If you don’t work in the internet industry, you might be wondering what I’m talking about when I refer to “Web 2.0”. It’s a bit of a problematic term, as its definition is rather amorphous: ask a dozen different people in my industry what it means and you’ll likely get a dozen different answers. That being said, in those dozen answers, I’d be willing to bet that there would be one underlying commonality: that it’s more people-centric.
(For some good layperson-friendly articles about “Web 2.0”, I suggest checking out the cover story of this week’s Newsweek, Publish’s article on Web 2.0 and computer book uber-publisher Tim O’Reilly’s piece, What is Web 2.0?)
One of the side effects of Web 2.0 is the joke of adding “2.0” to all sorts of things. I myself have referred to married life as “Life 2.0” and at geek gatherings I’ve excused myself to use the bathroom, claiming “I have to go do number 2.0”. What can I say, sometimes I’m easily amused.
Over at Kathy Sierra’s blog, Creating Passionate Users, there’s an entry that talks about Manager 2.0, which talks about two different types of management — the “1.0” version and the “2.0” version. If it seems familiar to you, it should — as Kathy herself points out, Tom Peters has been talking about this for years, and I can direct you to something of the same vintage: Theory X and Theory Y.
My line of work — I’ve been doing the “developer relations” thing since 2000 — is one of those jobs that didn’t even exist in a formal sense when I was in high school (when $3000 got you a 64K Apple ][ system with 143K disk drives). It is often changing to meet the demands of an industry that was in its infancy ten years ago, in a larger field whose basic definitions — computable, computer — aren’t even 100 years old (they were defined formally in the 1930s). It requires a “flatter”, more participatory office structure than most of our parents were used to, and perhaps even our generation, depending on where one works. I tend to thrive in systems where I’m given the authority and autonomy to shine, which is why I’m rather fond of the company for whom I work — Tucows, the position I hold: Technical Community Development Coordinator and the “Manager 2.0” treatment I’m given.
What is “Manager 2.0”? Here’s a chart: