Web 2.0 and Lending Club
This week saw the fourth edition of Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. What is Web 2.0 and why should you care about it? The answer will depend to a certain extent on where you live, where you work, and whether or not you have teenagers and young adults in your midst.
Wikipedia, itself a quintessential Web 2.0 organization, defines it as “a perceived second generation of web-based communities and hosted services — such as social-networking sites, wikis and folksonomies — which aim to facilitate collaboration and sharing between users.” Wikipedia further characterizes Web 2.0 as the utilization of blogs, social bookmarking, podcasts, RSS feeds, social software, web application programming interfaces (APIs), and online web services to improve upon the more static, plain vanilla websites. Not to worry, though – if these terms are foreign to you (other than the notion of a blog, of course), you’re in luck – Wikipedia has great definitions of them all. The simple notion of “Three C’s of the Internet” (Content, Commerce and Community) is so last century.
Some of these concepts have arguably been around for years, but many of them are undergoing a reboot into new and exciting directions. In the past, around the age of “sneaker-net,” many of you used shared network drives and, later, intranets, to distribute and organize information. We at Lending Club rely heavily on our wiki and Google Docs to track and collaborate on projects, and we use Skype to chat among ourselves. Our executives are not only quoted in print but are also featured in podcasts.
Beyond that, Web 2.0 is also shaping business models, including that of Lending Club. In a recent Forbes article , our CEO recalls how Lending Club launched as a widget on Facebook. Like other Web 2.0 companies, most of Lending Club’s “content” (loan listings) is user-generated. And LendingMatch™, the matching engine on Lending Club, works a bit like Amazon’s book recommendation service to point lenders to the best loans matching their interests and preferences. In fact, our CTO Joaquin Delgado is a guest speaker at Recommender System 2007 in Minneapolis this weekend.
But you can also think of Web 2.0 as a mindset or lifestyle of sorts, particularly if you live in high-tech and startup centers such as the Bay Area, the Baltimore-Washington technology corridor, and Austin, Texas. These techie gadgets will permeate almost every aspect of life if you let them. When we celebrated Lending Club’s public launch, pictures of our sailing trip were posted on community photo-sharing sites within a few hours. We updated our friends on Facebook, and we wrote about our adventure here on this blog post to include you, our loyal readers, in the fun.
It’s never too late to get started, but beware: Web 3.0 is coming.
Saturday, October 20th, 2007 at 9:05 am