Here is an essay version of class notes from Class 10 of CS183: Startup. Errors and omissions are mine.
Marc Andreessen, co-founder and general partner of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, joined this class as a guest speaker. Credit for good stuff goes to him and Peter. I have tried to be accurate. But note that this is not a transcript of the conversation.
Class 10 Notes Essay—After Web 2.0
I. Hello World
It all started about 40 years ago with ARPANET. Things were asynchronous and fairly low bandwidth. Going “online” could be said to have begun in 1979 with the CompuServe model. In the early ‘80s AOL joined in with its take on the walled garden model, offering games, chat rooms, etc. Having laid the foundations for the modern web, the two companies would merge in ’97.
The Mosaic browser launched in 1993. Netscape announced its browser on October 13th, 1994 and filed to go public in less than a year later. And so began the World Wide Web, which would define the ‘90s in all kinds of ways.
“Web 1.0” and “2.0” are terms of art that can be sort of hard to pin down. But to speak of the shift from 1.0 to 2.0 is basically to speak of what’s changed from decade to decade. When things got going content was mostly static. Now the emphasis is on user generated content, social networking, and collaboration of one sort or another.
Relative usage patterns have shifted quite a bit too. In the early ‘90s, people used FTP. In the late ‘90s they were mostly web browsing or connecting to p2p networks. By 2010, over half of all Internet usage was video transmission. These rapid transitions invite the question of what’s next for the Internet. Will the next era be the massive shift to mobile, as many people think? It’s a plausible view, since many things seem possible there. But also worth putting in context is that relative shifts don’t tell the full story. Total Internet usage has grown dramatically as well. There are perhaps 20x more users today than there were in the late ‘90s. The ubiquity of the net creates a sense in which things today are very, very different.
II. The Wild West
The Internet has felt a lot like the Wild West for last 20 years or so. It’s been a frontier of sorts—a vast, open space where people can do almost anything. For the most part, there haven’t been too many rules or restrictions. People argue over whether that’s good or bad. But it raises interesting questions. What enables this frontier to exist as it does? And is the specter of regulation going to materialize? Is everything about to change?
A 50-something year old white woman arrived at her seat and saw that the passenger next to her was a black man.
Visibly furious, she called the air hostess.
"What’s the problem, mam?" the hostess asked her
"Can’t you see?" the lady said - "I was given a seat next to a black man. I can’t sit here next to him. You have to change my seat"
- “Please, calm down, mam” - said the hostess
"Unfortunately, all the seats are occupied, but I’m still going to check if we have any."
The hostess left and returned some minutes later.
"Madam, as I told you, there isn’t any empty seat in this class- economy class.
But I spoke to the captain and he confirmed that there isn’t any empty seats in the economy class. We only have seats in the first class.”
And before the woman said anything, the hostess continued
"Look, it is unusual for our company to allow a passenger from the economy class change to the first class.
However, given the circumstances, the Pilot thinks that it would be a scandal to make a passenger travel sitting next to an unpleasant person.”
And turning to the black man, the hostess said:
"Which means, Sir, if you would be so nice to pack your handbag, we have reserved you a seat in the first class…"
And all the passengers nearby, who were shocked to see the scene started applauding, some standing on their feet.
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—John McCain accidentally endorses the wrong candidate. “That one.” (via kileyrae)