John is leading a panel of Marc Andreessen (of Netscape fame, then Loudcloud/Opsware), Dan Rosensweig (Yahoo's COO, previously at ZDNet and CNet).

Wow, Marc looks much older now.

Q: Are we going to make the same mistakes again?

A: Dan says there were a lot mistakes in a short period of time--very compressed. It wasn't people being stupid as much as it was greed and crazyness. But a lot got done during those times.

A: Marc says we'll keep making the same mistakes as well as some new ones. We're in a great environment where we can get away with mistakes.

Q: Yahoo has a browser (w/SBC). What's the future of the browser?

A: Marc says we're going to see some very interesting things in the next few years. Microsoft got its browser monopoly but didn't really use it that much. He thinks it will happens someday.

Q: Where's this going [the browser]?

A: Marc says browser innovation stopped in 1998 for the most part. But Firefox may be changing that. That'll get Microsoft's attention and maybe they'll start screwing with others.

A: Dan says he hopes Marc doesn't point Microsoft at this idea. :-) But Yahoo doesn't want to cage people up. My Yahoo uses RSS for that reason. The more open it [feels?], the more people use it.

Q: Does Yahoo need client software?

In some areas it can help: messenger, music, etc. Some things you just can't do on the Web easily. But they need to be connected to each others.

Q: Is Yahoo getting into the browser business?

A: Dan says we already have one!

Q: Owning data is one of the new lock-ins. Is this happening a lot on the Internet?

A: Marc, yes. Walled gardens vs. an open platform is where we came from. Open source has helped at the code and protocol level. The new game is locking in user data. eBay envy. Network effects. Your eBay reputation isn't portable. It's carefully owned. Plantation owner model.

A: Dan says we have in excess of 150 million registered users. Data is essential in this market. My Yahoo is about moving into the new world of "my media" and seeing what I want published to me. The walled garden of data lockup leaves companies vulerable. When the data is unlocked, businesses fall apart. On-line travel could unravel, for example. It's the application of data that's the weapon.

Q: Where do you see the Yahoo API suite?

A: Dan says it's going to happen but you cannot do it overnight. It's far from perfect, but we're moving that way.

A: Marc says it's just amazing when you look at the things you can't do. No portable recommendations, search history, profile, and so on. It's a strong lock-in!

Q: What about small companies doing this?

A: Marc says that is a good example of this. You can get at most of the data, unlike most of the large Internet companies.

Q: Consumer habits. Don't want to assume that consumers will change their habits for you. Is that still true? Will people change their habits?

A: Dan says that people do change their habits. Look at search. Better products win. There are a lot of valuable services popping up on the web that get people do change. (Like what?)

A: Marc says look at cell phones. The latest cool phone is always from a different company. There's no real lock-in. No brand loyalty. Just like when search flipped a few years back. Switching costs are low, and communication about the new cool thing is easy and fast.

Q: Music business?

A: Marc, yeah. MP3s, for example, used to be hard. But lots of people jumped on it--even breaking the law when necessary.

A: Dan says we're living in a world where it's too easy to change, so people do. There's little loyalty in the younger generation. So you need to keep innovating. MusicMatch is a good example. 50 million users are already there. The barriers that Marc faced are not here today. Yahoo wants to leverage technology and experience (meaning user experience).

Q: The NetOS idea is back. What do you make of the WebOS meme?

A: Marc thinks it is fascinating. Google is being "led by the nose into a battle with Microsoft." He's seen this before! Everybody loves the fight. Sun tries to fight Microsoft but gets beat up by Linux instead. AOL and Microsoft never really competed. Not sure where the next battle will be. Google vs. Microsoft will be interesting.

A: Dan asks what users want. Better companies will serve the users better than others. We want to be relevant and matter, so we need to focus on users. Don't worry about the echo chamber and picking fights. And think about the long term value for users--the stock will reflect that over the long term.

Q: Will a Web-based OS create value for users?

A: Dan says it's entirely possible, yes.

A: Marc thinks so too. Big opportunity. But look at how MusicMatch and the iPod can't talk. Or you don't have portable playlists.

Q: Where would you build your next company?

A: Marc thinks Dan would start a blog.

A: Dan thinks blogs are great and with the My Media thing, he wants people to have what they want, when they want it, where they want it, and to be able to tell people about it. People won't be married to a particular device but the content that the device provides.

A: Marc sees three big levers. The number of users (broadband, mobile, etc). Costs are going way down for building web business are way lower now. People are cheaper too, given international markets. Advertising actually works now, and so do paid services and content. Very optimistic. You just don't need a big investment to start a big new service. People may not need VC anymore.

A: Dan says it's stable too. Advertising is growing. It's not the old days, it's a diverse advertising base that's supporting this.

Q: Steve Gillmor asked Dan if he'd commit to an open standard for attention metadata.A: Dan won't commit to anything today. Users can re-create whatever they want wherever they want (other services). We're still figuring this out. It takes time.

Q: FOAF and data interchange? (Marc Canter)

A: Marc says it's not money. Open standards are what we need. Many implementations that interoperate. But you can't convince companies to support it without user demand. AOL, for example, wouldn't let AIM and ICQ talk! This is a big deal for many businesses.

Q: Chris from asks about Overture and RSS advertising. Is Overture working on that?

A: Dan clarifies the question. And says yes, we're going to do that. Yahoo is in the advertising business and in the business of creating incremental content value.

See Also: My Web 2.0 post archive for coverage of all the other sessions I attended.

Posted by jzawodn at October 06, 2004 02:31 PM

Reader Comments
# Al said:

Marc A didn't get pelted with rotten eggs? After all, he's a BIG proponent of offshoring (most likely because that's how he makes money).

on October 6, 2004 03:02 PM
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