Victus Spiritus


Matricide, SocNets Plan to Strangle the Web which gave them Life

22 Oct 2010

This post was instigated by MG Siegler's Tech Crunch coverage of the Kleiner Perkins $250 million dollar Social Fund (sFund). What fired me up is a quote from Mark Pincus that discloses the direction of web born yet anti-web properties: 

In five years, everybody will always be connected to each other, instead of the web

What the hell does that even mean? Will Amazon, Facebook, and Zynga forego communication via HTTP in favor of proprietary, authorized only formats? 

Did I miss the memo on the new corporate speak for direct connection? By definition direct connectivity is inconsistent with third party corporate intermediaries which have knowledge and control of the content of messages. Not only that, the intermediaries have deep personal information on the sender, the recipients, and their social networks. I would define this form of connectivity as highly indirect.

Initially I suspect Mark I, II & III* are interested in being the Internet's version of a new phone company based on the dial tone reference. I don't see how the social web can be an impartial corporate dial tone without being regulated into worthlessness. Without regulation this form of corporate backbone is an obvious monopoly. 

We haven't even finished disrupting the last wave of BigTelco discrimination or achieved cost per bit parity. Why would evolutionary tech forces select for proprietary corporate bottlenecks for one to one, one to many, or many to many connections? That's just reverting to an old form, and we've been down that road before and it sucked (AT&T, AOL, MSN, IE).

It's natural for superior child technologies to disrupt incumbent systems

I'm pro child tech disruption when it's superior to its predecessors. It's not clear how society benefits from having only a few corporate choices for communication. While limited choice enables rapid integration, placing all the responsibility of communication in the hands of a single corporate entity is foolish if we desire any kind of network stability or security. 

Nature selects many parallel paths to achieve stability, in software we call this "there's more than one way to do it".

*= Jeff is Mark I of these webpreneurs and based on corporate age that makes Zuck II and Pincus III. Looking forward to the real world of Mark I, II + Bezos. Remember you heard it here first

Joking and hippy rant aside, I have a lot of respect for what these gents have accomplished so far. But I disagree with many of their core strategies and vision for the future of communication. As an ego check and to put my opinion in perspective, they're all pretty loaded and I'm struggling for lunch money.