Thursday night i stopped by at the Minna Gallery for the SF Beta mixer and a visiting Australian Web 2.0 entrepreneur (yet another who is weeks away from launch and in town to get things moving) asked me why i attended events like this. SF Beta is one of many monthly events in the San Francisco Bay area for founders, developers, designers, bloggers, investors, journalists, and everyone else interested in the Web 2.0 community- and the participants to these events are ever growing.
My answer? Consumers who use Web 2.0 applications tend to have a 'day' job as users of enterprise applications. As someone that spends a lot of time working with clients designing, developing and implementing information delivery solutions behind the enterprise firewall- i am a believer that content distribution tools are being shaped by the consumer web and by watching what is happening in the 'Web 2.0' world i can only hope to stay one step ahead of the users with the solutions we deliver.
We have been talking about users creating their own content for a while time (blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc.) and i love how the conversation is now shaping around 'user-generated' applications. Back in August i asked the question 'who will be creating the enterprise applications of the future'.
Dion Hinchcliff has a recent post about Enterprise Mashups Being Ready for the Enterprise in which he goes into the topic of user generated applications in detail. The power of allowing subject matter experts who know little to nothing about programing to create applications to meet a business need is certainly very interesting to me and some forward looking enterprises that i work with are delivering content frameworks based on web service architectures that are flexible enough to quickly take advantage of these new technologies.
In his post, Hinchcliff points to the fact that enterprise users have had development tools they could use and understand, particularly the "ubiquitous corporate spreadsheet" for a long time. Now if "If we could only provide mashup tools as easy to use as the spreadsheet with automatic enterprise development best practices, along with access to all the services and content in the enterprise and on the Web, users might indeed use them to solve their business problems and not have to ask IT departments to deliver these solutions using older, (much) more expensive methods."
Updated: Sunday January 28th - The New York Times Technology section today covers this topic with "Awaiting the Day When Everyone Writes Software" called intential programming, discussion with Charles Simonyi former chief architect at Microsoft responsible for Word and Excel.