Michael Arrington – What’s Next For Web Applications

At the Carson Workshops’ Future of Web Applications conference in San Francisco, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch presented on What’s Next For Web Applications: creating tomorrow’s Flickr. According to Michael, predicting the future of web application is difficult. He stated, “Honestly, the people that are most likely to succeed are probably not in this room, and if they where they wouldn’t listen to me.” After he said those words I didn’t feel like I wanted to be there and listen to him. After making that bold statement he continued on to give some advice on choosing the right platform for you next web application. Michael mention that a top contender for the next killer web application is Adobe’s Apollo. Regarding Apollo Michael stated, “A whole new class of companies can be built around that platform.”

Michael Arrington is not really a technologist; he is more like a web two point duh commentator. And his post game analysis of the big web 2.0 winners and losers are as followings. The big winners (because they were acquired) are writely, skype, newroo, flickr, userplan, myspqce, blogger, bloglines, and grouper. The most likely to win (or become acquired) are zoho, netvibes, digg, facebook, popsugar, stumbleupon, and plentyoffish. The web 2.0 companies to watch out for are jobster, riya, zillow, flock, sharpcast, roketboom, wordpress, second life, and odesk. And according to Arrignton, the god awful “what were they thinking” is made up of squidoo, inform, gather, pubsub, browzar, and jigsaw.

But Arrington went beyond than just naming names; he listed the share attributes of the winners and losers. The companies listed as winners share passion for their work, leaders as founders, great dynamics, never raised too much money, did something extraordinary. In regards to the extraordinary, Arrington recommended companies read The Purple Cow by Seth Godin. But remember that once all the cows are purple, people won’t be interested any longer. In regard to fund raising, Arrington said that, “raising too much money and spending it, is a bad thing.” Another Arrington tip for success is to “hire slow, fire fast!”

The shared attributes amongst the losers are poor founder/team choices, lifestyle/ego entrepreneurs, raised too much money, over business plan, and forgetting to scale (ala Friendster).

At the end of his talk Arrington again discussed technology choices. On the server end he recommended PHP, just because it is the de facto language for web programming. Arrington also suggested Ruby on Rails as an upstart. On the client side development he recommends .NET/ActiveX, Ajax, Flash, XUL/XAML, and Apollo.

Arrington also talked about market saturation. Arrington recommended that new entrepreneurs stay away from the following over saturated markets: social networking, social bookmarks, video, photos, portal/homepages, and feed readers. As Arrington said, “you have to be pretty special to be successful in these market.” But on the flip side, he recommends developers get into platforms (widgets, systems, backend), desktop apps (via Apollo), office efficiency, cloud storage, identify, developer tools, market destruction, and ENTERPRISE (push web2.0 apps/wikis/social apps/ideas/concepts to the enterprise).

In the end Arrington said, “The best entrepreneurs avoid this type of advice. Invent a new market. ” If you have an idea, just do it!

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