Horseless carriage 2.0 ?

July 18, 2007

With all the rhetoric on Web 2.0 – a ‘term’ (?) we have deliberately steered clear from to date – we finally decided to share our thoughts with the world on this much discussed, overheated topic (and in doing so of course adding to the heat!).


What is Web 2.0? The matter of fact answer is this: it is a term coined by Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media that has since sent us all asking that same question again and again (and of course making him more popular and richer all along). In O’Reilly’s own words: “Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform” Is it? Tim Berners-Lee’s view (the founder of the internet himself) is that  Web 2.0 is nothing new as it’s “components” have been around since the inception of the web.


In thinking about the topic myself, one thing I personally find baffling is this: throughout history, Man has confronted innovation and technological advancement with vastly contrasting reactions that are always at either extremes and (with the benefit of hindsight) rarely make any sense.  When the first car was released it was a nothing more than a “horseless carriage”. Yet when tools that already exist simply become more accessible, it is called a ‘revolution’!


Why is this, I ask? Could it be that we as humans have an innate unwillingness to accept things simply for what they are?  Are we incapable of learning from history? Scott Roesenburg (founder of put this very succinctly in his book Dreaming in Code: “Most participants in the creation of new software are either blissfully ignorant of the past or recklessly confident of the future – blithely certain that this time things will be different.” In the words of another great Man “the only thing history has taught us, is that it has taught us nothing”


Leaving that side-thought  for the minute, let’s return to the un-answerable question: what is Web 2.0? We decided to shed some humour on the topic by quoting some of the funniest definitions we’ve heard or read about (which in fact are a lot more accurate then many of the more ‘serious’ ones)  

  1.  It’s when you make all the content.  And they keep all the revenue.Thanks” 

  2. “It’s when you need to sign up to every site you want to use.  And a few that you don’t.”

  3. ”  It’s a technology that allows no thought to remain unexpressed. No matter how stupid or grammatically incorrect it may be.”     

  4. “communities, user generated content, ajax, wikis, tags, and the rest of it,…”

  5. “It’s when you make “friends” on every bloody website you visit”

  6.  ” It’s when clouds have tags, not rain “ 

  7. ” It’s a phrase that refers to a perceived second generation of web-based communities and hosted services – such as social networking sites, wikis and folksonomies – which facilitate collaboration and sharing between users [citation needed] “

  8. ” its where you have lots of faces on a website” 

  9. ” It’s when clouds have tags, not rain.”  

From the non-humorous definitions, the most accurate I’ve ever heard of is “Web 2.0 is about people”. Vague as that may be, it really is the only common denominator and the cornerstone of all this hype – it’s about giving people (which are not necessarily web designers or programmers) the simple tools to publish their own content easily and quickly,. And to that effect we should be paying equal, if not more,
respect to the advent of Broadband for allowing that data to be transferred at speeds that make this practical and economical.


 In an effort to pre-empt your questions: NO that is not why and how we chose the name “People per Hour”. Nor is it why we favour that definition. Our name is our name because that’s what we do – we allow “People” who need things done to come together with “People” who can do them. So does that make us a Web 2.0 company? Well, I’ll let YOU figure that one out. After all, our site is all about YOU so your opinion – your collective opinions – should be the ones that count. On my side, what I’m more interested in, is figuring out whether we are a Horseless Carriage 2.0. To that effect, I will be sure to keep you ‘posted’ .

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