We live in a world were paradigms are constantly changing, I still remember when I was 5 and my parents moved from Germany to a farm in northern British Columbia 30km away from the nearest town of 500 people. We had no running water and electricy and it was -40 for much of the winter. We would do things like collect the freshly fallen snow to melt for water. Going to kindergarten and not speaking a word of English, and no one speaking a word of german was another paradigm shift. Its going through different paradigms like this that allow you to build the ability adapt and to think outside of the box and give you drive and determination to succeed. I find that many people who are successful are those that can adapt to new paradigms the quickest, or they are the ones who realize there is a new on coming.
When it comes to sites like myspace, it isn’t really a new paradigm, its just a better version of geocities. I still remember the excitement of adding my first bit of HTML and midi to my geocities page and creating a page that looked even worse then many myspace profiles. The fact that myspace forces you to make a lot of pageviews to surf anywhere is part of the reason for success. As a kid its like finding a whole new world to explore and learn. Every time you login you have a new profile to find, with cool HTML to rip off etc. The downfall of myspace will be the fact that 13-19 year olds are all on the site learning and exploring it at the same time. There will come a point were people have found all the HTML they want, or all the cool new things to add to your profile and when those 13 year olds become 15 they won’t think myspace is cool anymore. But at the same time, things like pimp my profile, and friend trains are keeping the whole thing going by adding new dimensions to msypace. But there is a point where users will switch from endlessly surfing to find cool stuff to surfing for information that is useful and relevant to them, ie surf like an adult.
The problem now is that the some of the tech industry is moving into the web hippie/free love/ web 2.0 paradigm where things like Ajax rule. Ajax dramatically reduces the number of pageviews needed to do anything, and at the same time reduces the amount of money you can generate from advertising by a similar amount. Now when trying to compete against myspace creating something like tagged is just plain stupid. First you kill your pageviews so you can’t generate revenues and then you take away the very thing that kids want, which is to aimlessly surf for cool stuff. When kids surf for cool stuff its like playing a slot machine, at some random time they are going to get a reward and they never know how big it is.
To tie it all together, if you are starting a company you need people who can understand or have been through multipul paradigms. The more your CEO can think outside of the box the more successful the company will be, if you are designing something for users in another paradigm.