November 11, 2008

Web 2.0 Summit 2008

I attended the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco last week. Despite the name, the conference has now broadened to cover everything and anything about digital media, consumer Internet, Enterprise software, cloud computing, clean technology, and, of course, Web 2.0.

Here are some quotes and facts from the conference that I found worth sharing, though I would admit that I did not sit through most of the sessions inside conference rooms. Given the wide attendance at the Summit, I mostly go to meet folks from the industry, catch-up with partner firms, see interesting startups, and network, which happens outside in the lobby. In fact, many just show up for the "lobbycon" - hob-nobbing in the lobby for free, instead of doling out a few grands on the conference pass.

Al Gore, the former Vice President of the U.S., presenter of the Oscar-winning environmental documentary, The Inconvenient Truth, and the Noble laureate, urging for a higher purpose of Web 2.0:
“The purpose, I would urge all of you — as many of you as are willing to take it up — is to bring about a higher level of consciousness about our planet and the imminent danger and opportunity we face because of the radical transformation in the relationship between human beings and the Earth.”
Talking about his crusade on preserving our environment, Gore said:
“I feel, in a sense, I’ve failed badly.” “Because even though there’s a greater sense of awareness, there is not anything anywhere close to an appropriate sense of urgency. This is an existential threat.”

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, presented his Web 2.0 corollary to the famous Moore's law (the processing power of chips double every two years):
“I would expect that next year, people will share twice as much information as they share this year, and next year, they will be sharing twice as much as they did the year before,” he said. “That means that people are using Facebook, and the applications and the ecosystem, more and more.”
I don't think anybody will dis-agree with the above position. The social media revolution will involve more and more people sharing more and more of their thoughts and experiences using Internet as a medium and leveraging its various tools (Facebook/MySpace, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, etc.). I'd submit that the pace of information sharing may in fact more than double every year as the ubiquity of broadband access, Internet and the means/devices to access it spreads globally. It definitely has in my case.

Ariana Huffington, Editor-in-Chief of the The Huffington Post:
“Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not be president. Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not have been the nominee.”

John Doerr, Venture Capitalist, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), was interviewed by John Heilemann, a contributing editor at the New York magazine, who had been covering the election campaign of the President-elect Barack Obama.

Q: Who should Barack Obama select for the position of the Chief Technology Officer, Unites States, a position that Obama has promised to create?
A: John Doerr suggested Bill Joy, Partner, KPCB, and the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, in which Doerr had invested.

Q: Will Mr. Doerr ask Senator John McCain or Governor Sarah Palin to join KPCB, given the company's history of hiring former politicians like former Vice President Al Gore and former Secretary of State Colin Powell?
A: “If you put lipstick on that, it still won’t work at Kleiner.” John Doerr is a politically active Democrat.

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