Web 2.0 Expo: Sudden thoughts and Second Thoughts (with apologies to Bill Lyons)

I am returned from the Web 2.0 Expo. Floor only pass, I didn’t get to attend anything else, but I did buy two books.

Sudden thought: wow, does web 2.0 ever need a lot of hardware. Sure, Internet connections are fast, but the things you connect to better be fast as well. Lots of hardware vendors here. Lots.

Sudden thought: this all sounds like Deja Vu all over again. Lots of people touting technology that helps you build apps,  connect to your community, block spam (what?? Who blocks spam these days? Why aren’t you using Gmail or *gasp* yahoo! mail??), monitor network traffic (who runs their own network? Ugh I forgot – I do), or check out who’s latching onto your Wi-Fi.

So half the hall – no, wait, 66% of the hall – is dedicated to the people who bring you the hardware, the Raw Materials, as it were, of Web 2.0.  23.3% (unofficial tally) were … exactly all the same offerings. Community web builder blogosphere building blocks enterprise 2.0 (a retronym if there ever was one, considering “enterprise” is in and of itself a weird sort of retroynm).

So it’s 1997 all over again. Clearly something is happening, but what? I really do think something is happening, but … well … what? flickr is a terrific example leading off a (so far) excellent text Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide (by Amy Shuen, O’Reilly Press), but how do I make money? How do I build a community of photographers who… well, what are they doing? How can I tell? How do I know? We sell all manner of terrific photographic equipment, but how do I get the message out?

How do I build a sincere community around photography, purchasing from my store – at fair prices, mind you – without some … what? Do I need a go-to gadget?

Or do I need to tie together what they’re doing elsewhere with my own special brand of ability (i.e., mashups with some APIs and relationships with product manufacturers like Nikon, Canon, Fuji, etc)? Hmm. What do you think?

Oh, and apologies to Bill Lyons, of the Philadelphia Inquirer, because he used to have a column called “Sudden thoughts and second thoughts.” To be fair, though, he never did send me a copy of his Jeremy Roenick article, circa Jeremy’s rookie year, about how tough the NHL playoffs are. Maybe this can spark him to find a publisher, because BL should definitely have a book – in specific for Philadelphia Sports Fans, but in general for readers everywhere. The man can write.

But what can I do?