E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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Web 2.0 Expo In Berlin – Day 1 Highlights

Like I have mentioned yesterday, this is the next blog post of the series of my highlights from the Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin that I attended last week, where I will try to share some additional insights from the ones I have already shared over at my live twittering account on @elsuacon and the pictures I will be uploading into my Flickr account, as time goes by. This series of entries may well be on the longer side, so you may want to get a cup of coffee / tea, sit back, and read on.

I am also going to point out to you something incredibly helpful that the Slideshare folks have done, which is basically put together all of the slide decks under a same single frame and which I will keep referring you folks back to it every now and then, as I will not be embedding or link to the direct decks (To keep things easier for everyone). Just that single, master one. This one:

Thus with all of that said, here we go now with the highlights from Day 1 (Tuesday 21st of October). As you would be able to see from the Agenda itself, this was the first day, where, for a good chunk of the day, there were a number of workshops on various different topics, including the ever interesting Leisa Reichelt (@leisa) as well as the always insightful Dion Hinchcliffe (@dhinchcliffe) who both were covering a number of interesting topics related to Web 2.0 and the state of things.

You would be able to see as well how there were a number of other different workshops and you may be wondering whether I attended any of them or not. The quick and short answer would be No!, I didn’t. My day was already packed with one of my favourite activities of every single conference I get to attend: networking. Yes, indeed, the purest form of social networking around at the moment: the face to face networking!

And that’s what I did! So during those first few hours of the event I talked to a whole bunch of good friends (And several fellow IBM colleagues, but more on that later on!) with whom I had the opportunity to continue some of the conversations we have been having all along: folks like Martin Koser (@frogpond), Emanuele Quintarelli (@absolutesubzero), Stowe Boyd (@stoweboyd), Tina Kulow (@tkkinstant), a couple of folks from TechWeb, and so on and so forth, are just some of the people I spent most of my morning, early afternoon.

Then from there onwards I spent a good chunk of time at the Media Center talking to various other folks, i.e. media bloggers, at the same time that I finalised the details of a number of press interviews for the rest of the week, one of which came out after a wonderful conversation with Dominik Wind for We-Magazine, that I blogged about yesterday. Really nice start of the conference so far, don’t you think?

From there onwards it was time to head over to the kick off Keynote speaker session with Tim O’Reilly (@timoreilly) where he spent a few minutes sharing with us where we are with Web 2.0 and how we may have already entered a tipping point of providing an extended business value from various different social software tools, as opposed to just a few fancy meaningless applications.

In Web Meets World Tim got to expand further how more and more we are seeing how some social software applications are starting to not only have the appeal and become very resourceful, as well as helpful, but to have an immediate impact on how we experience things beyond the Web itself. I tell you, if you are ever looking for plenty of examples of social software applications doing some serious business out there Tim’s deck would be a good starting point!

At the same time you will find it would be quite an interesting trip down the memory lane of the Internet and entrepreneurship hinting some interesting points on how to tackle the current financial and economic crisis we are going through at the moment and succeed in the market, at least, in the Internet economy. Plenty of food for thought on that one, too! For sure!

From there onwards we had a short quick break, before it was the turn of a dialogue between Tim O’Reilly himself with the ever entertaining Yossi Vardi talking about what it takes to be an entrepreneur nowadays and how to succeed at it. Here is what various other folks thought about that conversation.

And, finally, the last event of the first day was the Startup Ignite with Brady Forrest, Lukasz Gadowski, Mike Butcher, Christophe Maire, which I think was just the perfect mix with what we have just witnessed in the last couple of hours and something that made me remember the Startup 2.0 event in Barcelona: lots of incredibly good talent, energy, imagination, focus, commitment to succeed, yet very few skills in engaging an audience and market their own product!

Yes, that’s right! Just the same as with Startup 2.0 in Barcelona, earlier in the year, Startup Ignite at the Web 2.0 Expo was refreshing from the perspective of getting an exposure to some of the ideas that people have come up with in the Web 2.0 space (Some of them really smart and some others wonderfully crazy!), yet, most of the participants failed to capture and engage the audience with compelling messages due to lack of some essential marketing & communication skills.

One of the things that these young entrepreneurs seem to keep forgetting more and more is that if you want to make your startup a HUGE success you need to engage fully with your audience, with those folks who would be using your application, as well as those other folks who may be able to provide additional funding for your endeavours. They should always remember you only have got one good opportunity to provoke a good impression. If you miss it, you will probably miss out altogether!

Those folks need to start paying attention as well to the small details, because in such a competitive 2.0 world as today’s that would remain the main key differentiator from the next killer 2.0 app. and just one of the bunch!

From there onwards we finished up Day 1 of an intense and very refreshing day, but I still carried out for a few more hours, meeting up with my entire team and a small group of IBM social computing evangelists with whom I went out for dinner and then a few drinks… But not to worry, in another separate blog post I will mention to you what my team and that bunch of social computing evangelists got up to that week! Stay tuned! For now, Day 1 of highlights is done. Now on to Day 2 …

(However, and before I move on to Day 2 and its main highlights, I would surely want to comment on something that has increasingly become one of my worries, when going to conference events, and which it looks like it is continuing to happen all over the place. My good friend David Terrar put it rather nicely over at Woeful WiFi at technology conferences, but I just thought I would comment on it as well.

If you have been following my live tweeting throughout the various conference events I have been to this year you would know by now how in most cases my number #1, and possibly the only one, rant I have been having all along, has been the appalling connectivity experience at the events. Well, the Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin last week suffered pretty much from the same issues as with most of the other technical conferences I have attended this year, specially on the main auditorium for the keynote speaker sessions.

I do realise that it is not easy to put together decent wi-fi connectivity at this kind of events, since it requires lots of effort and a huge investment, yet, organisers need to understand as well how the frustration keeps raising more and more, because we just cannot take the most out of the entire event and in a way we all feel rather frustrated. I am not sure what the right solution would be like, but somehow I feel that we all need to keep trying harder, if we would want to keep attracting live attendees for these events.

So, yes, the Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin suffered from the very same problems, which is why I could only do half live tweeting when I would have wanted to share plenty more with you folks, alas, the wi-fi while in there had other plans. Must confess though that in the smaller rooms, it was just brilliant and I was able to capture plenty of great thoughts, which I am hoping to develop further more in these series of blog posts.

But, again, we need to do better, for our own credibility and responsibility to keep spreading the message on Web / Enterprise 2.0 and the kind of impact it is having, not only in the consumer space, but also in the corporate world! We cannot keep hiding the overall message, just because the network is not working. I do know we can do *much* better than this! Let’s try harder on the next one!)

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