Will Wikis Rule the World?

I was recently asked by a VC friend of mine what I thought of a certain Wiki product. I thought my response to him (with specific product and people references removed) might be interesting. He asked me, "Have you kept track of what's going on in Wiki-land, and what do you think?"

Here's my answer:

Yes, I have very much kept track of the wiki stuff. After doing eRoom, which is still among the best collab systems out there in my (humble) opinion, I very much believe that there's a whole next generation of collaboration that is needed. I say this because eRoom and others fall really short when it comes to get mass adoption. Wiki's might point in that direction.

That said, I think Wikis today are abominable. They have a few breakthrough ideas, certainly, but other than that they are IMHO very hard to use and will in their current form be adopted by few. Also in my opinion, in terms of enterprise adoption, they will suffer the same challenges that eRoom and all the others do: customers don't really experience enough pain collaborating as they do today over email and IM. They are and will continue to be hard pressed to spend real money on solving the 'collaboration' problem.

The more likely strategy, still, is one of verticalization: understanding specific use scenarios, building specialized flavors of collaboration stuff, and marrying this with the right marketing strategy and sales approach.
Posted on July 23, 2004 and filed under Technology.