It's funny how the greatest things in the world all have one thing in common — their greatest strength begets their weakness. It's a pattern that repeats itself everywhere.

The United States' great strength is personal freedom, but that's also its greatest weakness in the age of terrorism.

Microsoft's great strength was creating great software for computers, but that thinking kept the company from innovations in the Web and mobile devices.

Google's strength in search helped to revolutionize the information age, but is now being threatened because the very algorithms it uses to determine search relevance are being gamed by content farms and people/consultants doing search engine optimization.

Twitter's strength is in simplicity, but that's also its weakness. Facebook is a comprehensive social graph, but I'd contend the reality of that will begin to get scary for a lot of users in 2011 and beyond.

And now we have Quora, which is the latest social media darling. It was built on several social platform weaknesses: the simplicity & 140 character limit of Twitter and the inability to effectively interact with people who have similar interests on Facebook.

It is way too early to know whether or not Quora will become mainstream — or what its weaknesses are. But it does underscore the weakness of the Web 2.0 era, namely that most major players find a business process catch that encourages virality. It can work for a leader as much as it can work against it and allow competition to emerge overnight that can slay the beast.

Social successes are business process innovations — it's the strength and weakness of this era.