Geek 2.0 meets Geek 1.0
If you’ve been following the “Web 2.0” conversations, are interested in the future of web technology, or just have a half hour or so to kill, you should check out this video of Tim O’Reilly and Bill Gates. In the video from Mix 06 O’Reilly leads off by drawing a paralell between Web 2.0 and Microsoft’s Live Software, a parallel which I’m afraid Gates didn’t (or didn’t want to) understand.
Common Web 2.0 topics came up, like perpetual beta, user added value, RSS, etc. Not surprisingly Gates was clearly uncomfortable with the topics. For example, when O’Reilly brought up the topic of perpetual beta, Gates went to his comfort zone and talked about how Microsoft’s plan to upgrade IE as often as three times per year was cutting edge. Similarly when O’Reilly mentioned the mashup of craig’s list and Google Maps as part of the evolution of the web as a platform rather than continue on that topic, Gates shapes his response into a description of the products Microsoft is developing to compete with Google Maps.
Through the whole presentation it becomes increasingly clear that Gates is only comfortable speaking about his own company’s technology while O’Reilly is talking about the direction of the industry. This is why I say Geek 2.0 meets Geek 1.0. Geek 2.0 (O’Reilly) speaks in terms like standards, technologies, trends, platforms. Geek 1.0 (Gates) speaks in terms like program x, technology b, product t. Geek 1.0 thinks their software vendor should and will innovate within their field, while geek 2.0 reaches out to open-source products and custom mashups and software which will evolve with usage.
Watch the body language in this video. O’Reilly looks like he could be sitting in his living room talking to someone. Gates looks like he’s on trial. Pretty bad since the Mix conference was hosted by Microsoft.