Web 2.0 Summit – Highlights

Eric Schmidt

Denied earlier rumors that funds were distributed to studios that have them “look the other way” while Google/YouTube put a licensing scheme in place.

Would like to support the exporting of user’s search history out of Google. This is the “ultimate pressure valve” to keeping them honest.

Positioned online (and free) word processing and spreadsheet products for “casual sharing” and not something for enterprise rollout. During this I was thinking of the product manager from the Search Appliance team who said that someone who uses Google at home is most likely to want to use Google at work. Hard to imagine this isn’t on their mind as they roll out Google Docs & Spreadsheets.

Reminded us that 20 years ago we were a “disk-centric” culture. Most data was stored on your disks which you carried around with you everywhere. We are now in transition to a “network-centric” culture but the fact that we still fret about an offline instance of an application shows that we’re not quite there yet.

Joi Ito

Quick demo of World of Warcraft which was an eye-opener for most people in the crowd. I’ve read about how he has configured his world so he’s never too far removed from his guild and is alerted whenever there’s in world activity that requires his attention. Joi’s comment is that the concept of “going online” is fading away. There is no such thing as a virtual and non-virtual world when you have sms alerts, flickr streams, and IM messages piercing your offline world. For Joi, we have already reached convergence.

Ben Trott

Quick demo of Vox, a beautiful new blogging platform from Six Apart. Ben did a great job running through the thinking behind the product and what makes it different from other blogging platforms. At it’s core, Vox takes advantage of stores of Open Data to pull in content from other services such as Flickr and YouTube to make them “first class assets” on Vox which can be uniquely manipulated and permissioned once they are on Vox. In the meantime, everyone around me was looking at the blog import tabs (can’t find them on Vox today, must be a for a future release?) for Blogger, MySpace, Facebook, and LiveJournal and hearing a big sucking sound. Anil Dash later assured me that Vox content is fully exportable as well so the door will go both ways.

Barry Diller

The concept of a #1 & #2 dominating the marketplace doesn’t hold true in the media business. You can’t run a media property like GE and exit any business where you are not dominating. Markets have historically supported multiple points of view with the leadership positions changing regularly. He’s in it for the longrun. In answer to an entrepreneur’s question of how best to build equity value in his startup, Barry answered, “Equity is built by hanging on [to control].”

Jack Ma

User-Generated Content is vital to success. He asks that each product at Alibaba have at least 80% user-generated content. Asked about eBay he said that while eBay China is “half-dead” eBay the company is far from dead “yet.” When asked when Alibaba will “invade” the United States, he laughed and said that he has no plans to “invade” only “to help.”

Jeff Bezos

The most intriguing talk for me. Jeff spoke about Amazon’s Web Services initiative:

  • Amazon S3 – on-demand storage, basic “get, put, delete” used by Linden Labs to meet demand for updates to Second Life software.
  • Amazon EC2 – elastic computing cloud, flexible pricing, same price for one server/month or 700 servers for one hour
  • Fulfillment by Amazon – ship products to Amazon and have your orders filled by the Amazon fulfillment infrastructure. The center essentially becomes a huge peripheral device.
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk – distributed labor force

Tie these together and you have a platform basically waiting for good ideas to empower it. Everyone I spoke with feel it’s important that we support Jeff’s experiment so that shareholders, worried about the short term bottom line, don’t shut down access to this valuable resource.

My idea? Use Mechanical Turk to write a book and get it sold on Amazon. By distributing authorship across thousands of participants, you already have a large, invested readership!

Bruce Chizen

Adobe is clearly a company to watch in 2007 with the rollout of Apollo, a fat client that will combine the best of online browsing with the formatting controls of Adobe Reader and Flash. Not only will the experience be richer than what HTML & CSS bring us today, it will also work offline and take full advantage of client local disk & processor power. Combine this with recent news that they are bundling in the Flash interpreter into Firefox and the Firefox/Apollo combination looks like a serious contender for the browser market. While Adobe may be in Microsoft’s crosshairs, Bruce is thankful he has Google as a “heat shield”

High Order Bits

Cyworld – $300k in daily digital sales. Participatory, rich media advertising marketplace is called “happy click”

Fox Interactive – 320k new profiles created on MySpace each day, that’s the population of Buffalo, NY.

Don Tapscott – the Chinese motorcycle industry is basically an open source manufacturing community. Parts manufacturers swarm together on projects that rip off Japanese motorcycle designs.

MSN & Ask on Google – both agree that Google is vulnerable at the edgees. As they grow to acquire new audiences, they will have to build services which will be outside the core of what they do and essentially compete with the simplicity of thier search page. The Google search page is essentially the “Model T Ford” of the internet. (you can have any color, so long as it’s white).

Jonathan Miller

Two things are going on at the same time. Web 2.0 startups are splitting audiences into smaller and smaller niche interests while the monetization players are consolidating into larger and larger networks. Jonathan said that the accidental release of 5 million search statements was an honest mistake by a researcher who made a “bad call.” I couldn’t help thinking that this poor guy had embraced the open collaboration of the academic world and thought it would apply to the broader internet wikipedia style. A valuable lesson for the rest of us. Rafat Ali asked an interesting question on the possibility of a major portal endorsing a presidential candidate (it wasn’t really answered).

Ray Ozzie

The concept of installing software off a CD, hitting setup.exe, is dead. Everything should install off the web. Ray sees unpaid users of pirated software as “prospects.”

Lou Reed

Some thought he was pissed at all the chatter in the back of the room but I think he was just being classic Brooklyn Lou Reed when he said, “You want me to turn it up? I can hurt you!” Highlight was seeing the Web 2.0 crowd dancing up a storm to “Gravity, Gravity, always pulling us down, pulling us down.” Bubble? What Bubble? Check out a video clip of the concert here. Thanks AOL for bringing some perspective to things!

Youth Panel

This year the panel was joined by their parents which some though may have restricted what the kids felt comfortable saying. On the contrary, it gave me the opportunity to see what tools the average Bay Area user uses and knows about

Yahoo – almost everyone uses Yahoo Mail and others use services such as Horoscopes, Photos, Games. One mother said that she occaisionaly uses Yahoo Search when she enters a search by mistake in her Yahoo toolbar. Mothers identify with Yahoo as a “trusted brand,” another said that for finding people or Local listings and reviews Yahoo was a better search engine.

Google – clearly the search engine of choice with some kids also saying that GMail has a coolness factor they like. One teenager said Google was “more like a friend.” Another mother said when she’s looking for something she “likes to use the Googles”

Microsoft – no one knew MSFT had a search engine. When asked what they like about Microsoft, one kid said, XBox.

AOL – the IM leader which is significant because most teenagers use IM as their primary method of one-to-one communication

MySpace – most teenagers average 2-3 hours/day on MySpace keeping it minimized throughout the day and refreshing to see if anything new has come in. One teenager said that logging into MySpace in the morning was like going downstairs and seeing what was under the Christmas tree.

2 Replies to “Web 2.0 Summit – Highlights”

Leave a comment