I just got back from the Web 2.0 conference at the Mosconi center in San Francisco.
Here are my thoughts and impressions.
The place was packed to the gills with 11,000 geeks, press, entrepreneur’s, investors, educators, etc. I was a little less impressed after learning from Bob, that the NAB conference in Vegas was attended by 125,000 people.
It reminded me a lot of Telecom Geneva in 1999. In 1999, Geneva hosted a huge Telecom conference which as we all know now, occurred at the height of the telecom market. Could this be the same thing for Web 2.0? I don’t know, but it sure felt like it. I was in one session where there was something like 500 people in the room. One of the panelists polled the room and asked, “How many of you work with a social networking related company?” about 70% raised their hands. Now I know that Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn are successful social networking communities, but how many more can the market absorb?
The “we hope to monetize down the road with advertising” response to the commonly asked question of “how will you make money” is one thing which is different from the crazy days of telecom. In the telecom industry we were able to bill for our services, however, a start-up company needs huge numbers of end users to get the economies of scale to generate net income. While the costs to enter the Web 2.0 space are way less, I see very few of these companies developing sustainable business models.
The most impressive panel I attended was the one hosted by Joshua Schachter from Delicious, Biz Stone from Twitter and Stewart from Flickr. I was particularly impressed with Schachter and his discussion of the early days of developing Delicious.
The most ironic thing to me was seeing Robert Scoble with a camera connected to his head. The reason I used the word ironic, is because when I launched Blogtalkradio early last fall, I went to the Podexpo in Ontario Ca. Everyone was focused on digital mixed podcasts, and pristine audio quality. Blogtalkradio is a live platform using a phone or voip connection to host these conversations. Podshow, Podango, Podtech, and tons of others in the space considered live conversations to be inconsistent with the key elements of podcasting. I disagreed with this thesis then and I guess, that given Scoble’s interest in interviewing people using a camera affixed to his head, he agrees that a few umms and ahh’s can’t hurt anyone.
Finally, the best part of the trip was to meet and ultimately hire our new VP Marketing, Lisa Padilla. I will have more to say about this in coming days, but I must say that this was the highlight of my trip to Web 2.0.