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Sarah Lacy

The Stories of Facebook, Youtube and Myspace

Following the dot com crash you might think that people would be reluctant to invest their time and money into new internet ventures. But in The Stories of Facebook, Youtube and Myspace: The People, the Hype and the Deals Behind the Giants of Web 2.0 Sarah Lacy tells a different story, of how a new generation of successful internet enterpreneur has arisen.

It's being done a bit differently to the Web 1.0 days though. Basing the sites on open source software minimises the start up costs, and the new breed of social networking sites can generate their own publicity. Hence the owners have a different attitude to venture capital - they are in the driving seat. Some, such as Max Levchin, use money from successful Web 1.0 ventures (PayPal) to invest in new projects (Slide). Others, such as Jay Adelson, fared less well from Web 1.0 but find the experience useful in new ventures (Digg). Then there are new faces such as Kevin Rose (Digg) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook). Note that despite the title there isn't so much about YouTube and MySpace.

The book is more about the people than the sites, so don't expect any analysis of what makes a successful Web 2.0 site. Lacy also makes it sound a bit too easy to create a billion dollar web business, as if success was inevitable for the people she describes. Butthe book does give a fascinating inside view of what it happening in Silicon Valley, and is a highly entertaining read.