The Calacanis effect: 1st AWS Athens meetup

Jason Calacanis in OpenCoffee Greece

Image by nikan_gr via Flickr

Jason Calacanis urged people gathered to listen him in the last Greek OpenCoffee, to abandon their isolation, form groups of common interests and advance and thrive on cooperation. Half jokingly,  half seriously, he appointed John Nousis, cofounder of the Zuni student social network, as the one responsible for a meetup of people interested in cloud computing and Amazon Web Services.

Well, today we witnessed this ‘joke’  come alive!

Close to 40 people gathered in  the cafeteria of Eleftheroudakis’ bookstore to watch John’s presentation, discuss and network.

I got a positive feeling from the meeting for the following reasons:

  • Most people gagthered were IT professionals
  • They seemed to have a genuine interest in the subject flared by an unconfessed concern about some project they were running.
  • There were lots of ‘new  faces’ which means that this meetup motivated people that we do not usually see in other meetups.
  • The subject itself (cloud computing, scaling, need for ‘unlimited’ bandwidth etc) points to projects that do not bear the usual characteristics of  Greek startups: local focus, limited reach etc.

“Now what?” you might ask. I am not sure whether or when there is going to be another meetup, but my suggestion is that it should. And it should have a more concrete form: to train people interested in the basics. Because startups don’t need only computing power that scales, but also people to maintain it.

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Nothing lives on until you declare it dead: the web 2.0 case.

NASDAQ in Times Square, New York City.

Image via Wikipedia

The comparison of the current financial crisis with the thirties is a commonplace for bloggers and mainstream media alike. Yet, extremely few, if any, of those making the comparison were born, lived through or near the time of the big crash in 1929. And as history teaches us that history does not teach people anything, the comparison of the current crisis to the 1929 one, is just a matter of impressions. We will not be able to know and understand the implication of the current crisis for years. Which is also a generous premise, since, even today, we do not understand the causes of 1929 crisis.

Another commonplace comparison is the one with the .com collapse. The parallels here run truly scarce, as very few of the  web 2.0 companies made it to the stock market to get exorbitant valuations. So where is the comparison? To the fact that the good times for web2.0, meaning capital flow, copycat financing, building a new venture in a matter of days, etc,  will eventually end. And  end it will, there is no doubt about it, since the melt down of the big financial corporations will dry up the rest of the economy.

Yet, like a forest fire that helps a forest regenerate, this dry up will put the vigor of web 2.0 into a test. And like in the .com era, Darwin will see himself proven right once more, and the fittest will survive.

I can’t help reminding myself of all the articles I read in the late ’90s that were doupting the prospect of Amazon‘s survival.  Amazon is now an undeniable e-commerce king. It has also  gone far beyond that, transforming itself into the main web services provider, the behemoth of cloud computing.

A similar thing will happen to web 2.0: the most valuable companies, those adept and well adapted, those with sound business models and practices will survive to see themselves the business royalty of tomorrow. The crisis may take away some money capital from them, but will also provide the with new cheap human capital, less competitors and a market that settles around them.

Is web 2.0 declared dead? Good! Now it can start living.

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