Sarah Gets My Blood Boiling – Again

I’ve just read a post by the inimitable Silicon Valley insider Sarah Lacy in which she derides the prospects for Enterprise 2.0 companies. The theme of her post is that most of the Enterprise 2.0 companies she sees are "me too" companies providing yet another wiki/collaboration/whatever products that are competing with existing free alternatives or searching for a market that doesn’t exist.

WTF?

Bear in mind this is from the same Sarah Lacy who wrote Once you’re lucky, twice you’re good, the book heralding the consumer web 2.0 visionaries (Andreeson, Adelson, Rose, Zuckerberg) as visionaries. (For your info I’ve read the book (a free signed review copy no less) and it’s a good read – go and buy it). Yes the same consumer web 2.0 offerings that have no obvious monetisation path, that are each competing with other existing offerings and which (arguably) fuelled this current web bubble.

Contrast that with the enterprise 2.0 products which are business facing – that’s right BUSINESS, where wealth is created and stuff gets done. Where tools that provide a needed service get purchased – for money. Not consumer web 2.0 where everything is free and there is no vision for monetisation beyond advertising.

Sure some products will go to the wall – there are a bunch of "me too" Wiki offerings in particular which don’t have any real point of difference – we’ll se some consolidation in that area – but enterprise 2.0 itself is totally sound – it provides ROI, it’s more efficient and it’s about tools which help businesses improve their bottom line – all of which are significantly comforting in these difficult times.

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Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. His business interests include a diverse range of industries from manufacturing to property to technology. As a technology commentator he has a broad presence both in the traditional media and extensively online. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

More about Ben here.

3 responses to “Sarah Gets My Blood Boiling – Again”

  1. sireland

    It’s stunning how valley tech media continues to be so flippant about business applications. The post you refer to is likely rooted with a very narrow or naive definition of Enterprise 2.0. If you have a beef with the fad of social tools or me-too apps then call it that; but to generalize such a broad and fast-developing concept says your foolish, desperate, or provocative (lazy).

    “Charge for software? How would that ever work? Look, it’s already free?!” Lets coin this chasm of misunderstanding “valleyware”.

    You can’t move a conversation from consumer through to enterprise. From a technological and concept point of view they leverage each other but the business, operational and value characteristics are completely different. Ms. Lacy has the experience and knows this.

    The dilemma? Interesting rarely seems to make money and money apps rarely seem to be exciting enough to cover…

    We need more IT media weighing in to help Sarah Lazy, err Lacy, find relevant business cases to cover.

  2. Chris Yeh

    It’s amazing to me that Lacy has the nerve to slam Enterprise 2.0 companies for being copycats when the problem is an order of magnitude worse on the consumer side. I invested in and helped the founders launch Ustream. Back then, a new competitor crawled out of the primordial ooze pretty much every single day. The same held true during the “B2C” era.

  3. Zoli Erdos

    Me, I’m just happy this is not a post about the *other* Sarah… when I saw the title, I got worried for a sec. :-)