By KitchenSink on Apr 05, 2009
As I did last year, I visited the Web 2.0 expo conference in San Francisco. This year I had very limited time, having a major release to launch and people to hire, so I only spent a partial day there. However I blogged about it last year and felt compelled to share my impression of this year's event.
Since I recently moved into Sun's Cloud Computing Division I caught part of IBM's BlueCloud presentation. And I saw all of Lew Moorman's (from Rackspace) presentation "Cloud Computing and the Paradigm Shift that's coming in IT". Lew's presentation was one of the better ones I have seen, a good introduction to the topic of Cloud Computing, with clear definitions (eg. good explanation of iSaaS - infrastructure as a service), some eye catching slides to keep the audience awake, and natural feeling introduction of his company's services without that icky "being sold to" feeling. Unfortunately his slides don't appear to be posted on the Web2.0 expo site.
There was less energy this year, and Thursday's booth crawl showed the toll the poor economy has taken. A dinner of appetizers was not to be found, and lines for beer were long. We found the best beer, Anchorsteam, at the Safari Books Online booth, so they get a special mention.
An entertaining touch was the tags you could attach to your badge, such as "Social Media Freak", "Hacker" or "Stealth Mode". I put a "We're Hiring" tag on my badge but it didn't attract any interest (maybe because no one wants to do "WebOps" these days). However I talked to another attendee who was looking for an Information Architect, and he didn't get any bites either. Surprisingly given how many resumes I've gotten for the contract positions I have.
Last year I got a lot out of the keynotes, but this year, they were a little flat. Maybe because I caught the wrong day, but for me the highlight of Thursday's keynotes was a video shown by Anssi Vanjoki of Nokia, a nice conceptual piece showing the mobile phone as a configurable device, that could be worn as a bracelet and take on surrounding colors. The future of mobile computing where a phone will be a "sensor" that can merge physical location information with digital information was a nice glimpse of a future that is really here now. Rushkoff's "How the Web Ate the Economy and why this is good for everyone" was rushed and was way too full of itself, although he had some nice zingers as in "The banks are in trouble because they bought shares of their own Ponzi schemes". Will Wright of Electronic Arts is well spoken and has thoughtful insights that even a non-gamer will appreciate, but I had heard him before, and Spore doesn't really excite me too much.
As always, the best part of these events is the networking, and the step back from the everyday job to gain larger perspective. And you can't beat a free ticket.