Monday, March 06, 2006

Hype and Hyperbola

Am still looking forward to the SPARK workshop, despite early posturing from some of the participants. Dare Obasnjo has posted a personal attack on Dion Hinchcliffe, and claims that the Web 2.0 hype makes him feel ill.

For my part, I wouldn't be remotely interested in going to SPARK if I thought it was just going to be a pleasant gathering of like-minded people. I have politely disagreed with a number of the SPARK participants in my blog before now, and I shall be very bored if there's nothing to disagree about.

Does Web 2.0 count as hype? To my mind, labels like Web 2.0 (and related concepts such as SOA 2.0 and Business 2.0 - and perhaps even SOA itself) don't refer to a specific technology but to a cluster of characteristic technologies. (Such labels are therefore defined polythetically.) Each of these technologies may follow its own hype curve, but these fine-grained hype curves are probably not in synch.

To my mind, the problem with these labels is when people make a fetish of them, and try to draw sweeping conclusions from them. If your notions of SOA, Web 2.0, customer-centricity and enterprise agility are all imprecise, then a statement linking any two of these notions must be regarded as equally imprecise. Technology is full of statements that lack precise empirical support. If we dismiss all such statements as hype, there would be very little left. And if Dare's ears bleed so easily, he must go around with red shoulders all the time.

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