Info

A trade journal of a still-emerging field, written by Adam Tinworth.

Posts from the Le Web 08 Category

For example, OpenID is a profile web address that you can use to login to any site that supports it. OpenSocial solves the desire to use any app on any site on the web, with the same people relationships and profile data you have elsewhere. Apps written for this standard run in any site that support Open Social container. David Glazer, director of engineering at Google, explained that all of these technologies are needed to create a good user experience.

And surprisingly, Microsoft is claiming to be an OAuth leader using the delegated sign-in system. And Jeff Hansen, general manager services strategy/Livemesh talked about the firm’s move towards openness, inclusing the ability to pull your profile and friends data out of Microsoft services, edit it, and push back in. It’s a two way API – genuine portable contacts.

However, Canter raised the spectre of Twitter, a hugely popular, data-locked service. “We’re all putting our balls in Ev Williams’ vice,” as he colourfully put it.

Hansen’s attempts to defend the less open parts of LiveMesh were met with a derisory “different ways to plug my balls into your vice” from Canter.

He then rounded on Glazer. “What’s good for the open web is good for Google,” says Canter. “Every company here has their own agenda, but we always have to keep the users in mind.”

Gmail has data lock in, he argued. “If you don’t want to be open – you’re not open,” he said. The response form Glazer, backed from some of the others, was that you probably don’t want your e-mail to be shared…

Morin launched into a fairly hopeless attempt to boost Facebook Connect as an open platform. “Facebook allowed people to control information and share more than ever before,” he said. “Now you can take privacy settings with you wherever you go.”

Recordon skewered that one quicky: “We were doing that on Livejournal years ago,” he pointed out. “Why are you giving Microsoft access to the e-mail addresses without my permission?”

Glazer offered the rather weak defence that Microsoft doesn’t keep the e-mails. And questioning from the floor was just as hostile. Mike Arrington of Techcrunch stated forcibly that Facebook is not interested in open software stack and that Canter should call bullshit on its claims. And Tom Morris challenged Microsoft’s commitment to open standards after the OpenXML affair.

daveweinberger.jpgQuick summary of Dave Weinberger’s speech:

Information age has been formative of who we are as individuals and people together. also formative of what our idea of leadership is.

As it comes to a close, it’s interesing to think about it.

The whole idea has been to reduce information to make it manageable.

The HR system strips away everything that makes people interesting, all their quirks. In comparison, a Facebook page is a much richer view of the person. Hyperlinks are the opposite of information; they connect things in a rich, unstructured way.

So, we now have an abundence of stuff, and an abundence of crap. We can deal with the crap. It’s the good stuff that’s throwing our culture for a loop.

Leadership has been based on scarcity. Jack Welch – paragon of leadership.

Leader leads by keeping info scarce.

We treat it like a kind of heroism – the lonely leader, carrying the whole weight of the business on his broad, strong shoulders.

Now: crowdsourced leadership. The job of leadership gets spread across a network. Decision making is a failure of leadership.

Strategy tries to turn something the future into something scare – but that’s the past. There are multiple numbers of futures. Flexibility may be better than having a strategy.

Leaders are realists – but relaists would never have built the web, wikipedia… Realism is over-rated.

Networks have the properties that we used to attribute to leaders.

Obama team put up a change.gove site. It wasn’t perfect, but it gets better everyday. It shows that the team understand the net.

People emerge into prominence through a reputational system. It becomes Reputational Democracy (Simon Willis’ term)

No way of predicting in what the outcome will be – it’s a political struggle from work to national politics. No way to get through apart from getting through it.

The heroic leader idea is going to fall. There are great leaders – but not enough. We need more, and that will only happen with networks. We need a leadership that deals with abundance, and that uses it. Fewer leaders and more love!

Google GuySecond up is Nikesh Arora, SVP, Google and President, EME Operations.

Loïc dived straight in with questions about the recession.

“It’s an interesting time – like having a hang-over after a big party,” said Arora. “I expect the US to come out of this before Europe does.”

Is Europe doomed to create second class start-ups compared to the US?

“There are some structural reasons why you see more startup activity in the US.”

But there is start-up activity in Europe.

“The guys I’m scared of are two guys in a garage…”

You need to think of terms in the worldwide audience, said Arora. But Loîc countered that companies in Europe naturally start by focusing on the the country they know best. “And that’s the fatal flaw,” said Arora. All the big companies thought global very quickly.

Loïc then raised the issue of funding, suggesting that Google should set up a fund to help startups through the downturn, to huge approval from the floor.

“You need a very good idea…” replied Arora.

“I have a good idea, but it’s hard to find €100,000…” responded Loïc.

But, in response to a question from the floor, Arora made it plain that he didn’t think that waiting to be bought by Google was a viable business model right now…

Markets collapse and rebuild, he suggested. That’s when you can have real change.

Silverlight? It’s a front and centre tech at Microsoft. Cross-platform and cross-browser.

Is Microsoft warm and cuddly, now, with all this cross-platform, open standards stuff? “A little bit.”

Are they going to buy Twitter? “I have no forward looking statements to make today.”

That seems a shame at an inherently forward-looking conference.

Le Web 08 sign

Apologies for the silence over the last month. Ironically enough, it was largely because I was busy getting a Web 2.0 web application upgraded for use both within and without the business…
Anyway, I’m bringing a little life back into this blog starting tomorrow, with Liveblogging from Le Web 08 in Paris. 
See you then.