World of Web 2.0, How It Is Like A Mafia

Posted Aug 21, 2007

As far back as I can remember, all of these Web 2.0 companies wanted to be gangsters. When they first started, none of them had much of a rep. It wasn’t until these companies grew in the Web 2.0 mob hierarchy that they actually became worth the billions that they are today. And their stories of growth aren’t too different from the stories of mafia gangsters that we see in the movies.

In this case, I’ll use the movie, Goodfellas as an example.

When Web 2.0 companies were just little boys and idolized the crime families (established technology companies such as Yahoo! and Microsoft), they focused on growing within the mob.  These companies tried to work with the mob, but ended up working towards bringing them down (Facebook after Friendster, YouTube after Google Video, Wikipedia after online encyclopedias, Google after MSN/Yahoo!, etc).  This is similar to Henry Hill dropping out of school to work for the mob, but then turns against them.

Google created products that make using Windows such as the Desktop Search and the Google Toolbar.  Facebook was started with the intention of just being a Harvard directory.  But as Facebook invaded mob rival territory by poaching Friendster users.  And Jonathan Abrams of Friendster admitted defeat.  “I’m never going to make a ton of money off of Friendster like Mark [Zuckerberg] will probably make from Facebook,” stated Abrams in Fast Company.

However, the greed may sometimes ultimately cause the downfall of each rebellious mob character.  Scarface was greedy, Henry Hill was greedy, Pablo Escobar was greedy and so forth.  All of these mobsters made millions just like today’s web companies but made many enemies along the way.

How long will today’s Web 2.0 leaders run the territory?  Its tough to say, but if I were to make a guess, that little rebellious gangster Web 3.0 company will pull the rug out from under the Facebooks, Googles, YouTubes, MySpaces, etc. by 2010.