Being surrounded by start-ups is invigorating, inspiring. But the amount of imitation masquerading as innovation is sometimes overbearing. A fantastic exception: I just invented “Flitter,” where you can flit 165-character updates to a collectivity you’ll never meet -- writing on the virtual alley wall! Are we reaching the Web 2.0 bubble? A lot of companies are demoing minor variants on the major themes: social networks, microblogging, widgets, virtual worlds, etc. A lot of money is being poured into projects that probably do not meet the needs of users who are already settled on their favorite apps. Sometimes it seems a solipsistic Valley dialogue. Certain novelties will wear off, become yesterday’s frivoloties. There will be a core group of popular apps; the rest will, ironically, contribute to all that internet noise all these semantic folks are claiming to quiet.

The popularity contest that is the Valley influencer scene leads to the same stultifying silliness of any oversaturated trend. Remember when you started your Geocities site and filled it with nothing but cool links and Zappa quotes? At sometime during internet 1.0 that lost its novelty and became random nothingness. Innovation is more than a new tag cloud or yet another Friendster with yet another Joycean name.

People like Delicious. Digg is cool. Taking their model and overlaying it on anything possible is not cool. It’s wasting everyone’s time, like the “Epic Movie” series.

A lot of this stuff is cool to play with for five minutes and then quickly forget.

I never went to business school, but sometimes I wonder about some of these CEOs and founders who pour so much into programs that are really just the same thing but with a different, even goofier name. It’s just some funding game, right? I’m from the humanities: school me on business models. Is neologism the key to monetization?

By Mark Alvarez