Recap the last decade. What were the entrepreneurs thinking then?
“What next man? What do we do now? Hotmail is done. Gmail I cannot replace, Yahoo is done, Social Networks are way too many, Search is a big boy’s game. What do I build next?
Hey let’s look at the demand. What do people want? Let’s do something for the enterprise customers. They want to engage and be a part of the social phenomena. And people? People want to engage with their favorite brands. Besides it’s a pretty low hanging fruit when it comes to monetizing a startup, isn’t it?”
Yeah, why not! And what would the entrepreneurs build?
Well they would go on and build awesome viral applications for clients on Facebook. They’d create customer-centric social networks for organizations – like Ning. They’d consult clients to join Twitter to grab more followers, create SAAS CRMs – SalesForce, create tools to consolidate leads – 37 Signals, create hosted office suites – Zoho, LMS, CMS and you just name it.
Eventually the world would go Enterprise 2.0!
Demand would push humanity from web 1.0 over to web 2.0 with a huge monetary turn around for techies who hold the capability to build web 2.0 products. Perhaps in quickest of times mankind would see a new race of products that suit the interest of businesses. Businesses that are the capitalist entities whose single point agenda is to get close to a client and then get closer to money. That’s how web got here. Organizations, venture funds, entrepreneurs and pretty much everyone else had a reason to let web evolve by enabling enterprise 2.0. That’s how industry 1.0 formed the axis of evolution for web 2.0.
But what is next? What do people want now?
For that let us look at an obscure unrelated example. Rewind 50 years back and look at what India did to uproot a colonial power off its land without a weapon in hand. Guess how the team of 300 million poorest of the poor led by the Great Mahatma Gandhi seized freedom from the hands of the powerful Brits? That is the power of the people, we are talking about. Can a similar force apply on social web against the slow, aging, deep-rooted incumbent architecture of Governance?
Well, the truth is out there. Already.
Ever since William D. Eggers coined the term Government 2.0, there is a constant hum going on around the world that talks about ‘civic action in a participatory manner’. What do people want from Government after all? Better management, better services, better infrastructure and transparency? Is that all? No. People want to trust the Government. Just like they want to trust the brands. How can the citizen’s trust be built stronger in ways that were applied in creation of applications for brand engagement and trust reinforcement on consumer products? Or is there a difference between the two paradigms – enterprise 2.0 or Government 2.0?
And what are the entrepreneurs going to do about it? What would this phenomenon eventually lead mankind to building next?
The semantic web! Not everything w.r.t Governance is the same as that for enterprise factions. Governments are super-sets in everything that they do. A scale of power & engagement that is very different from what consumer businesses are all about. Perhaps one may want to read the thermodynamics of Government 2.0 to make a “guesstimate” of the scale that we are talking about here.
Government 2.0 is going to be the axis of semantic web i.e. web 3.0.
That’s exactly the reason why Sir Tim Berners Lee, father of Internet, is involved with Gov20 initiatives. The challenges faced by officials to govern a country are nothing less than predictions on weather or sometimes even more complicated. The very fact that interpretations, language barriers and cultural disparities form a significant part of Government functioning, makes it a perfect challenge (and use-case) for development of applications based on Intelligence & Neural programming. The requirements of Government 2.0 would give rise to semantic applications that would bring down the constant nag of problems like rigging the processes, losing the control, electing the wrong guy or being left ignored etc. Government 2.0 will accelerate the race of technology to a level where mankind would hit the doorbell of intelligence sooner than expected.
Industry had not as much interest in pushing the technology beyond the point of monetization. Government 2.0 has different appeal to a common man. It will change the landscape of web in future.
Written & Reproduced from BubbleIdeas blog by Arvind.