A Web 2.0, by any other name…

It seems that the perception of what Web 2.0 is, and can do, varies. It may depend on what you expect it to achieve.


The Churchill Club is running a program, called Australian Web 2.0 Success. There seems to be a hang-up in Australia about what Web 2.0 actually is, and whether we have any successful companies in that space.


When asking around, there seemed to be a lot of consent that Atlassian, was one of our most successful Web 2.0 companies, as it supplies Web 2.0 software to many of America’s Fortune 500.

However there were also a dissenting voices, that say Atlassian supplies enterprise software that produces Web 2.0 functionality, and that is not actually a Web 2.0 company. Its products include Wikis and bug trackers.


So what’s Web 2.0?


It appears that Tim O’Reilly first used the term Web 2.0 in 2003, but many of the things (applications, technologies, methodologies) talked about as Web 2.0 date back to the beginning of the world wide web in 1989.


There are many definitions for Web 2.0, and plenty of information can be found, however the main thrust is as follows. Web 1.0 was about placing traditional business models on the web.


Web 2.0 is about taking the natural attributes of the internet, and using them to make new business models. For example, Web 1.0 was online publishing. Web 2.0 is about blogging (grass-level content generation). Web 1.0 is putting your putting up a home page. Web 2.0 is about creating a MySpace or Facebook page that is linked to others in your social network.


Web 1.0 is creating tree-like structures of categorization. Web 2.0 is about tag clouds.


So does the definition matter?


I would argue not really, as there are lots of definitions and they mean different things to different people. To the technologist, Web 2.0 is about technologies such as XML, AJAX, SOAP and Ruby on Rails. (Yes these really are computer technologies.)

To content providers, it’s about user-generated content. To marketers it’s all about authentic messages, and to financiers it’s about grabbing market share before layering in products and services.


To members of social networks or tribes, I am sure the definition matters, but since I’m not an anthropologist, I won’t comment further.


Is Atlassian a Web 2.0 company?


Form my point of view it is, as it is harnessing the power and attributes of the internet, to ramp up its business, which just happens to be enterprise software that provides Web 2.O functionality.

I hope this makes sense.



Brendan Lewis is the founder of two IT service firms, Edion and Verve IT, and executive director of the Churchill Club.


To read more Brendan Lewis blogs, click here.



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