Notes from Web 2.0 Expo NY (Sept 16th -19th)

Here are my notes from some speakers in the event.

Vaynerchuk of the Wine Library gave a passionate speech on doing what you love and building a brand. He used a lot of expletives, but they helped deliver the impact.
. He spoke at length of creating a legacy and setting one's self to win. This was more like a motivational speech rather than about branding. He did mention that one must reply to all twits and all emails. He answers all his mail and twits personally, he said.
See the presentation here. This is a very theatrical presentation. This guy is a born actor.

Jason Fried of 37 Signals, the makers of BackpackIt presented his viewpoint, comparing the task of a software manufacturer to that of a curator. Artwork dumped in a room does not make a museum, he said. They make a warehouse. Trying to please your customer or to include every conceivable feature is like building a warehouse, he said.I liked the speech, but it has too much repetition of the curator theme.Watch it here.

Jay Adelson, the founder of Digg spoke of collaborative filters and measuring popularity of websites. In the 'old' days we used page clicks. A terabyte of data gets added to the Internet everyday. Suits Jay fine, as he uses his collaborative filters to monitor user tastes.

The younger generation does not have issues with privacy as we do, he said. They share almost everything. Collaborative filters come in three forms. One is like a generic search engine, then the next is the community. The next is hyper-personalization by taking individuals, compare them and then using their 'collective wisdom'.

Your personal data moves from one site to another, he said. There is value to all these ideas, he said. You can monetize this as we can measure user tastes.See the presentation here. Jay is a polished speaker.

Dan Lyons is famous for his blog that he penned as the fake Steve Jobs.He noticed that many of his readers also put on many avatars as they interacted with him. He also realized that after his cover was blown, contrary to his thinking, people still read his blog, despite knowing his true identity.

He said that Twitter and Facebook are performance spaces and hence are popular. The companies which will thrive in this culture are those that will create a performance space for their users.See the presentation here.

Clay Shirky of presented a humorous anecdote to illustrate how his friend tried to change her profile on Facebook to single, after her engagement was canceled. The result was that all her contacts immediately knew about this tragedy much to her consternation.

He then presented another anecdote on an eighteen-year old who created a study group for hsis Chemistry class, on Facebook. The result was that the young man had a hundred charges filed against him, for cheating after a hundred and forty of his classmates signed in.The logic was that with almost the entire class in the group, someone was freeloading the assignment

The crux of the matter is that our current thoughts on privacy are inadequate for these new paradigm shifts in information sharing and overload. The information filters we use today cannot be updated to handle such issues and we need a total rethink, not just of designing but the social norm itself. See the presentation here. I loved this presentation.

Genevive Bell of Intel spoke of many places on earth where the Internet is used in unconventional ways. There are remote places around the world where people travel vast distances to use the Internet for an hour or so every day or every few days. She spoke of Internet use vicariously via other people, or through other tools like cell phones and the like.
The Internet is being used today in many unconventional ways, not in real time, asynchronously, vicariously and so on. See the presentation here.

Shana Fisher
of IAC(with well known brands like Ask and Evite) spoke of the next generation of Video games. Only the Video game market has not been that impacted by the Internet. The reason is that peer games are expensive and the content is supplied by retailers like Walmart.
Video games are expensive, take a long time to make and are risky in the market.

The next alternative which will be video games that will be played only via a browser. They have the following advantages:
1. These will be low cost and quick to market.
2. One can provide free trials.
3. Online distribution
4. The games must be of good quality.
5. Built for a global audience.

She demonstrated one such game built by IAC which has a 700 thousand user base
Games are hosted either on peer networks or dedicated servers. Charging for games is via subscription, competition,etc.See the presentation here. The demos for games are very impressive.

Deborah Shultz of spoke of the transformation of the grand gesture. A grand gesture may be a company's Sale ads, Superbowl ads or what she calls, punctuations. It may be a flower you give someone, the doorman who remembers you name. The gestures in the social web today does not have beginnings, middles and ends. The connectedness we experience today has moved online to Twitter and other social networks. It is not finite.

This online world can cause information overload, lack of intimacy, our relationships are flat. Thus today one must seek to balance the grand gesture with the continuum. Technology changes but humans do not she concluded. See the presentation here. It is an awesome presentation.

The CEO of Etsy, Maria Thomas spoke about growing a business. It was about operating with integrity and developing a sense of culture. Most companies start and stay small, she said. She spoke at-length about her experiences at Amazon and NPR.

These are the lessons she learnt.
1. Listen to end users
2. Have a sense of direction and measure the goals you have.
3. Be human: direct and honest, believe in employees.
4. Little decisions early on can impact things upstream.
5. Get products out of the door, fast.

Etsy is a vibrant online market. Thomas joined it about 5 months ago. It also has a social network where you can meet someone or connect with others. See the presentation here.

Lenny Heymann of Interop creators of tech events, spoke of interoperability and help the attendees to get involved in Web 2.0. He said that the reason they have been around is their focus on education and the interaction between the engineers who sponsor the event and the volunteers.

Ariana Huffington of the Huffington Post, in her interview with O'Reilly spoke about her success. She said that it was passion that caused it. Huffington wanted to create a news aggregator with an attitude, with both well-known, and not so well known bloggers. She had 30 moderators working full time, to moderate comments. The tech team for her site, works side by side to her editorial team, on the same floor.

She said that unlike Rupert Murdock, she wishes to force debates on facts. (Oh My!) Well, the rest of the interview was on Politics.See the interview here. It was more politics than Web 2.0.

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