Bootstrapping Web 2.0

David Hornick continues the discussion about the problem facing Web 2.0 start-ups – a business model built around “buy me”. I’ve wrote about similar sentiments in the past. He opines,

there are a large number of “companies” being created again for the express purpose of being acquired. I certainly have seen it. I have met with companies that clearly state their intention to be acquired by Yahoo or Google…

Like David, I’ve worked with and / or spoke with several companies who have been “built to flip” but this time via one of the funding options that Anil Dash refers to in his post The Flip 2K5 – bootstrapping.

I’m not an advocate of “built to flip” but I do think funding a start-up via bootstrapping drastically alters the mindset of a Web 2.0 ‘company’. It makes them more cautious and more apt to test the viability and the usefulness of their idea outside the confines of the geek community.

While I was not thrilled with PC Magazine’s recent review of the tagging space, I think it speaks to the difference in perception between what the technical community and early adopters think is “neat” and “exciting” versus what an average user could easily understand and find useful.

Web 2.0 companies need more than the techies to be excited about their product or service. They need more than the people at the TechCrunch BBQs. Flickr and Skype hit their homeruns because they had mass market appeal and presented innovative approaches in their respective spaces – they solved problems. Hopefully, those who bootstrap their start-ups with the “buy me” mindset will at the very least focus their efforts on refining their value propositions or in creating services that actually have one.