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.

Let's 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 doing.

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.

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