It’s the data, stupid

Business 2.0 magazine has a feature on new occupations being created in the US.

My favourite one (apart from the Second Life lawyer) is the Information Engineer. As Web 2.0 companies like PaypalMeebo and Slide find themselves increasingly awash with data they need people with the skills to be able to draw insights and conclusions from it (as opposed to people who just run reports).

What makes this particularly interesting is that data crunching has now been elevated, by the use of the word “engineer”, to the same level as the software engineers who write the actual code.

These companies are starting to see that the value is in the information, not just in the technology. Over time, the value of software itself trends toward zero, whereas the potential value of the information transmitted and stored by the software increases exponentially.

End users have always known this. People use MySpace or Facebook, not because they have the best technology, but because of who is already on it. eBay auctions are so successful because that is where buyers go to look for bargains, not because their auction software is the best.

In other words, here is another example that Web 2.0 is all about technologists catching up with what the users wanted Web 1.0 to be in the first place.

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