Web 2.0 – Business technology for everyone
Julius Caesar was questioned by one of the ministers: “Why do you plan to entrust power to the hands of the Romans?” He quipped: “Let Rome follow the voice of her citizens and the world will follow Rome.” That is the story of web 2.0 – The power to change is in the hands of the people.
Web and Web 2.0
The advent of the Internet and its ramifications on our lives is still being digested and analyzed after all these years. Meanwhile, this baby has grown into a charismatic adult. We are all aware of the concept and the impact of the Web in our daily lives, but what is this new version of the Web? Why is it called web 2.0? Is there a Web 3.0 also in the pipeline? Why is it creating such a stir in social, economic and technological circles?
The readers and viewers of yesteryear have become the contributors, collaborators, and knowledge hubs of the Web 2.0 era. You are correct, there is also talk of Web 3.0, but its characteristics are nebulous at the moment. As with any social platform, if the baton of power is passed to the people, it creates ripples. Web 2.0 consumers have become more powerful than any union, and their collective voice can be both a nemesis and a publicity bonanza for any corporate empire.
Tools for the Entrepreneur – courtesy Web 2.0
Are you able to keep track of your small business? Do you manage your finances? Business networks? Do you have a marketing strategy? – Web 2.0 tools provide a simple, easy to use and economically viable solution to your business needs. The most reliable tools in the market are given below:
Finance, Money management, Payments
The following apps can ease the headache of managing financial nuances: Prosper, Dimewise, NetworthIQ, Wesabe, Instacalc.
Time sheets, Billing, Billing
Freshbooks, Harvest, SidejobTrack – these apps will give you time for strategic planning.
Communication and Cooperation
These web applications will handle the integral parts of conferencing, teamwork collaboration, voice and text communication, and shared workspace: Campfire, Meebo, Userplane, Concept-share, Near-time.
The following apps would manage your schedules, itineraries, deadlines if you can’t afford a personal secretary: Google Calendar, Remember the Milk, Neptune
Networks, Social Spaces
Every entrepreneur needs to network with their peers and established market leaders to spread the word and reach customers. They can use these Web 2.0 tools: LinkedIn, Facebook, Ning
Content creation, office and productivity tools
These tools will help with record keeping, hard copies, document management, backups, etc. – Zoho, Thinkfree, MyStickies, EyeOS
Promotion, Marketing, Sales and Support
Start-up entrepreneurs cannot afford advertising agencies to create brand equity and marketing campaigns. So what do they do? Use the following tools: Veetro, Google Adsense, Ebay and Qoop.
Areas of Web 2.0 Entrepreneurship
As we know, every business endeavor has its own barriers to entry, so I am listing some of the lowest barrier to entry Web 2.0 opportunities.
Rich Media Producer
All you need is a webcam, free video editing software (must come with your operating system), a YouTube account, and most importantly, your directorial skills. You can be a producer of webisodes, documentaries, news shows, and any creative content that can be captured through a lens.
Some of the sites where you can publish your content and get paid are: Youtube, Revver, BrightCove, Metacafe, Veoh, Google Video, Yahoo Video, etc.
The web is a limitless medium, but publishing: you must be kidding. But, that’s true. Go to Lulu and you can publish your dream book without leaving your house. Lulu will print and ship her magnum opus for a percentage cut in revenue, then check Amazon sales next.
Independent consultant of products and services
If you’re a professional/hobbyist photographer, painter, cyclist, or even a serious hobbyist, then Web 2.0 could be your key to financial freedom. You can start a blog powered by a product or service that reflects your passion and knowledge, and a source of in-depth analytical knowledge is a very expensive commodity on the net.
For example, Vincent Versace’s blog on Nikon cameras.
An anonymous customer who was a big fan of target started writing about his experiences and thus began the Department Store Blog – Target – http://slavetotarget.blogspot.com/. She is now employed by target.
Also called ‘Participatory Journalism’ or ‘People’s Journalism’, it is the one carried out by citizens who collect, analyze, inform and disseminate reliable information. Most citizen journalists use Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, podcasts, wikis, YouTube (for video journalism, suitable for professional and amateur videographers), Flickr (www.flickr.com, for professional and amateur photographers)
For example, Snaparazzi are citizen journalists or bystanders who witness a newsworthy event and capture it on video or digital image using their mobile phone. The July 7, 2005 London bombings provided a large number of instances where still images of bombed underground trains were made available online almost immediately after the events.
Socially inclined people can use Web 2.0 tools (CMS, content management system tools like Joomla and Mambo) to create their own online community with an eye toward a niche audience. We’ve seen industry leaders like Myspace and Orkut (www.orkut.com) become mega-community sites in the blink of an eye.
The opportunities for creativity are endless, the tools to realize your dream are at your fingertips, and chances are good that you can say goodbye to your 9 to 5 job once you harness the full potential of the Web 2.0 platform. So, put on your thinking caps!