With the first round completed, half our competitors are left out of the tournament. In the next round we will begin to expose situations where matchups make even less sense than they used to. So it goes. Let’s see where this takes us? Our sweet sixteen awaits….
(1) Google vs (9) Wikipedia
While I don’t think Google can beat Wikipedia at their own game (see: knol), and it’s possible the idea of wikis is more powerful than the idea of Google, I don’t think Google loses to Wikipedia in this round. Between YouTube, Picasa, Google Mail, Google Reader, etc., Google just dominates the web, whether social or not.
(2) Facebook vs (10) Wordpress
Facebook is growing and creating a huge gap between itself and its competitors. Facebook is powerful but at its core it’s “just” a blogging platform and isn’t redefining the platform. The favorite wins.
(3) Digg vs (6) LinkedIn
What’s more social? A news aggregator which is dominated by a handful of users (20 individuals submit 25% of the site’s front page content, supposedly), or a “social media” site which most people just use as an online address book and business card exchange? I’m going to give LinkedIn an upset win here to reflect how important business connections are, and how much credibility LinkedIn gives to the social web in the enterprise world.
(4) Twitter vs (5) Yahoo!
This is the most interesting matchup of the division. Twitter is supposedly the third largest social media network, is a market driver in changing the face of social media, and has a massive influence for its small employee base (less than 40!). Yahoo! is a behemoth with 15,000 employees and such high-profile social web players as delicious, flickr, MyBlogLog, and Pipes. Do I give the win to the giant, or the giant-killer? In the spirit of “2.0” I say let’s give Twitter a win.
(2) Amazon vs (7) eBay
One might think that a site designed to enable customer-to-customer interaction would win out over a business-to-customer site. But Amazon has changed the way customers relate to businesses and to each other; checking amazon reviews is a standard part of many people’s buying process, even if they aren’t buying from Amazon. Amazon wins for revolutionizing the online shopping industry.
(3) Mozilla vs (6) FriendFeed
FriendFeed is going to take the win here. As much as Firefox has changed the browsing world, FriendFeed is trying to change the information-sharing world, and is doing it in a way that taps the social networks we’re building.
(4) Zappos vs (5) Netflix
The top seed wins again here; Zappos has a business model which should be making Amazon nervous. Netflix has a solid position in the market and is social in doing it, but Zappos is trying to change the business model in ways Amazon isn’t doing.
(15) Justine Ezarik vs (10) Bruce Schneier
An unfortunate matchup for Schneier – he’s a major influencer in one small space, whereas Justine is a minor influencer in a lot of spaces. I think Justine would have lost to just about everyone else in the bracket, but Schneier goes down fighting this time.
(4) Jeremiah Owyang vs (12) Michael Arrington
Owyang is influencing every company and every professional who is trying to get into the Social Web. Arrington is influential but for different reasons. I personally feel a bias for content creators as opposed to content aggregators, so I’m going to give Owyang a pass this round, even though I think Arrington has the ability to make and break small companies.
(1) President Barack Obama vs (9) Stephen Fry
Ah, the old rivalry between the Americans and the British. Paul Revere, where are you now? Sorry Stephen but if you look at what Obama’s administration is doing these days with the .GOV sites, you have to give him a victory.
(15) MC Hammer vs (7) Dooce
One is an “ex”-celebrity who found new relevance in the web. The other became a celebrity because of the web. I’m giving Dooce the win here; if Hammer hadn’t found the web nothing would be fundamentally different for most of us (though obviously it would be for him) whereas Dooce helped create a whole generation of family bloggers.
(14) Jimmy Fallon vs (6) Al Gore
Is it fair to compare a late night comedy host to a former vice-president? In this tournament, sure. I’ll let my personal bias sneak in again, here, and give the edge to the guy trying to save the planet.
(13) Trent Reznor vs (5) Lance Armstrong
Ah, yes, the eternal battle of bike star versus rock star. Nine Inch Nails versus yellow wristbands. Sorry Trent, but Lance gets the nod here. Come back when you’ve beat cancer and are at the top of your industry and still have time to be entertaining and moving on twitter.
So, there we have it, our sweet sixteen!
- Division 1
- (1) Google
- (2) Facebook
- (6) LinkedIn
- (4) Twitter
- Division 2
- (1) Apple
- (2) Amazon
- (6) Friendfeed
- (4) Zappos
- Division 3
- (1) Robert Scoble
- (15) Justine Ezarik
- (3) Tim O’Reilly
- (4) Jeremiah Owyang
- Division 4
- (1) President Barack Obama
- (7) Dooce
- (6) Al Gore
- (5) Lance Armstrong