If you’re late on the bandwagon for Web 2.0 – and it seems that you’re not alone – and you plan on running your business online into the future, now is the time to crack down and fully understand the pulse of the internet.

Don’t worry if you are late to listen to the message. It seems hundreds of internet marketing trainers are just jumping in now as well – a full year since I published Stampede 2.0. And sadly, one of my favorite marketing authors is still taking the stance that Web 2.0 doesn’t exist. I do hope he’ll come around soon before his business slips into red.

If you don’t believe me (and the words I’ve been writing to you since last January), then who would you believe?

Would you listen to Bill Gates?

After all, so much of how we run our businesses, so much of what we’ve accomplished online for the last 10 years can be attributed back to Bill. There’s absolutely no denying today that the web is big, is here, is integrated into our lives – just as Bill predicted.

  • comScore reported that $22 billion has been spent online during the first 44 days of the Holiday season (November 1-December 14)
  • Online spending for the year (2007) is project to be over $200 billion. An increase of 20%+- every year, for the last 4 years.

Not just commerce and business. The net also has a hold on our youth.

  • Future Laboratory reports that 18-24 year-olds would rather spend 15 minutes visiting social networking sites than watching the idiot box, or playing video games, or talking on their cells.

So back to big Bill.

If you’d seen the future as he saw it 12 years ago you’d be a rich man or woman today.

Perhaps as rich as Bill himself.

Who, by the way, is only months away from retirement.

Follow a leader. Heed a visionary’s words and advice.

In Bill’s January speech he shared his vision for the future, stating that advances in connectivity, high-definition video and audio will be the top driving forces for the next 10 years.

What does that mean to you if you’re not a tech company? What does that mean to a company with an online presence?

This. Give your user what they’ve come to expect from so many other online properties. No, you don’t have to be the next FaceBook to succeed, but you do need to incorporate Web 2.0 principles and strategies into your marketing.