The Web Era Is Over (Unless You’re Not A Consumer Internet Company)

I’m constantly amazed by how many people want to start throwing dirt on the web era, claiming that everything is now mobile first.

AllThingsD weighed in with the provocative headline, “Could Pinterest Be the Last Big Web-First Internet Company?”

“We’re probably the last big website,” Sharp said. “As far as I know, we’re the last startup to become high-profile on the Web.”

It’s a provocative argument that Pinterest could be sandwiched between
the Web and mobile eras — following Web giants like Facebook and Tumblr
as they slide to mobile, as well as others, like Pandora and Groupon, which have made an even stronger leap to phones, and preceding more recent mobile-first stars like Instagram and WhatsApp.”

The problem with this argument is that, as usual, it assumes that the only Internet companies that exist are consumer companies.

Mobile/touch computing is a game-changer, especially for consumer computing.  My family has had computers since I was just a lad, starting with an Apple ][+ in the early 1980s.  My mom never started using them until about five years ago, when she began using AOL to email her friends (and send me a never-ending stream of chain letters; I’ve been tempted many times to build a special app that would run every forwarded email through and send an automated debunking email–I think it would be very popular with a lot of 30- and 40-somethings with retired parnts).  But her usage was still minimal, and was often punctuated with calls asking me for tech support.

Two years ago, she got an iPad. Now she uses it for hours each day.

Phones and tablets are far superior for casual consumption.  But I use my desktop for the vast majority of my non-email work, and I still prefer it for email as well, given the volumes that I receive and send.

I also use my desktop for writing documents, composing blog posts, and just about every other creative endeavor I perform.

You can’t beat large screens and physical keyboards for doing real work.  And until we’re all using neural implants with our Google Glass 7s, that’s not going to change.

4 thoughts on “The Web Era Is Over (Unless You’re Not A Consumer Internet Company)

  1. Good point, Chris. I never got the "web" vs. "mobile" thing. To me, mobile is a platform, as desktops or laptops are. Platforms which we use for using the web. While some services are a better fit with one platform over the other (depends on who the target users are), I believe most services should be cross-platform.

  2. That view misses the way that business works. Look at the consumer web properties of seven to ten years ago: Flickr, Myspace, Digg, etc. What about 15 years ago? Aol, Compuserve,

    To say that the web is over is to miss the fact that business is brutal and early and big leads are not the same thing as stability.

  3. So interesting to hear all the opinions, here is mine:

    I moved to SF 5 years ago from Mexico but I am originally from Spain (I apologies in advance for any English grammar mistake). As a SF resident for that long, I have a lot things to say but firstable I want to express that the work HATE sounds really immature to me, at least in a content like "describing a city.

    I am agree with many things and I have a few notes to add:

    1. Rent is sucks (I can not complain since I live in a rent control house in The Mission and I have a 11×15 room with a great loft for $410, situation that more people have, not just me).

    2. Parking is terrible (but I don´t like cars and this city is one of the best cities for bikes I ever been in) so it doesn´t really affect me.

    3. The homeless situation is terrible, SUPER AGREE. I am a photographer and I was denouncing this situation for a few years now. Even that, I think is a big problem in all the USA. I saw homeless people sleeping in the streets of Austin, New Orleans, Denver, NYC, Portland… I know in SF we have a lot of homeless people and I wish a home for all of them but it is not a problem just here. SF have more food for them than many other cities and the weather is less cold than places like Chicago or Detroit, so they come here to spend the winter.

    I also don´t like:

    4. that bikes can not cross the bridges and that bart doens´t run 24 hours… which is a pain in the ass if you go to the East Bay to spend a night.
    But also I know hat those things will happen since is a lot of people trying to change the situation)

    5. I don´t understand the point that you Chris mention about parades and protests stopping the traffic… I think we should actually TAKE THE STREETS more often!! and of course to high our voices and express the same feeling that you are expressing about capitalism.

    No doubt that SF is changing and is doing it very fast. In The Mission (where I live) are more coffee shops than supermarkets. Valencia street is not a street anymore, it is an extended commercial window that takes place from 14th street to the 24th and it is going to "take" more.

    The actual situation is also pushing away people who were living here for years and that make the city so special in trade of bringing in tech people who make thousands of dollars a month and can rent houses for 3 times more that the old people who were living there (and of course politicians will take that opportunity to make more money out of it).
    *I don´t have any problem with tech people, I just wish that they were fair divisions (people who make 10000 a month can pay houses for $3000 but not people who made $1500).

    But Chris, I have to tell you something:

    I traveled in over 20 countries in Asia, Africa, Central and North America, Europe and the Caribbean (always staying in them for a little bit, I am not the kind of tourist that visit a place for two days) and I can tell you that I NEVER been in a place like San Francisco:

    -SF teaches you to understand everyone choices, everyone feelings, everyone dreams.

    -It is a city where you understand and respect that HUMANS are humans, without giving the importance to a gender anymore.

    -You also understand how to be healthy, how to take car of your mind, your body, being gentle and honest, not forcing your self to a idealistic perfection.

    -SF teaches you to be creative, to live without too much money just because you realize you don´t need as much.

    -Gives you the opportunity to live with people from ALL OVER THE WORLD and to known their costumes without go out from your city.

    So, as I said, I won´t use the word HATE. I think that every place has a good side and a bad side, it is up to you to be fully happy or not.

    Capitalism is taking over all the world Chris, and the USA is the biggest exponent of it.

  4. Chris,

    It is true that the market leaders from a previous platform rarely carry over to the new one.

    Oracle and SAP still dominate ERP, but SFDC and Workday are killing them in SaaS.

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