Yes, it was cold, we were hungry, and the wifi sucked. The program on the first day was disappointing – with the exception of the talk of David Weinberger – but the second day was very inspiring. So all in all, I was happy I went, although the price tag for attending the whole thing is kinda steep for an entrepreneur just starting his business.
I had a few days to think about what I experienced and these are the themes that keep popping up in my mind. Let’s call them trends or important topics for the near future – at least:
- Changing leadership: As Mr. Weinberger said in his talk “…leadership is a property of the network. Leaders will only make decisions if the system fails”. Which was echoed by conductor Itay Talgam with his “leaders as connectors” meme.
- Meaning: Chris Anderson, curator of TED, had a very inspiring talk about global IQ that is rising as a result of technological advance. His vision is that it can be used for good as well as for evil. One of his main themes regarding use for the better is “to teach”, to pass on knowledge for the common good.
- Identity: Being able to control and manage your own online identity was key in a number of talks and panels, most notably in the very interesting panel moderated by Marc Canter with representatives from Google, Microsoft, Facebook, MySpace and Six Apart/OpenID. Key developments: the “open stack“, a set of open technologies and technology frameworks to improve identity control and manageability. Interesting stuff we are and will keep supporting with our own identity management service RealMee.
- Intellectual property: Joi Ito followed up with a new dimension to the open stack by introducing the next frontier: rethinking current copyrights legislations to enable free culture and ideas. His work with Creative Commons is one of the solutions to reach this goal.
- Search: Marissa Mayer from Google – 33 years old… amazing – had a very nice talk about the next frontier of search: personalized search (Google recognizing you and tailoring the results: e.g. 40% of all searches are repeat searches!), social search (what is the best restaurant in this neigbourhood – with answers from people from your network), and more media such as video where speech-to-text and face recognition are key. The impressive winner from the startup competition Viewdle seems to have tackled these last two challenges. If so, my guess is they are talking to Google right now since their VP of buying-other-companies was in the jury. BTW one interesting tidbit from Google’s hiring policies since day 1: “people that are smart & get things done”. Simple enough.
- Capital and financing: Yme blogged about this as well in Dutch and I agree with him. You cannot blame people to be a little bit more cautious these days but there is money in the market. If your idea is good enough. So, the bar has been set higher which leaves more money on the table for the real deal. Good for all of us. And yes, we want to prove RealMee is the real deal the coming period.
Would love to hear your take-out if you went!