Optimism 2008

An essay I wrote on optimism in 2008.

I am optimistic and looking forward to 2008 so that we can finally see the emergence of the real (Web 2.0) companies — the successful companies who have been around the entire time but no one’s heard of.

The past few years have been hype-ridden, noisy and full of speculation about who or which companies mattered most. Most of these real companies in 2007 were ignored because of Facebook’s hype or overshadowed by Google’s spaghetti strategy — which will both be greatly diminished in 2008.

2008 will bring the rise of real companies who have been cutting their teeth — with their noses to the ground working hard, listening to what customers need and leveraging the very tools and philosophies of Web 2.0 that everyone else around them was talking about. Instead of talking about Web 2.0, these companies have been living it and deploying successfully for a couple of years now.

Most of these companies will NOT be venture-backed, will NOT be big sexy names and will NOT be led by superstar CEOs.

These companies will emerge in 2008 and prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Web 2.0 actually means something, particularly to the business world and the Enterprise. These companies will have been doing what everyone else has been speculating, blogging and Twittering about all of these years.

I’m looking forward to seeing these companies emerge — a cast of new, unfamiliar leaders who have real customers to back them up and real revenue and momentum to continue to grow — many without the need for venture or private equity funding.

Will these companies be big companies? Hardly. But from amongst these break-out companies that emerge in 2008 a handful will grab the attention of the big boys — and possibly even begin to bear some early traits of being a Google killer.

These companies are scrappy, lean, smart, agile, pragmatic, practical and real. And, since these companies have real, paying customers, they will have already built business models that will be relatively immune to the 2008 economic slump that will put their competitors into the deadpool. These companies already see what’s coming — they’ve seen it coming for a long time already.

I can’t wait to see who these companies are — and I’m highly optimistic about their future and how they will help shape 2008 into the year that Web 2.0 began to really matter.

Originally written at GigaOm.

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