Thoughts on Silicon Valley and the search-based Web 2.0 industry

Pit stop at the 15 month mark of my Silicon Valley race.

Team profile:
Race started July 22, 2004. It was a furious start at a computer hardware startup, BitMicro, which resulted in a vehicular failure at the 4 month mark. I swapped the metaphorical vehicle and crossed over seamlessly, with no time lost to my fellow competitors, to a new team in the life science research instrumentation industry, Alpha Innotech. Continued to plough the tracks with my new racing team till today.

If there is one big change in me, i would say its a mentality shift and fervent embracing of the technology industry, especially the Internet industry. I can still remember myself a year ago involved in a school project to write a business plan for the Entrepreneurship Centre of NUS (my college in Singapore). and thinking that the Centre’s focus on technology was unfounded as i was not convinced of its commerical potential and priority over traditional sectors of the economy.

Well, i was wrong, and glad for it. Over the past 15 months, i have come to realize the tremendous technological improvements made in the home of the technology sector here in the Bay Area and how far behind the rest of the world is in catching up with this new wave. If the Industrial Revolution has led to economic and social benefits to the world’s civilization, the IT revolution that started with the advent of the PC and now, the Internet era, will continue on that path of technological advancement of our human race.

Now, i have to mention Google. Their stock, for those in the unbeknownst, rose by 10% in after-hours trading last week. Their current stock value have almost quadrupled since their initial offer price of $85 about a year ago. Where does this company get their mojo? Online advertising. It propels an overwhelming majority of their revenues. Why are people so caught up in search? And my personal question is, are Google users really clicking on the ads in such huge numbers to justify this explosion in Google’s financials? Or is it a case of click fraud sprouting its ugly head and artifically inflating the numbers?

Whether Google’s revenue figures are natural or fraudulent, we cannot discount the immense impact they have and insight into how the world has changed. The eternal quest for information will always be with every one of us. I see Google, or rather search, as the trail blazer of the Internet industry. I stick close to developments of Google, and then the rest of the search industry, such as Yahoo, MSN, and then maybe Ask, (as an afterthought) because i believe search is going to be the platform of many other web applications and services that will either co-exist or displace many other offline businesses in the next 10 years as the technology gap shrinks between the developed and developing economies and societies. Some call this the Web 2.0 industry. The natural economic advantages and characteristics of the Internet will change communication the way we knew it in the past 20 centuries and is a tide we all have to embrace and not reject.

Hear this, Old Media, RIAA and MPAA, for your doom is nigh if you do not embrace the Internet as a new distribution channel of your content.


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