One Man and His Blog: Web 2.0 Expo Archives

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October 26, 2008

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: Day Two Gallery

October 24, 2008

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: The Wednesday Keynotes

A quick write-up of my notes from the Wednesday keynotes at Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin. I've already covered Suw Charman-Anderson's keynote about e-mail on The Social Enterprise.

Saul Kline, Index Ventures

Saul Kiline gave us a quick, harsh dose of reality. "The weather looks pretty terrible," he suggested. "The Valley is downbeat."

Startups are "fighting an imaginary war, with a product but no money or customers".

Good companies can be started in hard times. Microsoft and Apple started in the 75/76 depression. Even now, the Dow Jones is four times higher than when Apple and Microsoft were started. Most of the great tech companies started in downturns.

However, there is a market out there. The time we spend online has changed radically in the last few years. Social sites have more minutes per visitor then the big three, even if the Microsoft/Yahoo/Google trio are slightly ahead in total numbers.

And there's help: there are lots of free resources to help startups

BUT we are facing a recession. Capital will not be backing people with good PowerPoints, but people who know what they are doing. Angels will retreat and there will be a focus on professional investing.

Key advice:

  • Don't panic
  • Bootstrap like crazy
  • Make products people want
  • Cut your costs.
  • Get to break even as soon as you can.
Continue reading Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: The Wednesday Keynotes.

October 23, 2008

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: Gender Issues

Apologies for the lack of blogging here today - it's all been going to The Social Enterprise.

But I'm switching back to here for the gender issues seminar. 

Steph talks
Stephanie Booth kicked off the session by getting the audience to think about situation in which they either had felt restricted by being a woman or, in the case of the men, had been glad that they weren't a woman because it would have been harder if they were. She also raised the issue of quotas.

Janet Parkinson
Janet Parkinson presented some really interesting facts and figures about the gender bias in consumption and production of online services, which she did without slides, so I have nothing to crib the figures from. I'll get them from her later, hopefully. The main gist was that there are areas - like e-commerce, social networking and (to some extent) gaming, where women are a majority or a significant minority, while the producers of those sites are almost exclusively male. It seems to make simple commercial sense that more women be involved. Otherwise you run the risk of following the "make it pink" school of marketing to women, which is just patronising. 

Lloyd, as the token male, raised a handful of ideas (as well as putting up pictures of what appears to be German testicle shampoo and a large gentleman in a small French Maid's outfit - which made me think of Janet's point about men marketing to women :) - to illustrate them)

Suw suggests that sometime the fact that some many of the most high profile bloggers are men means we get caught up in their linking patterns. Do we challenge our own networks for bias? Or to see if we're exposing ourselves to a range of opinions. 

Ian raised the issues of events which are male or female dominated, and how male-dominated events can become off-putting to women. (Lloyd raised the issue of the sometimes les-than-rigourous hygiene amongst male geeks). The gender division possibilities of Geek Girl Dinners came up, but Lloyd pointed out that these are more female-friendly than female only, as men can attend if invited by a woman. 

Other issues raised from the audience:
  • The stalker aspect of some social sites can be off-putting
  • Women not putting themselves forward for jobs even in environments that would seem to be female-orientated.

Continue reading Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: Gender Issues.

October 22, 2008

Tim O'Reilly on Andrew Keen

Too entertaining not to share:

Tim O'Reilly on Andrew Keen from Adam Tinworth on Vimeo.

Introducing The Social Enterprise

The Social Enterprise
For those of you who are following my Web 2.0 Expo posts, they're not all on this blog. Yesterday, I kicked off a new blog for one of our titles, Computer Weekly, which looks at the implications of using social software in modern enterprises - or Enterprise 2.0, as many call it.

Given that one of the big themes of the conference has been the need for Web 2.0 start-ups to look to enterprise for revenue, so expect plenty of other posts to follow...

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: Martin Varsavsky

Martin Varsavsky, a serial entrepreneur most recently with Fon, was challenged by Tim O'reilly to elaborate on a recent blog post when he criticised some of the doom and gloom coming out of silicon valley. His point, he reitereated, was not that people were wrong to declare doom, just that they are rather late to the party...

Martin Varsavsky"There are times when markets are prepared to give entrepreneurs ridiculous money and times when their refusals are ridiculous," he said.

"Right now we wouldn't get the capital to start Fon," he said. The company had needed investment to make the hardware that was part of the initial offering. "When we realised money wasn't going to be available any more, I started to make the cuts," he continued.

Other highlights:

  • There are distinct differences in national character which you need to take into account as you spread. The Germans use Fon to save money, the Japanese see it as an altruistic act.
  • It's essential to have a great team supporting him. He has an inability to do just one thing. 
  • Sometimes, though, he just burns out and takes two year vacations - particularly after downturns. I believe the phrase "lucky git" applies.  
  • The concept of a salesman is really bad in Europe, but we all need to be one. Product design is the other part. 
His cousin was killed by Argentine Government, his family got refugee status in the States. Moved to Europe for a year 13 years ago. He is very happy here now. Europe is more fair and less brutal to certain citizens, especially the ones who don't have medical care. Spain feels like a civilised version of Argentine.

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: Blogger Round Table with Tim O'Reilly

Downstairs in the Community lounge we're having a roundtable discussion with Tim O'Reilly and the organising team.

Tim O'Reilly & Jennifer Pahlka
Is Web 2.0 dead? 

"Everyone took it to be a version number. It wasn't," says O'Reilly

People said the web was dead in the dotcom bust. 2.0 was to indicate that it was. It's the shift to the network as the platform. It's getting bigger. It's penetrating more of our lives. It's moving from PCs to mobile devices. 

O'Reilly looks at what the alpha geeks are doing - like playing with sensors in devices like the iPhone - and finds a foretaste of what's to come in them. Are phones going to drive social networks? What do location services mean for us? Mobile applications are going to blow us away.

Enterprise 2.0

Jennifer Pahlka: "Two thirds of attendees are from companies of 500 employees or more. It's not just about startups." No, it's about the fertile mixing of the two. How can these things be used in the real world. 

Tim O'Reilly: "Lessons from Web 2.0 are going to become more important for Enterprise 2.0 in the lean times. How can we leverage the wisdom of crowds to remake old businesses."

Online to Offline

Lloyd Davis asked about how Web 2.0 will help people with their offline relationships.

Brady Forrest pointed to aka'aki from yesterday's Startup Ignite. As privacy controls grow, you can more usefully meet and make connections. O'Reilly pointed out that it's not just about people you know - and gave the examples of crowd-sourcing his daughter's holiday destination, or arranging a Tweetup in a strange city. 

Continue reading Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: Blogger Round Table with Tim O'Reilly.

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: Better Social Media Plumbing

Stowe BoydBoyd's thesis was this: blogs are an unequal power environment. The blogger has control. Commenters can leave comments, but usually can't edit them or remove them. The blogger more often gains reputation from the comment than the blogger does. The rise of Disqus and CoComment have been a response to that.

In parallel, the rise of RSS means that fewer regular readers actually visit your blog, divorcing them from the commenting experience. The ability to recommend and share content through readers creates a further community of readers who are even more detached from the actual comments.

It's all about the collective action of a group of people who annotate and rate:
  • Digg: human recommendation
  • Techmeme: algorithmic analysis for linking behaviour of A-list bloggers.
Comments in these sites do not find their way back to the blogs. And the comments on blogs are all but invisible.

Now, "flow" apps, like Twitter or the Facebook status is a much more egalitarian environment. Boyd suggests that once you get used to these flow apps, it gets harder and harder to go back to blogs. Purely doing blogs/comments seems antiquated once you're used to the flow...

If the community all move to a flow service, you don't lose your friendships.

A second wave of defection. The first was the move from mainstream media to social media. The second wave takes us from blogs to the flow. We leave behind the feudal hierarchy of blog publishers into an environment where a blog post is just one more bit of content in the flow.

Continue reading Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: Better Social Media Plumbing.

October 21, 2008

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: Day One gallery

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: Day One Montage

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: Startup Ignite

Rapid pitches from a variety of start-ups. Equaly rapid notes follow:


  • Dominik MatykaProposition: there's too much information to handle
  • Provides user personalisation and recommendation engine.
  • Works on news to retail sites.
  • It works cross-domain - content from the long-tail. OpenId to sign in.
  • Plugin - doesn't need publisher co-operation (but they would like it). 
  • Always find your doppelganger - or someone different.
  • Essentially it stalks your web travels, and suggests other places based on similar users.

  • Dania GerhardtSocial network / community tools 
  • Social action projects in first phase
  • Getting idea out (magazine tools)
  • Network (collab tools) 
  • Fundraising opps and voluntary support 
  • Amazee camp (/camp) - join 150 get free pro, online help desk. Not back office person, CEO doing it! Professor Project Pete weekly updates.
  • Bucket - money!
  • Cute vid:

Startup Ignite from Amazee on Vimeo.

Continue reading Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: Startup Ignite.

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: Yossi Vardi

Yossi Vardi
Hard on the heels of Tim O'Reilly's keynote came a conversation between O'Reilly and Yossi Vardi, tech entrepreneur and investor.

O'Reilly kicked off the session by asking Vardi what's the secret of his success? "Luck," came the reply.

He's a fan of the Pascal Wager idea from O'Reilly's talk: "If you do the right thing, it'll come back to you."

Two years ago he was approached by a guy with an idea for a collaborative tool. He asked if he did volunteering, and it turned out he did (at a local school). Yardi funded him. Eventually the entrepreneur asked Yardi why the volunteering makes the difference. Yardi thinks about it as a scholarship. If it fails, "I'm not an idiot, I gave them a scholarship." And you don't want to give scholarships to idiots...

Young people who know what they're doing, consumer-focused application on the web or mobile. Focused, nimble and nice guys. And he wants them to be very talented. 

Apparently, Yossi's entrepreneurial skill comes from his home culture - a Jewish mother who always compared him and his brother unfavourably with his cousins.

O'Reilly asked him about the current breed of entrepreneur's attitude to funding, pointing out that he started his company with $500.

"We've lost the art of bootstrapping, which is unfortunate," said Vardi. far,s take money, but web start-ups not necessarily. He wouldn't go as far as to suggest that you ignore venture capital, but he strongly suggests that you examine their record before taking their money.
Continue reading Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: Yossi Vardi.


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