Internet as Place

Spotted via Kottke.org:

The World Wide Web really is a place, and it happens to be the peculiar place called the San Francisco Bay Area.

The whole of the Web is like this: appropriate to communities with no big shops, to folks with big houses, to long commutes, to small cities and a vibrant events culture within easy reach, but not quite so great for the rest of us. . . . .

The Web’s been coasting since 2001. It consists of that which started in SF and happened to adapt to the larger ecosystem, and that’s it. But since 2001, there are millions and millions more people online–and they’re pretty much uncatered for. They have no native services. . . . .

The automotive industry, the consumer electronics industry, the media producers and distributors, and more: they’re all looking at China and India, emerging markets of a billion or more people. For us internet folks, there’s a homeland China, the China inside, a mass market of a hundred million or so, come online in the past 4 years, and waiting for their own killer apps.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking they’re just the long tail. The mass market is as differentiated along as many axes as any other market, including our own geek market. And don’t think that we’ll know what they want without working with them.