Ed: To finish up the coverage of the Web 2.0 Expo that we provided this week, I asked some of the Read/WriteWeb writers to give us their takeaways. Graeme Thickins, Sean Ammirati and Emre Sokullu list their thoughts below...See also my own Web 2.0 Expo Wrapup.
Graeme Thickins' Takeaways
Web 2.0 Is Going Beyond the Consumer Market: There's no doubt these technologies will be increasingly applied within enterprises, and that's a good thing. The big vendors see this and were all over this venue - exhibiting, presenting, and otherwise.
The VC Investment Model for IT/Software Is Changing: Because new Web 2.0 ventures don't need much money to get going, the VC business is being somewhat disrupted. A new style of early-stage VC firm seems to be gaining. It's becoming obvious that the big funds don't fit in here. These days, a mere $250-750K is all that's needed to prove assumptions, one VC said. And angel investors are newly energized.
We Are Not a Market: One of the best quotes I heard at this event was by one of this new brand of VCs, Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital: "The TechCrunch audience and this group here is not a market (for a startup). Success in this group might be necessary, but it's not sufficient. The real world doesn't understand this stuff."
Marketing Is Rising: And one of the next best quotes I heard was in that same panel, from VC Jeff Clavier of SoftTech: "We need to start seeing real money spent on marketing." The signs are good. Everywhere at Web 2.0 Expo, I saw evidence that a large part of the conversation, and in fact the event's program, was about marketing. Kudos to the producers for that!
SEO Is Rising: A corollary to the above is that SEO, far from declining as one noted blogger/entrepreneur posited recently, is becoming a major focus in the marketing world - hand-in-hand with skills in social media. This is the new sandbox for marketers; and that is exciting. Widgets are emerging as well - another important and related marketing medium.
Another Reason Not to Get Cocky: Lest we think that we as Internet users are so much in control today, consider this: there are only one billion PC users, while two billion people worldwide use mobile phones. The Web is far from universal yet and certainly it will be some time before the advances that we call Web 2.0 become widely used worldwide - on desktops, $100 laptops, cell phones, or whatever. Maybe next year's Expo should be in China or India?
Offline Web Apps Are a Next Big Thing: The demo of Apollo, by Kevin Lynch of Adobe, was awesome - even though it is still in alpha. And Etelos, another event sponsor, had a great way to position their new offline offering: "Apps on a Plane." Who wouldn't like that?
Geeks Are Not Good Presenters: Please, conference producers everywhere - get your presenters and panelists ready to go up on stage in a big room. And, for that matter, the marketers and CEOs too. The vast majority of the presenters I heard were sadly lacking in presentation and communication skills. I guess there's a reason why conferences like DEMO work hard on this. Take a lesson. [Ed: I presume Graeme didn't mean me in the Hybrid Design panel.... hmmm, ok maybe he did!]
Sean Ammirati: What's going to beat Google?
Dave Hornik had an interesting post this week, discussing how the venue of an event shapes the things attendees take away. At the scale of this conference (I heard 16,000 attendees?), a lot of the value comes from networking interactions. The show didn’t disappoint, I arrived with a stack of cards an inch thick and they were gone in a day.
In all of these interactions, one theme almost never failed to come up --- how Google related to their project or company. The humor wasn’t lost on the audience when John asked Eric Schmidt about the antitrust concerns that Microsoft and AT&T have raised and Eric joked “Wait, Microsoft has concerns…” [about anti-trust]. Yet, joking aside, it is obvious that Google is the 800-pound guerilla now. That said, I’m confident that just like with Microsoft and IBM before, there are vulnerabilities to Google’s business model. It will just take another entrepreneurial company or project to leverage an unanticipated paradigm shift and reveal those weaknesses. Therefore, the thought I left the Expo with is … what’s that concept? Only time will tell, but there is a good likelihood the founders were walking the halls at Moscone West this week!
Emre Sokullu's Thoughts
Web 2.0 Expo was excellent for networking and meeting great people. The two technologies that impressed me most were: