There’s an interesting post on TechCrunch on Jobster and the amount of investment it’s recently received ($18 million if you’re wondering, with a total of almost $50 million), which raises some really interesting questions about Web 2.0, Bubble 2.0, the UK and whether bootstrapping really is the way to go.
Ok, so we’re in this Web 2.0 thing, with all sorts of buzzwords doing the rounds, and with apparently every man and his dog either raising money for venture funds, or every man and his dog launching social software of sorts. So we’re seeing a lot of focus on tagging, conversations, aggregation, and then reading it all via RSS.
And then we see a site come along trying to add all of the above to job searching, and then go and raise an obscene amount of money in the process. This has got Bubble written all over it – how do you make a return on investment of that magnitude over any length of time?
More to the point, are the Web 2.0 memes really going to make that much difference in the job search space? To get really big you need to be really useful to a lot of people, but how do you achieve that when you’re relying on users to post the right kind of useful information about their companies, and about themselves?
According to the TechCrunch article, the Jobster CEO Jason Goldberg is positioning Jobster as a “MySpace in the workplace” – getting into blogs and conversing with friends over a specific topic of interest is one thing, but doing the same about your workplace? Who cares what my desk looks like? But more importantly, how will that help me to find a better job, or attract the right kind of people to my business?
The good part about all of this is that we’re able to take a front row seat and watch the fireworks. Certainly the internet is big enough for a few contenders, so in my humble opinion watching and learning in the short term is a safer bet than reacting immediately and getting caught with your pants down.
Which brings me to bootstrapping. I still believe and advocate the idea that capital is good to grow, but not good when you’re still trying to prove your viability. Every other industry has to do the same thing, so why should the internet be different? What do you do with that $50 million in the bank?
And then to the UK – I’m still amazed at how little movement there seems to be in the local UK web scene. There don’t seem to be many investors around willing to bet on a Web 2.0 startup, which in turn is forcing a bootstrapping attitude within the people that are doing things. This is good, and ultimately should result in stable, sustainablebusinesses that offer real value to users and shareholders.
Roll on the next 18 months...