ning – Stay N Alive

Live Blogging the Web 2.0 Expo: Mark Andreeson #web20expo

Picture 8.pngMark Andreesen, creator of Mosaic and founder of, spoke to us in an interview today at the Web 2.0 Expo, and shared with us some of his thoughts on the growing up of the web, and what he thinks of the future. As I mentioned earlier, one interesting thing he mentioned was plans for Facebook Platform Integration, something I am very excited for. Here are the highlights.

What were your expectations when you released Mosaic?: “Hype at the time was interactive TV. Mosaic and internet technologies were kind of the renegade of the time – no one believed it could make money.”

At what point did you think this was going to change the game?: “It wasn’t until after Netscape was started that Mark started thinking it was going to be a phenomenon.”

Many of the TV and media companies mentioned are now extremely important players in this space. What do you make of those guys now?: “By and large most of the major media companies are still unprepared for the shift. Many of the newspaper companies are in an absolute free-fall. There is still a story that has yet to be written. These companies are uneasy about a commodotized future. That said, things are still developing and are still unknown.”

In 1995 Microsoft realized what you were doing was competitive and decided to launch Internet Explorer for Free – what is your thought of that?: “Well, in fact they used my code. If you go into the credits you’ll see the name of Mosaic from University of Illinois in there.”

Looking at the legacy of the browser, what is it you like and what do you wish evolved differently?: “It has turned out far better than anyone ever thought. The big surprise has been how many of the ideas that we had that we thought were experiments have lasted. One example being javascript – we created something that looked like Java because it was familiar to people at the time. Another example was cookies – we were writing an E-Commerce site for MCI, and needed a way to do it, so created the “cookie thing”. People are now seeing that as a threat to privacy, and I find that amusing. The other expiriment was the back and forward buttons – we were looking for a better way to navigate the internet, and it’s interesting to see that that method has stuck around.”

You said, “It’s nice to have this kind of money for the ‘coming of the nuclear winter'”. Can you tell me how to “build our bunkers”?: “There’s a huge irony for the industry where after the crash of the stock market in 2001 all the money got put into Real Estate, and now that’s crashing. On one hand all of this is happening in a remote area and doesn’t have a lot to do with us, but on the other hand, it all comes back around, and effects us in the end.”

What are the advertising models that might work?: “Your company has a strong advertising model to it – Ning is a social network play, but different – why is it not Facebook?: Ning is a company for people to create their own social networks. On average those networks are growing very quickly. Adding 1500 networks a day, and people are discovering that social networking is a central part of their lives.”

How do you feel about the idea of Data Portability?: “In general, pro. You can import data in and out of Ning as you want. There is not a lot of consumer demand for that type of thing however. The majority of supporters of Data Portability are early adopters.”

Google has laid out OpenSocial and you have ascribed to it. What does that matter to the users of Ning?: “It matters by default. Facebook did an amazing thing with rolling out the idea of a Social Networking Platform that users can take applications and apply them to their profiles, a powerful idea. The Facebook platform was specific to Facebook though, so a standard was needed which we joined.”

“Facebook is starting to get more open about the Platform – directionally that is the trend. I think a lot of people like us will be implementing both OpenSocial and Facebook.”

Ning Creator, Mark Andreesen, Announces Plans for Facebook Platform Integration

Picture 8.pngI’m sitting here at Web 2.0 Expo and watching the Mark Andreesen Keynote. One interesting thing he mentioned was that Ning (and others) has plans to launch onto both OpenSocial and Facebook platforms. This is the first I have been aware of plans outside of Bebo to utilize the Facebook Platform, and I believe a wise decision. The Facebook Platform is indeed one of the most popular and most used platforms out there, and therefore worth looking into as a Social Network looking for a standard to adopt. The question is, is Ning in talks with Facebook on this, and how far along are they in organizing this? Is this pure speculation? I am very much looking forward to Ning, and other Social Networks adopting the Facebook Platform as a standard. I’ll be posting the notes from the keynote next.