Home Mary Meeker at Web 2.0 Summit: There is Hope

Mary Meeker at Web 2.0 Summit: There is Hope

One of our favorite parts of the annual Web 2.0 Summit is Mary Meeker’s rapid fire data deluge about the Internet economy. You can view her PDF slides here. She started off by discussing the recession, which she said was “a long time coming” – but wondered “how long will it last?”. Meeker noted that advertising and technology spending is closely tied to GDP growth. From 2000 to 2002, USA spending fell 27%. Unfortunately, Meeker thinks that the current pattern looks a bit like early 2001. In 2000-2003 tech spending was flat or negative, however Meeker’s presentation included some rays of hope for entrepreneurs.

In the Internet market, Meeker pointed to “undermonetized” social networks, video and VoIP companies – which she said are “driving powerful usage growth” among consumers. Specifically, Facebook and Youtube gained a lot, although Yahoo! and MSN have fallen. Skype and Paypal were also noted as growing.

In the Mobile space, we’ve seen innovation in wireless products and services. Meeker noted that this is accelerating. She said that Opera’s Mobile Web browser illustrates Mobile Internet growth: data points were ~17MM Users (+357% Y/Y), 4.1B Page Views (+337% Y/Y), 8/08. She pointed out that Symbian dominates the smartphone industry, yet it is losing market share to the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Linux – leading her to conclude that the USA could gain the lead in Mobile Internet innovation.

In summary, mobile web – which Meeker has been bullish on in every Web 2.0 conference speech we can remember – is now “evolving very quickly”.

Finally, in a very rapid fire presentation, Meeker said that emerging markets are “pacing the next wave of technology adoption”. Countries she listed included China, Brazil, Pakistan, Columbia, India, Iran, Russia. Mobile is driving a lot of this.

Meeker’s closing thoughts were that “companies with cogent business models that provide consumer value should survive / thrive”. In other words, startups and big companies alike need to provide more value to consumers – a pointed remark perhaps in light of the many web 2.0 startups that have thrived over the past few years without a business model. However Meeker also noted in her last slide that: “History Proves That Ads Follow Eyeballs, It Just Takes Time”. So there is hope!

This post merely scratches the surface of Meeker’s presentation – see the PDF slides here for the full picture.

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