Welcome Back to 1999?

Updated at 4:30 PM: Marc Hedlund over at O’Reilly Radar has comments about comparisons between what’s going on now and The Bubble.

The place to be this week is the second annual Web 2.0 Conference being held in San Francisco. I would have loved attending, if not for the $2800 price tag and the fact that it’s completely sold out. I’ve listened to all of the sessions available through IT Conversations and have learned a lot. I look forward to hearing this year’s content soon as well.

There is a lot of excitement in the web community these days, most of it involving the idea of Web 2.0. Many are discussing what exactly it means, while others are turning out new applications of it every day. So much is happening that I can’t help but be reminded of the crazy dotcom adventures of the late nineties. Acquisition announcements seem to be happening weekly, with Yahoo’s purchase of Upcoming and AOL’s buying of Weblogs Inc. in just the last couple of days. Thirteen new companies launched at the Web 2.0 Conference today. Amazing. Makes me wish I had some venture capital for a few of my ideas…

Just like during the bubble, a lot of these new companies are going to fail. That’s inevitable, in my opinion. However, the environment is different now , so ideas rehashed from the 1990’s just might succeed this time around. For one, the technology has evolved and standardized, making it possible to run desktop-like applications within new browsers. See Salesforce and Writely. More importantly though, people have changed. In some cases, they’ve been on the web for 10+ years and are comfortable with using it for business and pleasure. Others are looking for new uses for their high speed internet connections. There are tons of opportunities waiting for entrepreneurs right now, but only time will separate the ones that will be around in 10 years from those we’ll be laughing at and saying: “What were they thinking?”

While I’m talking about the Web 2.0 conference happening right now, I have to mention the Web 1.0 summit that was hosted by Merlin Mann of 43 Folders last night. A short description:

We will meet to discuss line breaks, spacer gifs, and the ability to launch links in a new browser window.

Ah, to relive the dotcom days…

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