Notes from Michael Arrington’s talk at Future of Web Apps

I arrived a few minutes late to Michael Arrington’s talk, but caught most of his presentation in my notes (see below). Mike’s the editor of TechCrunch, the hub for a lot of the enthusiasm and news coverage around Web 2.0, and he’s one of the self-appointed spokesman and evangelists for this new generation of web companies… which is a absolutely a good thing IMO. From my notes at Gnomedex, Mike’s measure of success for an internet company is 1) it makes money and 2) it makes the Internet a better place. My notes from his talk last week…


Pretty good bets

(missed this slide altogether)

Ones to watch

– 1-800-free-411

(missed most of this slide)
What were they thinking?

– inform
– gather
– pubsub
– browzar (wonderful coverage on techcrunch UK, bbc, nytimes)–> about a week later and people looked closer at it and realized that it was just a wrapper to internet explorer
– jigsaw: 7000 new people coming into the site every day, one of Michael Arrington’s best friends is on the board of austin ventures; companies like this shouldn’t exist, Mike believes that we should have regulation in place to prevent companies like this from coming into existence)
– squidoo

– Purple Cow: must read book
– broken revenue model from the beginning
– put ads up and then you get a revenue cut

(be careful with what you promise people when you launch)

Shared attributes of winners

– passion for what they are doing (opposite of this: don’t over business plan)
– do something extraordinary (purple cow)
– removing serious friction
– great founder dynamics
– never raised big money or raised it after they won
– perfect revenue model not required
– and… luanched their copmany with a post on techcrunch

Shared attributes of losers

– poor founder / team choices
– lifestyle / ego entrepreneurs
– raised too much money (may or may not be sign of a bubble)
– spent too much money
– over business-planned
– forgot about scaling (friendster)
– didn’t launch their company on techcrunch (ha)

What server platform?

– PHP (most popular)
– Ruby on Rails (upcoming)
– Java (serious applications)
– .NET

What client platform?

– .Net ActiveX (no firefox)
– AJAX (monster)
– Flash (growing)
– XUL/XAML (interesting)
– Adobe Apollo (flash applications that aren’t running in a browser)

– with an apollo application there would be no break between a local application or an online application

– Desktop hybrid

Market saturation
AVOID:
– social networking (socialzr)
– social bookmarks (switched away from delicious… but after reviewing 20 of them)
– video (250 video sites now… many of them are funded)
– photos
– blogging/podcasting platforms
– portals / homepages
– feed reeders

BIG POTENTIAL
– Platforms
– Desktop apps
– Office efficiency
– Cloud storage (microsoft and google launching next year, omnidrive, box.net)
– Identity (rapleaf is a company I love)
– Developer tools
– Market destruction
– ENTERPRISE

– typically enterprise innovations happened and then it came to consumers
– hasn’t happened recently– blogs, voip, instant messaging, online storage
– new enterprise blog from techcrunch– dan farber is writing

Note: The best entrepreneur’s avoid this type of advice. Invent a new market.

(photograph above by Thomas Hawk, hosted here on flickr)