I think that one of the reasons, the .COM-boom didn’t work out was the lack of competition, or rather eco-systems.
When Google got some real traction and started utilizing the power of the Internet to it’s advantage, they also opened up for an enormous eco-system around them.
A lot of services could not find it’s customers online before Google, and a lot of revenue could not be realized even though the buyers and sellers were all in-place, with all their payment systems and what-ever else needed. Google connected the missing link, and created a lot new opportunities for to connect in a large eco-system.
I think this serves as a good example of how a lonely place is not a good place for business. Now that I am setting up BootstrapLabs in Silicon Valley, some people (outside of the Entrepreneurial sphere) ask me, isn’t the competition fierce there? Why not go to the emering markets, such as Asia? Well it’s about criticial mass and eco-systems.
Being all alone, with-out competition, partners, or being the first one in a market is not only less fun, it’s extremely hard, capital intensive, and is the opposite of capitalism actually – capitalism drives everyone to be better and specialize, something that is only possible when you can be part of an eco-system (where others specialize in the things you don’t).
Internet is free and open and business is very much a social thing, it’s about interactions between people, and Google bridged a gap to help people connect with other people, information, knowledge and services on the Internet. Google actually made the Internet a less lonely place.
From the social internet that is emerging right now, I think new business eco-systems are also emerging, they are all in their infancy still, but it is happening. And they are really starting to change not only the Internet, and business online, but the very foundation of our societies.