In our first "hello world" post on this blog, we made the point that the market we operate in is one of the most dynamic markets anywhere. We concluded that it made little sense to have a static investment strategy in such a dynamic environment, so rather than put up a brochure as our web site, we launched a blog because we felt that it made more sense share our conversation.
Fred picked up on this theme with his "Looking Ahead" post last week. I completely agree with his premise that we can only succeed in this business if we are anticpating markets, I was concerned that his phrasing suggested that we were moving to quickly to the next thing. Specifically, the reference to our work being focused 60% on web services and 40% on new stuff is misleading. It suggests that we expect something other than web services to emerge shortly which is not really true. All of the stuff Fred mentioned in his post that we are actively pursuing now is delivered to the ultimate consumer as a web service. We are not talking about the demise of web services, we are talking about a generational shift.
We are seeing the end of the obvious first generation web services and are actively looking for what is next, but the importance of something like avatars is the impact they will have on second generation web services. We think there may be some fundamental shifts in the way the services are used, priced, and delivered as a result of the generational shift. I do not want to down play the extent of the change we expect, but I do want to make clear that we are not looking at materials science or nano for the next big thing.
The second point I would like to make in commenting on Fred's post refers to his casual mention of the tags he is using to organize his thinking on the new areas we are exploring. I think this is a big deal, and it deserves to be called out as a big deal not buried in post about something else. All of us at Union Square Ventures use del.icio.us to find resources and information on the web and to organize and remember those things after we find them. Fred and Charlie are both more conscientious and more prolific with there tagging than I am but each of us has a del.icio.us account and we also share ideas information and resources with "for" tags. These are the del.icio.us tags for:fredwilson, for:ceonyc and for:bburnham.
What Fred did in his post, is offer to share these tags. The reality is that these tags have always been shared because that is the default structure in del.icio.us, but we had never called attention to them and suspect that few people, other than us, paid much attention to them. By mentioning them in his post Fred is offering to share not only the evolution of our thinking here at Union Square Ventures but also to share the raw material that shapes that thinking. He was also inviting all of you to shape that thinking by tagging things in del.icio.us using the tags for:fredwilson, for:ceonyc, for:bburnham, or more simply and perhaps more efficiently, for:usv.
Fred and I agree on the need to "look ahead". I also agree that we will learn more from the audience of this blog than they will learn from us, so that sharing our thoughts on the blog and the web resources that inform those thoughts through our tags makes good business sense. We both appreciate the contributions you have made to our thinking to date and look forward to our continued dialogue.