Recently in Web 2.0 Expo Category
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.
- Don't panic
- Bootstrap like crazy
- Make products people want
- Cut your costs.
- Get to break even as soon as you can.
- 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.
- 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.
- Digg: human recommendation
- Techmeme: algorithmic analysis for linking behaviour of A-list bloggers.
- Proposition: 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.
- Social 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.
Brady, in particular, thanked everyone for coming during this crunch time. He suggested that lightweight web apps like the ones discussed at this conference would be more important in harsh economic times.
And so, Tim O'Reilly takes the stage...
Of course not, but "we need to think about where we're going".
Cheap, easy venture capital isn't there, so some start-ups may survive by being very basic in their operating costs - like sleeping under the desk. "Me too" startups will fail.
We're not in an investment bubble, but a reality bubble. We're in harsh times with financial, environmental and political crises all around us. "And our best and brightest are working on things like this..." (He shows us a Throw a Sheep Facebook app and iBeer for the iPhone. Sure, GPS and the like will make fantastic applications, but still...
Discipline in business for things like this - it's called scenario planning.
Worst case, middle, best. Reality was so much worse than they predicted in the case of oil drilling equipment in the 80s. A loophole was closed and the marlet went to hell.
So you need to get companies thinking about extreme examples.
Robust strategy 1: Work on stuff that matters! We need innovate thinking, rather than yet another social network.
Pascal's Wager: if you believe in God and you're worried about going to hell, you'll live a good life. If there's no God, you've lived a good life. It's a better bet. The modern version is assume the worst, and we'll make better choices.
- witness.org - providing recording equipment to people documenting human rights abuses.
- Using Google Earth to track illegal deforestation in Brazil
- Biblioburro - carries books around the area he came from.
- WiFi access
- Venue is roomy and easy to navigate, and very well lit
- Lots of chance encounters in the corridors
- Great media centre with power sockets
However, I'm also using this as a springboard for a new project within the day job, which I'll fill you guys in on tomorrow. In the meantime, here's some Berlin scenes I grabbed with my Flip Mino earlier:
Arrival in Berlin from Adam Tinworth on Vimeo.
So far, so good. The taxi drivers are far more competent that their Parisian counterparts (the first taxi driver I used in Paris for Le Web last year took me to the wrong part of the city...), the city looks beautiful in the autumn sunshine and I'm only 10 minutes walk from the conference venue. But what about the hotel?
If you're still wavering about attending, you can check out the Web 2.0 Expo Blog for running updates about what's happening at the show (and doesn't the venue look lovely?), and the main site has an updated list of events around the show, including a number of unofficial ones.
And, of course, there's the opportunity to meet me. :-) Leave a comment or drop me an e-mail if you'd like to touch base while I'm there. I'll be in Berlin from mid-afternoon on Monday the 20th.
And if you've just made a last minute decision to go (rather than a last minute decision to actually book things, like me....), remember that you can bag a 35% discount by registering using the code webeu08gr9.
Collaboration Techniques that Really Work
Horribly early in the morning, but I'm interested to plunder this session for ways of improving the inforamtion flow within teams of journalists.
Better Media plumbing for the Social Web
Really looking forward to this one. Blogs are still, at best, web 1.5, and publishing companies all too easily shove them back to being Web 1.0. Some ideas about how to push them forward into a truly social web experience will be really useful.
Thus, the webby conference scene is something I love, both for the chance to catch up with old contacts and meet new ones. Oh, and for the conference content, of course. Last year I had to miss the Web 2.0 Expo in Germany, because of Mum's chemo therapy. This year I'm free to go, and will be heading over to Berlin for some serious networking and some juicy brain meats from the programme.
Web 2.0 Expo Berlin Discount
If you're interested in attending, the organisers have provided me (and some other bloggers) with a discount code that gets you 35% off the entry price. Just register online and use the code webeu08gr9 to get some Euros off, which is pretty damn useful in these credit crunched times...