Danah Boyd put me into thinking the relationship of startups with big corporations in front of web 2.0.
According to Boyd, Web 2.0 enables glocalization, customizing global information networks into local needs.
A startup has the agility and dynamics to move very fast. What they can do is innovate with emerging technologies and spin great services for local needs. What startups are especially useful for is to generate small compact products that do one thing very well.
If we connect small pieces loosely joined – the unified theory of the web – into this thinking, we see that startups play a very important role in creating small pieces.
I also think this small pieces thinking is the future of Open Source. So far we have emulated large proprietary software products with products like OpenOffice, Firefox and Linux.
In the other hand, the hundreds of thousands of small and uninteresting software pieces that are buried in services like SourceForge will play a much more important role in the future when Web 2.0 really busts into our reality. The loose-coupling of small Open Source pieces will result in rich value generation streams.
In the case of startups, the ability to build pieces that interconnect very well with other pieces on the market becomes a core success factor. Building blocks that are more like glue than cement is the way to go, pieces that support the emerging open standards of the web as a platform. Ability to connect a small piece with any other piece without any economic constraints is the key.
Big corporations will have the resources and ability to feed these startups with infoware, web services in which the information is more important than what software it runs. This enables a completely new layer to emerge on top of the web. In return, big corporations will have a rich stream of small pieces available, which they will use to create completely new types of services. It’s a natural symbiosis of large and small.