The strongest impression that was made on me during the Web 2.0 Conference last week was that of enthusiasm. People are excited about the new developments, the new opportunities, and the new creation cycle that is currently happening in the Web 2.0 space. And I do understand and agree with this enthusiasm. However, it did strike me that a majority of the conversations and presentations that I saw lacked a healthy sense of skepticism that should correspond with any new company, initiative, or trend. It seemed, at times, like much of the zeal was taken at face value, without a critical eye given to ideas.
That being said, there are notable exceptions, some of which are turning up in the blogosphere (Fred Wilson, Om Malik). I thought that it was interesting to note that John Battelle, who helped organize the entire hyped-up event, is launching his new company underneath and away from the public display of excitement and enthusiasm that he helped create over the past couple days. It was his sobering remark in the last few hours of the conference about his wanting to avoid getting caught up in the hype this time around that I believed signified a sobering closure to the event. Even this man, who orchestrated the entire conference, has the perspective this time around to realize the difference between marketing spin and potentially genuine opportunity.
I hope that during this next boom we remember to critically test all ideas and notions with a healthy skepticism. I didn’t sense much of it over the past few days in San Fran, but I suspect that it will follow after the lessons we’ve learned.