One of the most widespread misconceptions I encounter when talking to people about the current state of the web is that this is pretty much it. People can’t imagine some service ever replacing Google as the dominant search engine. People can’t imagine some other social network ever replacing Facebook. Yet it seems only evident that this is going to happen. When we look at the state of the Web ten years ago, everything was different and nothing was the same.
Heck, take this BusinessWeek article from 6 years ago. Digg was the hottest ticket in town, MySpace was THE social network and Twitter was 3-week-old(!) company.
Today we are living in the post PC era, Twitter is six years old, Facebook will soon welcome its 1 billionth user and Apple is on its way to becoming the first trillion dollar market cap company in the world. All these things hardly surprise us today but they were all unthinkable and unpredictable only a few years ago.
The fact of the matter is that technology is changing fast, and faster all the time, and only because we are in the middle of it we seem to keep up with it. It is like we are constantly taking snapshots of the current status quo and acting based on that. Only when we look back a few months and compare what we saw, believed and used then do we notice how quickly things are changing around us.
Some people find this threatening. They have a hard time keeping up with changes and innovation. I don’t blame them, and usually feel sorry for them, but I also think it’s different if you have an entrepreneurial mind. We thrive on change and actively participate in it, even speeding it up and pushing it along.
After all, it is still possible to start an improved version of Facebook today? You can outgrow it in a couple of years if you have something that’s better. Same goes for Google. I really believe that. Sounds unlikely that 2 guys will outperform Google? About as unlikely as Sergey and Larry believed they could outperform Yahoo! which had 60% of the market and was worth 40 billion at the time?
As Paul Graham argues in his essay titled “Frighteningly Ambitious Startup Ideas” there are huge opportunities for entrepreneurs who are willing to take on really ambitious challenges.
This is also one of the highlights of our upcoming conference for me. It is a unique moment to sit down, reflect on the current status of the web, and listen to amazing speakers talk about what’s next for the web. I believe the Web isn’t finished at all. We are just getting started.
In six years, we will look back at 2012 and it will seem like we are looking back at 1999. Will Facebook have bought Google? Will Apple own Microsoft? Will our blog be bigger than CNN? Will Twitter be bigger than Facebook? Will your little startup dominate search?
It is all possible, and if history is any indication, it is even very likely.
See you in 10 days.