The Architect of Innovative Publishing
In computer book publishing, the hottest topic areas for O’Reilly the past year have been Web development and digital media—everything from digital photography to the iPod and digital music.
“But 2007 should be a very good year for many more traditional computer book publishing topics as well, because it’s a year in which there are major software releases expected,” he says. “There are always new technologies that are lighting up the future, and we try to follow that light wherever it leads. It usually turns out to be somewhere very interesting.”
In 2003, in the middle of the dot-com bust, during a brainstorming meeting with O’Reilly Media and the company MediaLive (now owned by CMP), Dale Dougherty, co-founder of O’Reilly’s publishing business and now general manager of its Maker Media division, coined the term Web 2.0. It was evident in this meeting that the Web was experiencing a renaissance of innovation and enthusiasm.
“In particular, Dale focused on the idea that there was a kind of ‘2.0’ phenomenon going on, where many of the pioneers were being supplanted by new approaches,” O’Reilly says.
As O’Reilly Media staff brainstormed ideas for (what would later become its first Web 2.0 Conference), they realized that Web 2.0 encapsulated all of the themes that O’Reilly had been exploring for many years.
“So we wrapped the first Web 2.0 Conference in 2004 around these themes, and when I wrote the paper ‘What is Web 2.0?’ (www.OreillyNet.com/go/web2) for the second conference, the new movement had its manifesto,” he says.
This phrase, “Web 2.0” swept the Internet and the publishing world, leaving publishers at all levels hungry to take advantage of leveraging the Internet as a content platform.
“The key idea of Web 2.0, as I think about it today, is this: What distinguished the companies that survived the dot-com bust, and many of the successful new startups since, is that, in one way or another, they have learned how to leverage the Internet as a platform more powerfully than their competitors,” O’Reilly says. “And chief among the characteristics of that platform is this: You gain competitive advantage by using network effects to build applications that get better the more people use them.”