,
  6. and always watcher .
  7. my main job is to inspire and excite individuals both inside and outside eBay
  8. by any means necessary.
  9. a little history about myself:
  10. my University major was business,
  11. but I also minored in theatre
  12. and later pursued graduate studies in System Science
  13. “ System Science” is the study of complex interactions over time,
  14. including topics like: computer networks, economics, traffic flow and human actions.
  15. this morning I will be talking about:
  16. people,
  17. ploughs,
  18. power,
  19. horses,
  20. dishwashers,
  21. France,
  22. bears,
  23. beers,
  24. windmills,
  25. and maybe the internet.
  26. (actually, the bears are just a joke)
  27. this is in fact, a bear-free presentation.
  28. and because there are no bears,
  29. let’s start with windmills .
  30. when I say “windmill”,
  31. most people think about:
  33. but I’m not talking about Dutch windmills
  34. I’m talking about:
  36. much as Dutch windmills opened up new land
  37. by removing water,
  38. American windmills were a critical part of settling the “ Great American Desert ”
  39. by adding water.
  40. “ Oh, you’ve never heard of the Great American Desert? ”
  41. much of the American west was purchased from France
  42. by President Jefferson in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase,
  43. essentially sight-unseen.
  45. ?
  46. seeking to explore this land and encourage settlement,
  47. the federal government dispatched a mission of exploration in 1819
  48. which surveyed the land for a total of 4 years.
  49. in 1821, Stephen Long published journals including this map:
  51. on which he added the cautionary text:
  52. “ frequented by roving bands of indians who have no fixed place of residence, but roam from place to place in search of game ”
  53. his annotation was associated with an area he called the “ Great Desert”
  55. it wasn’t a desert like the Sahara desert,
  56. but it was extremely harsh.
  57. for the first settlers
  58. coming from the wet, hilly Atlantic coast,
  59. lands West of the Mississippi
  60. appeared to be hostile to settlement and farming.
  61. Long’s description discouraged settlers
  62. and the reality of what was in the West didn’t help either:
  63. no trees,
  64. no water,
  65. soil you couldn’t plow because of thick native grasses,
  66. and far away from civilization and transportation.
  67. the first issue was solved by a technical pioneer:
  69. the ploughs designed for the sandy soil of the East
  70. were entirely useless in the thick clay soil of the West,
  71. so he invented (and became rich from)
  72. the steel plough
  73. but even though you could plough the soil,
  74. you still couldn’t grow anything
  75. because there wasn’t enough rain.
  76. Daniel Halladay solved this problem in 1854
  77. with his autonomous wind-pump
  79. these pumps tapped a huge underground water source
  80. just a hundred meters below ground
  81. called the “Ogallala Aquifer”.
  83. prospects started looking better,
  84. but the West was still a desolate, lonely place.
  85. even if you could grow enough grain to sell at a market, there was no way to get it there
  86. the final step in settling the west came in the form
  87. of a trans-continental railroad
  89. completed in 1873, the railroad linked farms with markets
  90. finally making it possible for families to earn a living.
  91. this area is now known as The Great Plains,
  92. and is one of the most productive areas of farmland in the world.
  93. just a hundred meters below ground.
  94. European settlement of the west
  95. happened only because it was enabled by a series of technologies.
  96. working together, windmills, steel ploughs, and train transport
  97. enabled settlers to enter an environment entirely new and different,
  98. and created the movement we call “settling the west”.
  99. Web 2.0 is the same pattern.
  100. western settlement wasn’t a “thing”, it was an era .
  101. Web 2.0 also isn’t a “t