Over the past few months, I've found that a too healthy regard for my own party line on open source occasionally kept me from seeing--or, at least, stating--truths about how to go about building an open-source business.
It turns out that there is more than one good way to "burn the boats."
Judging from Tim O'Reilly's latest post about the cloud, it looks like I'm not the only one to turn a useful trend into an all-consuming principle.
In O'Reilly's case, the principle is Web 2.0. It's a good idea with serious implications for building businesses on the Web, but it has come to explain too much for him. He dismisses cloud computing's potential to harness big systems to earn gargantuan returns (and monopoly power) on the Web. He suggests instead that Web 2.0--the harnessing of collective intelligence and the concept that applications improve the more people use them--is the key to "market domination" (my words, not his).
However, as pointed out astutely by Nick Carr, O'Reilly's single-best example of Web 2.0 dominance--Google--actually disproves his thesis. Google is a classic example of a proprietary business, not a Web 2.0 business. In an effort to see all roads leading to Web 2.0, O'Reilly fails to see that it's just one road among many, as Carr points out:… Read more