Internet Generation Gap

Dave Winer and Fred Wilson, along with some others (see Techmeme coverage), have been sparring about age and innovation (or lack thereof). I mentioned the age chasm with regard to privacy in my last two posts on Big Brother (1, 2), and actually had an entry in mind about the great divide between the Web 1.0 and 2.0 generations.

I feel like entrepreneurs and Web 2.0 evangelists in their early to mid-20s get a certain look in the eye when talking to people of my age (mid-30s) and older. Sometimes, it’s accompanied by that tone, too; you know, the “I’m speaking slowly, using terms you can understand”. It’s the same look and feel, complete with eye-rolling, that I had in my 20s when talking to old school software people about the Internet (“It’s just porn and stock quotes.”), also known at the time as the Information Super-Highway. Maybe not, but I haven’t heard that term in ages.

It will be the same way in 10 years when Web 2.0 is yesterday’s news (possibly after their very own bubble and burst), when some whippersnapper is sitting across the virtual table accusing the foges of not “getting it”, the ultimate geek insult.

Not getting it does not mean it is a good idea. Similarly, good ideas are often hard to get. Age is irrelevant.

Incidentally, I love to see coverage and blogs comparing 2007 to 1999 because it means we’re back on track. Between 2001 and 2003, it looked pretty bleak. It’s good to debate these topics again. Even if this time around, I’m on the other side of the equation.



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