Friday, April 30, 2010

What's this year's Rorschach blot?

Continuing the trip down Silicon Valley memory lane ... the other day I was talking with someone else who'd been around during the madness about a job interview they'd had. Paraphrasing very heavily, it went something like this:
Applicant: So it looks like you need another round of funding. How were you thinking of getting that?

Interviewer: Well, we were thinking of going to the VCs with some sort of web play.

Applicant: What kind of web play?

Interviewer: Um, we'll figure that out.

Applicant: OK, thank you for your time.
These days we can all have a good laugh over those silly dot-com startups thinking all you had to do was say "web" (or put e- or i- in front of your name or, of course, .com at the end) and the world would beat a path to your doorstep. What exactly was "the web"? No one had had much of a handle on that at all and as a result it could be anything you wanted to be. Of course, we know better now. The web is ... hmm, still not really sure ... maybe I'll write a blog about trying to figure it out ...

So why did my spidey sense tingle every time I heard "social networking" for a while? Probably because it sounded like the same kind of Rorschach blot -- anything you wanted it to be. Of course, now we know better. "Social networking" means "Facebook and Twitter".

OK, I know that's not fair, or even true, but when the local drugstore is proud to tell you you can fan it or follow it, you can be sure that those brands have achieved a certain level of prominence.

Maybe I'm just slow, or addled by too many days on the Peninsula, but I'm not sure what the all-purpose trend is this year -- or if it's not quite here yet, what it's going to be. But I'm sure it's out there.

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