I hosted the M&A team from a major Internet company for two days in Seattle, taking them to 11 meetings in two days.  The focus was Web 2.0.  Every meeting prompted a new perspective on the Internet company’s business, and offered potential partnership opportunities.  It was a healthy reminder that I should spend less time in the hinterlands (Brno. . . Rotterdam. . .Minneapolis. . .Madrid) and more time close to home.

Other lessons:

1) Barriers between company/technology are non-existent.  Web 2.0 is a popularity contest and the consumer vote counts.  Technology in a vacuum has no value.  Companies that put themselves out in traffic and attract end users have tremendous value. 

2) Reinvention is okay.  Maybe the first idea that launched the company is flawed.  Learn, sweep up the assets, repurpose them to something else.  The best idea should win – not the idea backed by the biggest ego.

3) Niches matter.  This is true in the enterprise, where we love to find micro-verticals too small to be targeted by the likes of SAP and Oracle, and it is also true on the consumer web, where the big horizontal positions have already been staked out.

4) Traditional ideas of good software design are equally applicable to web applications.  Excellence in UI design is perhaps the highest value skill set in the current market.