Axel Schmiegelow

Social Grassroots or Social Business @ Supernova2006

I’m in San Francisco @ the Supernova2006 co-hosted by Wharton West, the California branch of Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.

Fascinating insights with a wide variety of companies. On the social networking / collaborative search side, Plum and netvibes stick out.

Yesterday we had a day of workshops with some hot discussions on exactly how new and self-sufficient social networks are. One side argues, in my opinion with truth to it, that word-of-mouth, the “wisdom of crowds”, and social collaboration are as old as humanity and Web 2.0 still has to prove a business case vs. just being a second wave of featureitis. The other side, among them cluetrain manifesto co-Author D. Weinberger, argue that the warmth of social networks is something entirely new, allowing companies to give users and customers the feeling of “being on their side”. Obviously both views hold truth.

I’m surprised at how advanced the American startups are in terms of user growth and speed of execution, but just as surprised to see that there is a lack of focus on viable business models I find surprising in post-bubble times. Entrepreneurs, though, are more cautious and less bullshitty than 6 years ago.

Looking forward to the next two days with Skype, Craigslist, Ether, Wikia, and many other smart companies.


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