Web 2.0 – Leveraging the Network (2.74 MB pdf)

In the talk I spoke about how Web 2.0 companies distinguish themselves by leveraging the network of which they are a part. Brittanica, for example, has had a web site for quite some time and were slow to leverage the network in any particular way. Wikipedia,
on the other hand, exists only because they used the available network
to improve their contents communally. And Wikipedia, of course, is a
much, much more popular site.

As in my last talk: Web 2.0 for the Rest of Us
(which includes a podcast), I started down the road toward Web 2.0 from
the standpoint of those Web companies who have excelled: Google, Yahoo,
Amazon, and eBay. They obviously know more about succeeding online than
anybody else, and have become so successful so fast that we often take
them for granted, even though they are barely a decade old. So, I find
it particularly useful to ask: What makes them so special? What have
they done that others haven’t? And I find myself coming back to the
same answer over and over: they know how to leverage the network.
From Google’s pagerank algorithm to the APIs of eBay and Amazon to the
movie ratings on Yahoo, these companies know how to harness the
collective activity and intelligence of people to make their services

For those who want only the quick and dirty (without the pretty pictures), here are the talking points:

  1. The home page is no longer the most important page on your site.
  2. The information architecture that people use to find your content is, increasingly, not yours.
  3. Each feature added to an application is more to think about – for everyone.
  4. Folksonomies are a way for users to map their own, familiar vocabulary to your alien one.
  5. Words are the currency of the Web. Spend the most time on your words.
  6. Seducible moments are those increasingly rare moments when you can talk to your users in an appropriate context.
  7. Recommendation systems are a forced move.
  8. Users want control.
  9. Users appreciate tools that help them make their own well-informed decisions.
  10. The best software models human behavior.
  11. Links model how users value content, and are only the start…
  12. Sometimes it is easier to design for yourself than others.
  13. There is always an opportunity for a better interface to data.
  14. All things being equal, faster interfaces allow for more innovation.
  15. Most people are willing to trade their personal information for good service.
  16. As choices grow, so does the importance of learnability.
  17. Redesigns are dead.
  18. Network effects are rare, and killer.
  19. Network effects work in the opposite way for teams building software.
  20. Personal value precedes network value
  21. People rarely do things for the “good of the network”
  22. Del.icio.us, though providing very cool tagging features, is mostly about a single person remembering items for later.
  23. “The accretion of tiny marvels can numb us to the arrival of the stupendous”