What Web 2.0 means to 500 random Basecamp customers Jason 02 Aug 2006

32 comments Latest by jenn.suz.hoy

Every few months we do an anonymous survey of our Basecamp customers asking them what they love, hate, want to see added, want to see removed from Basecamp. These answers play a part in the future direction and development of the product.

Some times we ask an additional off-topic question for fun. This time we asked “Have you ever heard the term “Web 2.0”?” If they answered “yes” they were able to say what they think it means. We were curious how our customers felt about it or if they even knew what it meant at all.

We’ve had over 1,000 responses in 24 hours. So far about 13% answered no to “have you ever heard the term Web 2.0?”

Here are 500 random answers to the “Yes, and here’s what Web 2.0 means to me.” It’s an interesting read.

32 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Nathaniel 02 Aug 06

#121: It means rounded corners, gradients, DHH, 37s, beta, and no clear revenue plan.

That’s the best one. :) There were some good ones in there. And some funny ones.

MMI 02 Aug 06

Hrm. Really, what’s wrong with Web 2.0? I know it’s overused, but at least it gives people a jumping off point to discuss products. It gives people a vague picture of what the app is like in as few words as possible. Just like Ajax was easier to say than “that xml thingy in javascript”

BizSnype 02 Aug 06

It’s a silly name because the boys at 37signals didn’t coin it…

Now ask what “Getting Real” means and I’ll bet the answers would range from, “A Constant Orgasm,… oh God here I go again…” to “The Second Coming of Christ Himself…”

Bill 02 Aug 06

I posted my answer to the question on my blog. It was a great idea to put this question in the survey.

barry 02 Aug 06

I’m pretty sure Web 2.0 means whatever Tim O’Reilly said it meant… isn’t that how coining works?

You have to admit that the phrase has some value when used in technical circles… but just like when trying to use any other technical jargon with the average person, at that point it becomes nothing more than a meaningless buzzword.

Just because marketing people use a phrase badly or incorrectly doesn’t mean that the phrase itself is silly, it just means the marketing people using the phrase in a silly way, and thus by extension all marketing people are silly. Note that this last extension was not so much arrived at via logical methods. :)

Christopher Hawkins 02 Aug 06

LOL @ #433:

“Ajax. Ugly reflections and glassy graphics. Pointlessness. Despair. “

Damn, it’s not THAT bad, is it? I rather like the glassy graphics, myself.

“#121: It means rounded corners, gradients, DHH, 37s, beta, and no clear revenue plan.”

I thought that no clear revenue plan was a hallmark of Web 1.0, which is why so few of those firms are still around? Good golly, are we already back to businesses with no model?

Good stuff all around. It’s interesting to see how many negative reactions there are to the term.

Christopher Hawkins 02 Aug 06

LOL @ #433:

“Ajax. Ugly reflections and glassy graphics. Pointlessness. Despair. “

Damn, it’s not THAT bad, is it? I rather like the glassy graphics, myself.

“#121: It means rounded corners, gradients, DHH, 37s, beta, and no clear revenue plan.”

I thought that no clear revenue plan was a hallmark of Web 1.0, which is why so few of those firms are still around? Good golly, are we already back to businesses with no model? That makes twice that I’ve missed out on the VC lottery. ;)

Good stuff all around. It’s interesting to see how many negative reactions there are to the term.

Dan Boland 02 Aug 06

I can almost see half of the respondents’ eyes rolling. Good stuff.

Ryan 02 Aug 06

Laughing @ BizSnype’s post. Beautiful. “Oh God here I go again…”

Matt Oakes 02 Aug 06

162. AOL is dead
Thats a good one

192. Another way to sell more crap.

Jeff Croft 02 Aug 06

Web 2.0 is the opposite of the HTML used to display the list of responses to the question “What is Web 2.0?”

Eric Eggert 02 Aug 06

I second Jeff here. And yes there are a few funny definitions there.

Jacob Kaplan-Moss 02 Aug 06

Because I’m a data geek, I thought it would be interesting to do a quick frequency count on the words. Here’s the top 15 words people used (after filtering out stopwords):

  • web - 348
  • ajax - 107
  • applications - 93
  • new - 78
  • user - 71
  • apps - 44
  • desktop - 40
  • sites - 37
  • people - 36
  • internet - 36
  • content - 34
  • think - 33
  • software - 31
  • services - 30
  • technologies - 29

It’s pretty interesting to me that even though there so much bullshit clinging to the term, words like “user” and “people” filter to the top. I like that a lot; I think once you wipe off all the crap, the core idea of empowering people to make connections still rings true.

Josh Fallon 02 Aug 06

Reminds me of that game Balderdash. Also, I think some people used the web economy bullshit generator for their answer… :)

Matt/SLAPSHOTW 02 Aug 06

I take credit for #121— glad you guys liked it.

I stand by what I said.

@Chris Hawkins

Whenever I go on techcrunch I see another company for whom actual revenue seems to be a secondary concern. The difference with “web 1.0” is that I doubt most of these companies will see IPOs.

Another issue is that most people “in-the-know” overestimate the amount of people that are aware of AJAX, Prototype, and sites like Technorati and even Flickr. I was talking to a friend from Ogilvy & Mather the other day, and in his research for a Fortune 500 company’s new online campaign he had JUST run into some of these terms. And you’d think they’d be on top of this stuff.

-Matt

Marko van der Puil 02 Aug 06

I’ve been cynical about the meaning of the term Web 2.0 to the despair of many in the Netherlands. “There is no web 2.0 and if there is, it doesn’t mean anything.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love Web 2.0. A lot of people seem to think we’re it and that means we’re serving more and more customers each day. By the way, go here to sign up. ;-)

I’m grateful for that. Not only for the business, which is nice, but also because I know our customers will at least get a great service or a fantastic product out of it. As will 37s customers of course…

That’s not Web 2.0. That’s just me. Call me old-fashioned if I say “Customer is King”. But that’s my strong belief and conviction and our company is build around that.

If web 2.0 means anything, how do you explain that not two respondents have answered the question similarly?

Moca 02 Aug 06

In my opinion things (usually) have to have a name :) If it wasn’t Web 2.0 it would be something else to criticize about it.

I personally love it basically for the new usability aspect of it. Small tasks can now be done “on spot” instead of redirecting users to a new page or opening a popup.

Visually speaking I think the guys from basecamp & tick, are so creative to make something so pleasing with so little to work with. The tick interface literally makes me want to eat (or hump) my PC…

In terms of making money… maybe the people who appreciate it and are making good use of it, are not the top management people from the .com boom days. Maybe they are designers and developers who decided to make some extra money building apps focusing on real needs. Maybe they don’t care/want to go IPO.

I have signed up for basecamp because of the real utility of the app and for its looks ;) I am probably not the only one and hopefully they are making some decent money!

Joel 02 Aug 06

I think that there are a lot more Web App’s being made now that aren’t being started as a company product but to fill a gap in what the person (people) see available at the moment (or at the time). Take 37s and where their products originated from.

I think that that’s the biggest difference. More Web App’s are starting to fill a void in the market, but aren’t being financed by huge companies till later in the piece (in most circumstances). Thus the “income generation” side of things isn’t nearly as big an issue now - there’s far less people involved, and many doing it as a personal interest/”other profit” sort of project.

Joel 03 Aug 06

I think that there are a lot more Web App’s being made now that aren’t being started as a company product but to fill a gap in what the person (people) see available at the moment (or at the time). Take 37s and where their products originated from.

I think that that’s the biggest difference. More Web App’s are starting to fill a void in the market, but aren’t being financed by huge companies till later in the piece (in most circumstances). Thus the “income generation” side of things isn’t nearly as big an issue now - there’s far less people involved, and many doing it as a personal interest/”other profit” sort of project.

Mat 03 Aug 06

I want to know what Joel thinks…

Jan 03 Aug 06

“#53 Web 2.0 is the move from static web pages to collaborative and shared web applications and user experiences like BaseCamp, Blogs, Wikis etc”

‘user experiences’ - must be a manager.

Ismo Ruotsalainen 03 Aug 06

Web 2.0? Who’s idea is put version numbers to Internet? When we have Web 2.1 or Web 3.0?

Web is getting better everyday. I know it without version numbers. 2.0 is bullshit.

Adam Bair 03 Aug 06

@Jacob Kaplan-Moss

Thanks for the breakdown. I also think that its good to note that ‘people’ and ‘user’ are in the top 15. Once designers and programmers recognize that the web is for users and people…

…things will get so much better.

David, biologeek 03 Aug 06

@Jacob: really interesting, that’s just what I wanted to do. Can we have the score of buzz* related words? (I’m sure it’s near the top 5).

@Mat: excellent :)

Jascob Kaplan-Moss 03 Aug 06

@David: actually, buzz* (buzzword, buzzwords, buzz, buzzy) only are used 46 times, which barely makes the top 15.

FWIW, I put the little script I used online if you want to fool with it.

David, biologeek 03 Aug 06

@Jacob: Unfortunatly I’m partially wrong, buzz* is only the sixth ;). Anyway, thanks for the python script.

Stafford Kendall 03 Aug 06

Wow. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous Coward 03 Aug 06

Web 2.0 is clearly and concisely defined here:
http://www.encyclopediadramatica.com/index.php/Web_2.0

MMI 04 Aug 06

Hrm. I thought you guys used to say something in the sidebar about rails driving the Web 2.0 revolution or something like that… Am I wrong?

Wesley Walser 04 Aug 06

I made the list!

Tal 11 Aug 06

I think it’s about companies that have prime number as part of their name :)

jenn.suz.hoy 16 Aug 06

My personal favorite:

“Goddamn stupid-ass marketing term that I’d prefer to never hear again. Tends to refer to AJAX-related technologies, ways to refresh page content without new page loads. Cool but over-used in some sites (Basecamp exempt).”

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