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The comparison of the current financial crisis with the thirties is a commonplace for bloggers and mainstream media alike. Yet, extremely few, if any, of those making the comparison were born, lived through or near the time of the big crash in 1929. And as history teaches us that history does not teach people anything, the comparison of the current crisis to the 1929 one, is just a matter of impressions. We will not be able to know and understand the implication of the current crisis for years. Which is also a generous premise, since, even today, we do not understand the causes of 1929 crisis.
Another commonplace comparison is the one with the .com collapse. The parallels here run truly scarce, as very few of the web 2.0 companies made it to the stock market to get exorbitant valuations. So where is the comparison? To the fact that the good times for web2.0, meaning capital flow, copycat financing, building a new venture in a matter of days, etc, will eventually end. And end it will, there is no doubt about it, since the melt down of the big financial corporations will dry up the rest of the economy.
Yet, like a forest fire that helps a forest regenerate, this dry up will put the vigor of web 2.0 into a test. And like in the .com era, Darwin will see himself proven right once more, and the fittest will survive.
I can’t help reminding myself of all the articles I read in the late ’90s that were doupting the prospect of Amazon‘s survival. Amazon is now an undeniable e-commerce king. It has also gone far beyond that, transforming itself into the main web services provider, the behemoth of cloud computing.
A similar thing will happen to web 2.0: the most valuable companies, those adept and well adapted, those with sound business models and practices will survive to see themselves the business royalty of tomorrow. The crisis may take away some money capital from them, but will also provide the with new cheap human capital, less competitors and a market that settles around them.
Is web 2.0 declared dead? Good! Now it can start living.