Tim O'Reilly is blowing it
There was a big uproar over CMP and O'Reilly sending some guy a
C&D letter for using the term "Web 2.0 Conference" in that those
companies are using it as a trademark.
Tim O'Reilly's response
indicates that he overall agrees with the action, and honestly I do see
his point and agree that defending a trademark is the right thing to do.
However, there's an underlying tone in his words, and one that I sensed at Mix06, that stinks of self-pleasuring "look-what-we-came-up-with" posturing that really gets under my skin.
start with the obvious: The term "Web 2.0" is stupid. I don't know or
care who coined the term (O'Reilly insists that "no one was using it"
before they did a conference on it), but it has been so over-used in
feel good journalism in magazines and by people like O'Reilly that it
doesn't mean anything. The Web is iterative in nature and constantly
evolving. It isn't having a second coming or all at once doing new
things or spawning a new economy, or whatever the hell people say it's
I respected O'Reilly for building a publishing empire, and
articles I read about him seemed to indicate to me that he was the real
deal. But when I saw him speak, he seemed kind of arrogant, especially
when he brought up his company. I'll put it this way: Book publishing
is a noble business that helps people, but it's rarely a source of
innovation. Books help people explain and use the innovation. It's rare
that it goes the other way. I think I'm fully qualified to say that
since I am an author with a published book. My book isn't the result of
my own greatness, it's the result of wanting to teach people about
something innovative that Microsoft made.
I realize that they're
not claiming "Web 2.0" is all theirs, but the difference is too subtle
to matter, in my opinion. I guess it's the notion that the term is
important, in any context, that bothers me.
I have to get back to writing software for Web 10.5.6, or some other such nonsense.