Friday, October 24, 2008

The Web 2.0 Diaspora - profitability now matters

The term diaspora is normally associated with the scattering of a people group geographically from their homeland. The term is originally Greek and is literally translated "a scattering or sowing of seeds". There is little question that the original homeland of Web technology is Silicone valley California but I often find myself mildly annoyed when listening to a Twit podcast or Buzz outloud and hear long narratives about local valley activities or politics. Don't they know there is a whole generation of us Web 2.0 businesses born outside the beloved homeland?

Being outside the valley has a few notable drawbacks. We are less subjected to the clouds of money floating down from the VC sky. Many of us started online businesses with the mistaken idea that a business model that included a plan to generate revenue was necessary. Oblivious to the obvious drawbacks of charging a fee for our services, we blindly went forward telling customers what value our service could provide and insisting they pay us for using it.

Lately I've been hearing how the winds of economic trouble has begun to blow the clouds of money away from my distant cousins in the valley. There is much fear of drought and disaster among the sequoias and other farmers in that region. I fear many of my friends in the valley may become chafe, blown by the winds of trouble and scattered abroad.

I would like to share a small lesson learned from those of us scattered beyond the reach of the money clouds. There is hope, even now if you stop relying on the rain and start digging wells. There is money in the fertile soil of software as a service (SaaS) but you must have the vision to build something of value that you can bring to the "farmers market" and sell.

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