New digital dawning: are you ready for the incredible things coming to the online world? Join us on our journey to the future of the web
Think about this: Ten years ago, a group of technology experts sat down and envisioned the future of the internet. They imagined the ubiquity of e-mail, that the web would be home to a giant auction house, and that phones would be able to access tiny versions of the online world.
Actually, nobody ever predicted what the internet has become today. We were all too busy learning basic HTML tags and trying to remember how to check our e-mail. But that won't stop us from looking ahead now to the future of the web and what role entrepreneurs will have in it. An exciting world is developing, and growing businesses will be riding the waves as both users and innovators.
WHO'S IN CHARGE?
Sometimes the best way to understand the big picture is to take a look at the smaller brush strokes that make it what it is. Here's a big trend: decentralization of control. It's a move toward web users having more power to control their own online experiences. Here are some of the brush strokes: wilds, blogs, podcasts, RSS and mash-ups. You've probably heard of most of those, and if you haven't, you'll probably hear of them soon.
Joe Kraus, co-founder with Graham Spencer of wiki startup JotSpot (www.jotspot.com), has a strong sense of web history. He was one of the original founders of early search engine Excite and is an active angel investor involved with tech companies. His passion these days is wilds--collaborative websites that can be edited by multiple users. "Wikis felt like a useful tool [back in 1993], but for a limited crowd. They were trapped in the land of the nerd. [They're] more powerful because [they] tap everybody's knowledge instead of restricting it to a single individual," says Kraus, 34. Palo Alto, California-based JotSpot, jumping on the larger trend toward decentralized control, has set out to bring wikis into the mainstream.