The World's in Color--So Is Innovation

Rob Hof

I'm attending a workshop at the Supernova 2005 conference in San Francisco, and apparently I'm not the only one getting a little annoyed at Janice Fraser's presentation. It's not that I disagree with the CEO of Adaptive Path, who's talking about the "New Internet." By that, she means people-power sites that I've been writing about--Wikipedia, Flickr, and the like--and how they have gotten better traction than more overtly commercial alternatives such as Encyclopedia Britannica and Kodak's photo site. She's quite right that they're more compelling because they're built upon the contributions of many people.

But her presentation seemed to imply that these new sites are the only worthwhile way to do encyclopedias, photo sites, and the like. I sure like 'em better. But as one person in the audience pointed out, the Bay Area can be a bit of a bubble of geekdom. Life, and the Web, just aren't that binary. Not only will some currently more traditional sites adapt, but some folks will continue to value, say, the usually well-earned authority of EB or the photo-printing services Kodak provides on its site. The real point of these new sites and services is that people will be able to pick and choose what they want. And those choices will be more diverse, not less.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.