Every once in a long while I’ll use this space to baldly promote something I am involved in, and Web 2.0 certainly qualifies for that treatment. Back in May I announced I was going to be Program Chair for the event, which I am also co-hosting with Tim O’Reilly, but I’ve been pretty quiet since. But I’m way too proud of the lineup we’ve assembled not to plug it here.
Our theme is “Web As Platform,” and we’ve built a program around the idea that we’re in a far more robust second generation era of the web, one that has become a platform for innovation and business growth. We’ve got an incredible lineup of folks coming to discuss this theme and all its permutations. In addition, we’ll have a ton of time for self-organized BOFs (birds of a feather meetings), workshops, and networking.
The conference is this October 5-7, in San Francisco at the Hotel Nikko.
On the first day we’re going to kickoff with a series of workshops focused on interesting trends/opportunities in the web platform space. These are going to be free form conversations moderated by an expert (or two) in the field. We will probably have two or three going at the same time, from 9 am till the main program starts in the late afternoon.
For example, Dick Costolo of FeedBurner is going to moderate a conversation on business models around RSS. Rafat Ali of paidcontent.org is going to do the same on the subject of, well, paid content. And Ross Mayfield of Socialtext will run a workshop on wikis and social software for business. In addition, we’ll have workshops on search marketing, using eBay’s developer platform for business, and much more.
This is where I want to solicit your advice and input. We have a limited number of these slots still open, and I’m very open to suggestions on topics and topic leaders. If you’d like to run a Web 2.0 Workshop, or co-lead one I mentioned above, let me know via email: jbat at battellemedia dot com.
Also, if you want to debut a new product or company at the event, ping me. We already have half a dozen new companies and/or products debuting for the first time at the event, but we’re game for more!!
Once the program gets going, you won’t want to miss a single session. We’re limited the attendance to about 500 or so, first come first served. We kick off with a Q&A with Jeff Bezos, then move into my favorite element, the High Order Bit. These are short, solo presentation (between five and fifteen minutes) by an industry leader that compels, stuns, astounds, and/or baffles the audience. Often High Order Bit presentors will take a contrarian position on a major issue of the day, or will show extraordinary images or datasets. On day one, we’ll have three HOBs, from Mitch Kapor (on politics), Bill Gross (introducing a new search company in real time on stage), and Gian Fulgoni (what Comscore knows).
If that’s not enough, we’ll then have an interview with John Doerr, who recently cemented his reputation as one of the world’s most successful VCs (he invested in Google and sits on the company’s board). Interviewing him is John Heilemann, who is perhaps the most accomplished interlocutor I have ever had the pleasure of working with.
JH is also going to interview Mark Cuban later that night at dinner. If you’ve never listened to Mark tell a story, watch your wine. His one liners will have you snorting it out your nose if you’re not careful. After dinner, Google is sponsoring a late night party/lounge on the top floor of the hotel.
Highlights from Day Two include another new company introduction, this time from Excite co-founder Joe Kraus. We’ll hear HOBs from Brewster Kahle, Mary Meeker, and James Currier, who runs Tickle and will give us some insights on what online dating profiles tell us about the human condition. We have sessions on the mobile internet, geolocation, and finance, as well as a killer discussion around music featuring Danger Mouse, Hank Barry, and Mike Weiss, the CEO of Streamcast/Morpheus (fresh off his big win for P2P in the 9th circuit…). Mike will also be showing/announcing his next generation P2P network at the event. And we’re working on an absolutely killer evening event, but I can’t talk about it quite yet.
We’ll also have an interview with Marc Benioff, who couldn’t be boring if we paid him to be.
Also, for you Searchbloggers, we’re going to have a stupendous search session, with the heads of search at A9, eBay, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Ask. Where’s Google, you ask? Well, they want to wait till the quiet period to announce who is speaking.
On Day Three, we’ll have HOBs from Cory Doctorow (on Web 2.0 as AOL 1.0), Dale Dougherty (the book as a platform), Craig Newmark and his CEO, Jim Buckmaster (a billion pages a month and still not evil), Bill Gurley, and Larry Lessig. We’ll also have some amazing sessions chaired by Tim, including the Architecture of Participation, a riff on the idea of having your customers build your business for you (think oFoto, Amazon, Six Apart. In fact, we have top execs from all those three in this session!). I’ll chair a discussion about the future of media in a platform world, featuring Martin Nisenholtz of the NYT, George Conrades of Akamai, Mike Ramsay of Tivo, and Shelby of Cnet. And Om Malik is chairing a killer discussion on the telephone as platform. Not to mention the top research guys at IBM and MSFT will be there, showing off stuff directly from the labs.
We’ll end with a conversation with Jerry Yang. Did you know Yahoo turns ten years old this year?
Well, those are some highlights. I have to say, I’ve been doing this conference thing for a while now, and this is the best lineup I’ve ever had the pleasure of assembling. There’s a real energy this year, a sense that if we can keep our focus and remember what matters, we might just execute on some of those dreams we had back in the Web 1.0 days.
So take a look over at the site, and register to come. As readers of Searchblog, you’re entitled to a special discount. If you didn’t get the invitation the first time around, email me and I’ll send you the code. Registration includes a booklet that Tim and I are putting together with pages and pages of metrics and highlights on the state of the internet industry. And you’ll have access to the Web 2.0 Wiki, where we’re taking input on every single session so as to incorporate your questions into the onstage dialogue.
Also, please give me feedback on the program and especially the workshops. We still have time to make last minute changes and additions. See you there!