Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia was in the big auditorium while I was speaking in a somewhat smaller, but fully packed presentation room. I had 25 minutes to talk about trends in the business information industry, what affects Web 2.0 was having on the industry, and give some predictions for 2008. The PowerPoint slides can be grabbed here Download london_online_2007.ppt . The key trends I discussed were 1) the consolidation and fragmentation of the content business, highlighting a number of recent M&A transactions as well as the establishment of a large number of online content businesses like paidcontent.org and gigaom, 2) the never-ending problem of information overload, which is exacerbated by the fragmentation of the content business and the copycat strategies of many of the large business information publishers and 3) the business information consumers’ need for "idea generation" and the publishers’ desire to have their content and content tools create ideas for their readers. As for the Web 2.0 impact on all this, clearly the cost required to establish any sort of company – be it content or tools – has dropped dramatically as a result of Web 2.0 technologies. Further, while I don’t like to assign the Web 2.0 label to a company, clearly there are companies using these technologies to help with the information overload problem and to help customer generate ideas. These include Monitor 110, Stormwatch, Infongen and Collective Intellect. My predictions were 1) there would be even greater new company formation in 2008 than in 2006 or 2007; it’s just so inexpensive to go out on your own. (I had walked through the Online exhibit hall quickly before my talk and it seemed as if 30% of the companies exhibiting were new.) 2) I didn’t say it this way, but basically it was "short facebook, long linkedin." 3) Enterprise 2.0, which has been emerging slowly over the past 2-3 years, will explode in 2008. User behavior will change, small projects started in the past couple of years will be viewed as successful and larger projects will be started, and customers will begin to deliver both internal and external content to where its needed in their employees’ workflow.
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