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Searchblog: Tumbleweeds Ho

By - October 04, 2004

web2I won’t promise it, but I’ll wager Searchblog will be looking pretty unlived-in this week, as I’ll be focused on producing Web 2.0. When I am doing a conference, I tend to get in a kind of zone, and I forget about pretty much everything else. It’s three straight days of live stagecraft, and we have more than 60 speakers presenting, which is the most I’ve ever managed in one event. We also have evening events, from Google, Morpheus, and Yahoo, so the usual burst of late night items might be slow as well.

We invited a lot of press and bloggers, so I expect there will be plenty of places to grok the goings on. In fact, you might start with Google News, and perhaps check out who’s linking to us over at Feedster. Andy, Ross, Jeff, Wade, and I am sure others will also be blogging it. We’ll also put a link to all the coverage on the main site, once the event gets going.

I’m excited that this event, which began as an idea Tim and I shared nearly a year ago, is actually happening, and is so well attended. We hoped for 400-500, and we have more than 550 registered (yes, you can still come, but today is the deadline for the pre-show price. Walk in tix are quite dear). We hoped for 5-6 sponsors, and we have 15. And much of the support came in the last couple of months, as momentum built. It’s been a great education preparing for this. Thanks to everyone who is coming, and to all you Searchbloggers for putting up with my absence. There will be a killer search panel on Weds afternoon, and some news on search from Bill Gross, Yahoo, and others – so stay tuned!

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Web 2.0 Draws Near

By - September 21, 2004

web2Over at O’Reilly, Tim’s posted his thoughts on why Web 2.0 is a meme with legs, and he’s inviting feedback from his readers on what they’d like to see asked of all the speakers we have coming to converse. I’d like to do the same – you guys have always kept me honest, and the conference is really shaping up to be something else again. As Tim puts it:

I’m talking about the emergence of what I’ve started to call Web 2.0, the internet as platform. We heard about that idea back in the late 90s, at the height of the browser wars, but that turned out to be a false alarm. But I believe we’re now starting the third age of the internet — the first being the telnet-era command line internet, the second the web — and the third, well, that tale grows in the telling. It’s about the way that open source and the open standards of the web are commoditizing many categories of infrastructure software, driving value instead to the data and business processes layered on top of (or within) that software; it’s about the way that web sites like eBay, Amazon, and Google are becoming platforms with rich add-on developer communities; it’s about the way that network effects and data, rather than software APIs, are the new tools of customer lock-in; it’s about the way that to be successful, software today needs to work above the level of a single device; it’s about the way that the Microsofts and Intels of tomorrow are once again going to blindside established players because all the rules of business are changing.

Time and again as I report in this space, I’m struck by how different this time round is from the late 1990s. For example, today I spoke with Jeff Weber, who runs USAToday’s digital publishing efforts, and we had a robust conversation about publishing models, new and old. I was part of the first wave of “new media” in the 90s, and we were convinced that the world was changing, but wrong in the timing and execution. Now, a whole host of “lightweight publishers” have sprung up, and they are challenging and undermining the entire cost structure and business model of old line publishers. This time, it’s real. Weber pointed out to me that Yahoo News, which is twice as big as, and has just 11 employees. Then there’s craigslist, with more traffic than nearly anyone, and only 20 or so employees. How do they do that? They’ve got a very Web 2.0, lightweight business model, that’s how (and Yahoo aggregates content, then creates interfaces, of course). Over and over, in so many aspects of industry, we see this happening – travel, finance, media, entertainment, retail. It’s exciting, and it’s fun.

At Web 2.0, we’re going to talk about all this, and (this will be the last time, I promise) I’d really like to see you all there. I still have a limited number of discount codes to dole out, first come, first served (jbat at battellemedia dot com). The event is October 5-7, in San Francisco at the Hotel Nikko.

Even if you can’t make it, check out the program and let me know what you’d like to see asked of the speakers. I hope to see you there!

UPDATE: The Web 2 team sent out a release today with all sorts of info and goodies, and I should have at least pointed out the hightlights. Quoting from the release:

The Web 2.0 Conference has been chosen by several leading companies and entrepreneurs to debut their businesses and new products. Special announcements will be made by Web 2.0 Conference founding sponsors eBay, Morpheus, NetSuite, PayPal and Sxip, along with the introduction of new companies by industry leaders such as Marimba Founder Kim Polese, Internet entrepreneur and Excite founder Joe Kraus, IdeaLab CEO and Overture founder Bill Gross, StreamCast founder Michael Weiss and Red Herring co-founder Christopher Alden with Kevin Burton, creator of the NewsMonster aggregator. The Web 2.0 Conference is the first-ever second generation Internet business conference that brings together the leading Internet industry figures and companies to discuss and debate the most important issues and strategies driving the Internet economy and will take place October 5-7, 2004 at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco.

During Web 2.0 Conference sessions and workshops, additional announcements will be made by presenters such as CEO Marc Benioff, with several other speakers introducing their companies on stage during their presentations. Each full day of networking, discussion and debate will be followed by entertaining evening programs, highlighted by a dinner conversation with Mark Cuban on Tuesday, October 5. Other events that evening include a cocktail party sponsored by SparkPR and the

Tim Berners Lee Interviewed

By - September 20, 2004

berners-lee-articleOn (image credit to them as well). Interesting to note that ever Sir Tim breaks the web into pre and post Google eras. Speaking on the state of the Semantic Web, he says:

I suppose it’s a lot like where we were in 1992 and 1993. Back then, the Web wasn’t stable, but we knew it was there and it held a lot of promise. We knew it would grow and mature, but there were a lot of things that we needed but didn’t have. This was pre-Google. Around 1991, you would go on the Web to look for something that wasn’t there. Today, that information is there and we can find it easily. So, I think that’s where we are with the Semantic Web. We know it will mature, but we’re not quite there yet.

(Thanks, Gary)

Off Fooing

By - September 10, 2004

fooLast year I was fortunate enough to attend the first Foo, the “Friends of O’Reilly” gathering up in Sebastapol. It led to a column a few months later about how I believed the geeks were starting to once again drive innovation. Foo led to Web 2.0, in a way, and I met a whole bunch of great folks who have helped the book, this site, and the conference. Today I’m heading up there again, and I’ll report again on the goings on, but on this blog, rather than in the column. This time it won’t take three months…but it will probably be a bit quiet on this front till I get back. (Image tip o’ the hat to Jeremy).

Killer Workshop Lineup & Loads of News at Web 2.0

By - September 02, 2004

web2Again with the Web 2.0 plug, forgive me, but this has been an obsession lately.

As you may recall earlier I posted about the Web 2.0 lineup and asked for feedback on potential workshops. Well, I’m very pleased to say you really responded and we’ve got 10 already lined up, and they are truly amazing. They’ll run from the morning of the first day up till the main sessions start. From the Web 2.0 site:

Web 2.0’s workshops are designed to be conversations, not lectures. Each is led by a moderator with expertise in the workshop topic, but no formal presentations will be given. Instead, the workshop will address open questions and explore the latest developments in each of these very Web 2.0 subjects.

The subjects include:

RSS: Syndication Strategies and Business Models
Dick Costolo, CEO, Feedburner

Journalism 2005: A New Era for Newsmakers
Dan Gillmor, Columnist, San Jose Mercury News

Design for Web 2.0 Business
Jeff Veen, Partner, Adaptive Path
Jason Kottke,

Consumer IS The King: Going Direct To Consumer For Revenues
Rafat Ali, Editor/Publisher, Paid Content

Emerging Democracy: Building API’s Into Government
Zack Rosen, Co-Founder and Director, CivicSpace Labs

Lightweight Business Models
Marc Canter, CEO, Broadband Mechanics
Jason Fried, 37signals

eBay for Businessfolk
(Moderator TBD)

Dialing on the App Tone: How the Early Web OS is Shaping Up
Stewart Butterfield, President, Ludicorp

Enterprise Social Software
Ross Mayfield, CEO, Social Text

Publishing 2.0
Christopher J. Alden, Co-Founder & CEO, Rojo Networks, Inc.

In addition, we’ve got at least half a dozen new companies and/or major products that will be debuting at the conference, including from Bill Gross, Kim Polese, Chris Alden, Michael Weiss, Joe Kraus and some soon to be announced. I hope to see you there!

Web 2.0: Program Highlights, Your Input Wanted

By - August 22, 2004

web2.gifEvery 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.

Some highlights:

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 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!

Kottke on The Platform Web

By - August 12, 2004

Nice post about how the various strands we’ve created in our digital life might be rewoven into a personal web space.

To put this another way, a distributed data storage system would take the place of a local storage system. And not just data storage, but data processing/filtering/formatting. Taking the weblog example to the extreme, you could use TypePad to write a weblog entry; Flickr to store your photos; store some mp3s (for an mp3 blog) on your ISP-hosted shell account; your events calendar on Upcoming; use iCal to update your personal calendar (which is then stored on your .Mac account); use GMail for email; use TypeKey or Flickr’s authentication system to handle identity; outsource your storage/backups to Google or Akamai; you let Feedburner “listen” for new content from all those sources, transform/aggregate/filter it all, and publish it to your Web space; and you manage all this on the Web at each individual Web site or with a Watson-ish desktop client.

Think of it like Unix…small pieces loosely joined. Each specific service handles what it’s good at.

Very Web 2.0.

News: Yahoo Says: 2 Gigs to You, Google

By - June 14, 2004

Well, the ante’s been upped in the user registration – er – mail wars. Yahoo will announce Tuesday that it has revamped its mail products, increasing the storage on its paid and free products to 2 gigabytes and 100 mbytes, respectively.

Is this a big deal? Yes. Why? Well, it’s the first shot in a long war of attrition that will benefit consumers and pave the way toward a true platform web. It’s very exciting, in a way, if you’re into this kind of stuff.

Yahoo mail chief Brad Garlinghouse (OK, formally, vice president, Communications Products ) gave me a quick overview of the strategy shift and said that Yahoo Mail is “getting a new coat of paint” on the UI side, and that “basically, storage is now a commodity.” He notes that this is consistent with Yahoo’s “life engine” theme – that mail is now a main way many manage their life, and Yahoo wants to create a mail program that understands that mail is more than text – it’s photos, calendar, etc.

The upgraded premium product will cost $19.99 a year and include 2 gigs of storage. This doubles Gmail’s one gig limit, I am sure quite intentionally. Also, the premium product will lose graphical ads…

A full list of features is in the extended entry of this post, or I imagine by the time you all read this you can just search Google – er – Yahoo News for more. Well shit, I was told to embargo this till midnight, but the frigging world already has it…The Times story misses the search piece altogether…but does point to an issue Yahoo is testing in a trial ballon fashion – that of privacy.

The main thing I think is missing from this ante-upping play is full featured search – the release simply says “Faster search – Yahoo! Mail inboxes are easier than ever to manage, thanks to even better search capabilities at faster speeds.” That sounds like a whole lotta nothing, compared to what Gmail does. I’ll ask for more details and post on it here when I hear.

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