Mention to Dick Costolo that, for most of this generation's Web startups, getting funded has been a snap, and he emits a rueful laugh. "Not for us," recalls the CEO of the content syndication outfit FeedBurner. "Most venture capitalists we met couldn't spell RSS - let alone understand it."
In February, the defiant Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy predicted a triumphant resurgence for his company to Business 2.0: "Four years ago we told our engineers to throw out everything that doesn't matter." Now, apparently, McNealy has decided that 200 employees are among what doesn't matter. The layoffs came from the company's high-end server group which has recently been giving away computers to anyone who asks for one to test. Indeed, even Sun president Jonathan Schwartz has acknowledged in his blog that the free trial offer has proved a bit rocky, and these cuts make that all the more apparent.
Business 2.0: The Webtopupdated: Wed Mar 01 2006 15:57:00
It's been a long time -- all the way back to the dawn of desktop computing in the early 1980s -- since software coders have had as much fun as they're having right now. But today, browser-based applications are where the action is. A killer app no longer requires hundreds of drones slaving away on millions of lines of code. Three or four engineers and a steady supply of Red Bull is all it takes to rapidly turn a midnight brainstorm into a website so hot it melts the servers.
The new culture on the Web is all about consumer creation; it's composed of things like the nearly 30 million blogs out there and the 70 million photos available on Flickr. With a click of the mouse, anyone can be a journalist, a photographer, or a DJ. The audience--that 1 billion-plus throng linked by the Web--itself is creating a new type of social media.
Do you remember the day you first surfed the Web, stretched out your arms over the vastness of cyberspace, teleported from site to site with an almost exhilarating power? Or alternately, sat waiting for "fat" pages to load?