The second gold rush

For the past year or two, I had been thinking that perhaps I had missed the great gold rush of our time -- that the great opportunities of the next few generations had been captured by those around the Valley circa 2001 and the dot com bubble. Companies such as LinkedIn, Paypal and Google had seemed to have cornered the vast majority of the Internet landscape.

At TechWeek a few weeks ago, a subtle underlying theme seemed to be an expectation that another disruption was coming - that a second gold rush is coming. Some of the giants that emerged from the first gold rush - such as Monster.com and Craigslist - are looking and feeling 'old'. Their offerings have changed little in a decade, and the markets they've captured may be soon unlocked.

An example of a possible displacer is Zaarly, which is attacking Craigslist's market. The site uses maps to change how classified ads could work. Suddenly it is easier for buyers to understand how far they need to travel to purchase an item.

If there is a second gold rush coming, where else might we see disrupters?