Jason Calacanis thinks in 1.0 / by Nate Westheimer


A major apology to anyone still reading this blog who doesn't give a hoot about what "version" of the web we're on (Hi mom, dad, and everyone else outside the industry echo chamber -- you people who actually use our products!). This is what Jason Calacanis said today:

Web 3.0 is defined as the creation of high-quality content and services produced by gifted individuals using Web 2.0 technology as an enabling platform.

That's absurd. Let's have fun and deconstruct Jason Calacanis and his statement.

Quick question, class: "How have (the collective) we changed as Internet technology improved?"

In the first phase of the popular Internet (WWW 1.0?), we changed because technology did stuff for us: we could be stimulated more, and do things faster. Our newspapers came online instead of just in print, and we could order books off the Internet rather than going to the store. Web 1.0 was one-way and linear. It was about efficiency.

In what's been called "Web 2.0," instead of just a one-way street of technology enhancing our lives, a trend emerged where we started used technology to enhance each others lives. While there's not heavy technology behind Wikipedia (or not more than the technology behind 1.0 Amazon.com), there's heavy community, and that's what's caused a revolution on the Internet over the past 5 years or so.

So now we have people calling for a definition for Web 3.0 for at least the past 11 months (see this NY Times article and my reaction here). Most recently, Eric Schmidt talked about Web 3.0 within the context of making DIY web-apps which rely on "data from the cloud" (is this where I follow Calacanis and say my company is Web 3.0?), but regardless of it's actual appearance, ultimately I think most people are agreeing that the future of the web will actually involve people using new technology in some way. I know it's weird to think of it in this way, but there used to be a time when our field was considered high-technology. I kinda like a future which has new technology in it.

Anyway, back to Jason and his absurd Web 3.0 claim. Let's finally deconstruct:

The first part says, "Web 3.0 is defined as the creation of high-quality content and services produced by gifted individuals..." Okay, this sounds like the old days of the Internet, the days when people only read WIRED and CNET and not this blog. So then Jason finishes his claim with, "...using Web 2.0 technology as an enabling platform." But I render this last part meaningless, because, in the way Jason is talking about it, there is no "Web 2.0 enabling platform."

As Eric Schmidt points out in the aforementioned (and appended) video, the only claim to "Web 2.0 technology" is the emergence of Ajax, which fall in line with javascript adoption, but mostly the development of XML (sorry programmers, I hope I didn't butcher that). Other technologies of this latest era include cheap server costs (Jason couldn't afford to have his company if those weren't so low!) and the emergence of outsourcing infrastructure.

The moral of the story is that only one half of Jason's definition actually means something, and what he's describing is Web 1.0 -- one, way, linear, controlled by experts, and using not an ounce of technology more than websites in 1997 did.

It's as if Jason Calacanis thinks in 1.0. (Because if he thought in 2.0, at least someone would agree with him.)

Lead photo Credit: Sister72