Web 2.0 is very much a buzzword around the Web 2.0 Community. Web 2.0 is supposed to be the next generation of interweb where you are not only looking at the text, images or vision but you interact with it and give your own opinion and feedback.
When it comes to Web 2.0, I am very much on the boundary fence looking through binoculars at the action going on in the centre of the field. I understand some of what is going on but not all of it. I care about some of the stuff going on but not all of it.
When it comes to tech, I listen to podcasts such as Geek News Central, TWiT, Cranky Geeks and Australia’s own 2 Web Crew who do a live recording each Wednesday at 1pm Sydney time. I have learnt a lot about “the space” and some cool things which helps me with my podcast and also for my enjoyment of the interweb. I Twitter and I “do the Facebook” and I am slowly getting to know some of the names out there of the movers and shakers.
What I don’t understand though is the God-like presence that some of these names have. And if someone has a God like presence, my personality says to stay away and not find out about them or why they give off this aura about them. And I’m not the sort of person to bow to someone just because everyone else is. If they are worthy, sure. But if not, I’ll remain where I am if that’s OK.
There are two classic examples of this that have occurred in the last few days. People outside the geekdom of Web 2.0 probably don’t give a rat’s arse about the stories and probably are not reading this exact line now. But if you are reading this exact line, feel free to comment. And to be honest, I probably would not have found out about the first one if it wasn’t for Duncan Riley’s Twitter feed and I would not have heard about the second one if I didn’t listen to Geek News Central or the 2 Web Crew today.
The first story started when Jason Calacanis wrote an article called “How To Save Money For Your Startup” on his blog. I only know of Jason through occasional appearances on tech podcasts like TWiT. The article is about how to save money and time as a start up business owner and how to get more productivity out of your workers. Some of the points were good. For instance, one of the points was to (my paraphrasing) get a basic desk or workstation but ensure that the worker has a good chair. After all, a more comfortable chair means that the worker is going to spend more time in it working. The actual desk or workstation isn’t going to make much difference as long as it isn’t falling apart.
But when it comes to other points in the article, that is where some people have seen red. I include the next paragraph unaltered by me which is point 11 in Jason’s article. I am presuming here that the crossed out bits are the original bits later watered down after the firestorm erupted.
- Fire people who
are not workaholics.don’t love their work… come on folks, this is startup life, it’s not a game. don’t work at a startup if you’re not into it–go work at the post office or stabucks if you’re not into it you want balance in your life. For realz.
One of the people who got fired up about points such as this was Duncan Riley writing on Techcrunch. It was a Twitter post from Duncan that drew my attention to it in the first place. Duncan responded with the article “Calacanis Fires People Who Have A Life” and between the two articles and their comment sections, there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing. In the version of Duncan’s article that I read, it is clear that Duncan is paraphrasing parts of Jason’s article to make a point. Then people who comment say “But that is not what Jason said!”. Well of course that isn’t exactly what Jason said because Duncan paraphrased it! I am sure that there are some smart people out there reading articles such as this but do not seemingly know the difference between a direct quote and a paraphrasment. Is parapharsement even a word? If not, it is now!
Here’s an example unaltered by me from both men on the same point:
- Jason – Buy everyone lunch four days a week and establish a no-meetings policy. Going out for food or ording in takes at least 20-60 minutes more than walking up to the buffet and eating. If you do meetings over lunch you also save that time. So, 30 minutes a day across say four days a week is two hours a week… which is 100 hours a year. You get the idea.
- Duncan – If you do meetings, have them over lunch, because you shouldn’t let your employees eat alone
Then of course after the comments were going backwards and forwards from various people, Jason wrote another article based on Duncan’s article called “Can You Have A Life And Work At A Start Up Company” which deals with some of the points Duncan made in his article. So while we are talking about a work/life balance issue which is important, it is a story feeding on itself and becoming bigger as it goes through the tech blogosphere. And yes, I do recognize the irony that I am doing exactly the same thing. Of course, the to-ing and fro-ing continues.
Then when I was listening to the latest episode of Geek News Central early this morning, Todd Cochrane mentioned the issue without mentioning Duncan at all. I wonder if Duncan hadn’t of put his 2 cents in if it would have got noticed at all. Indeed as I’ve already said, if it wasn’t for Duncan bringing it up in the first place and Todd later, I may not be writing this post now. However, Todd did mention Scoble (who is one of these people that I was referring to earlier with the God like status in the space) and that he has weighed into the discussion.
I’ve heard Scoble on TWiT a couple of times but haven’t read his blog until today when Todd’s show notes referred me there. Scoble’s article is called “On Work & Family And Having A Real Life” and mixes his opinion on the subject in with snippets from commenters who have commented already. Then more people are commenting on that. It’s comments on comments on comments and people adding their two cents (yes, I know I am now doing it) that means that a story can be active on the weekend and keeps going when in traditional media, it would have been finished with by Sunday night. And I am sure that there are more bloggers blogging about the other blogs of other bloggers. It’s probably one of the reasons I don’t blog about other people’s opinions that often. It is too confusing and a brushfire can start too easily!
Being able to “directly talk to the talent” is one of the good things about Web 2.0 compared to other forms of the media. If I was to write to the Today show to tell them that I think that host Karl Stefanovic is a robot, I’d be lucky to get an acknowledgment of my letter, much less a response from the man himself. But were I to comment on Mark Zuckerberg’s blog that I thought he was a robot, he’d probably reply to that. Or if he didn’t, there would be commenters more than willing to back him up to say that he isn’t a robot and that I’m pretty gay (I’m not, and there’s nothing wrong with that) for suggesting that he is indeed a robot. That seems to be an early form of defence on a blog to call someone gay.
Now there’s a perfect segway to the next part of the article. Todd mentioned on the latest episode of Geek News Central that there was an interview between Mark Zuckerberg (who I have heard is the CEO of Facebook, another God like name in the space) and a reporter called Sarah Lacy. Todd described it as a lesson in how not to conduct an interview and the 2 Web crew spoke about it today as well. So after that show, I thought I’d try and watch the video itself.
I’m used to You Tube where the videos are usually pretty quick to load. I’m on reasonably fast cable and I don’t have an issue with You Tube usually. However on two separate sites I tried this afternoon, it took forever to load. As I commented on Twitter as I was waiting, many people (meaning your average web user) would have given up and not waited the 20 minutes that it took for one video to load. Mind you, I was doing other things at the same time. And when the video did load, there was no audio which defeated the whole purpose of me watching the video! So I’m none the wiser apart from what I’ve heard elsewhere and now that I have tried but failed to find out more myself, I don’t know if I care any more!