Web 2.0 Expo In Berlin – Day 3 Highlights

After the brief hiatus from yesterday, where life won the everlasting battle of work / life balance, here we go again with the next blog post from the series of articles on the highlights from the Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin that I attended last week. In this case Day 3. Day 1 and Day 2 can be found here and over here, respectively. I have also shared a number of pictures on my Flickr account and later on I will be putting together the rest of the snapshots I took while I was in Berlin. Thus stay tuned.

Oh, something else that I think you should go ahead and check out. There have been plenty of blog posts on the topic of the Web 2.0 Expo and everything, but if I were to recommend a single one resource for some amazing coverage through live con-blogging that would be the blog from Adam Tinworth, over at One Man and His Blog. Head over to his blog and read through his posts and you will see what I meant when I wrote amazing coverage!

Also, like I have been mentioning all along in the various highlights blog posts, I have decided not to embed any of the slide decks from the event and just point you folks to the lovely piece of work from Slideshare where they have put together a nifty presentation pack, where you can watch through all of them as you may see fit. So, I am just going to embed that specific pack for the last time, so you can have a look into the various presentations that were used for Day 3:

From here onwards, I will try to detail what Day 3 of the Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin was like and, to be honest, I can certainly say that it was one of the best days I have had in a long time while attending a conference event and I am just hoping this entry will try to make it some justice, because there is plenty of ground to cover. So let’s go!

To get things started with the day, the first hour and an half was dedicated to a bunch of keynote speaker sessions, some shorter than others, but all of them briefer than the usual keynotes covering a wide range of topics and thinking that, instead of me sharing with you all what they were like, since, once again, the Wi-Fi was not as good as what it could have been, I am going to make it easier for you folks and link over here to the YouTube videos that have already been shared for each of those speaker sessions (Notice as well that previous keynote speaker sessions are now available as well over here, if you would want to catch up with any of them!) and then perhaps add a line or two on each of them and see how it would go from there:

- John Lilly in Conversation with Brady Forrest: If you would want to find out some more on what’s happening around the world of FireFox and where it would go from there into the near future as our preferred Web browser in the 2.0 space!

- Tariq Krim (NetVibes): On what it means to be a Web 2.0 entrepreneur in Europe where the Internet is a saturated market already; where social attention is cannibalising media attention (revenues); and where there seems to be a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs!

- Luis Suarez on Thinking Outside the Inbox: I am sure there would be very little that I would need to add on this one (Specially if you have been following this blog for the last 9 months!), but I can certainly describe the experience as rather intense and re-energising: early morning, no slides, only 10 minutes, try to convince everyone that challenging your Inbox and moving away from it is a gradual process that you need to start (And no-one else!) if you would want to make it work. It begins with you. You are the one who has got to challenge it and make it work according to your needs and not everyone else’s! … Loved it!

A number of different folks have been blogging about such session and helping spread the message around and I could say all sorts of things about it (Thanks much!), but most of you folks already know it, so I am going to keep it short and just embed the 9 minute long video that was recorded:

- Patrick McDevitt on Tele Atlas (Slide deck here): To me describing what the future of application development and design would be like, that is, a co-creative process between developers and end-users based on the powerful interactions coming up through a community of passionate end-users engaging and providing feedback on how to improve your already existing, or new!, products! It will not get better than that! And Patrick already shared how they are doing it themselves and how much they are benefiting from the entire approach!

- Dion Hinchcliffe on There Goes Everybody: Focusing the Power of People and Today’s Network on Opportunity, where he may have hinted how we may be reaching the tipping point of creating copycats of already existing Web 2.0 applications (i.e. Twitter & its Twitter clones, anyone?) and it may well be perhaps a good time where we shift gears and start thinking about providing some real business value exploring other options or ways of integrating more of the Web 2.0 applications into the day to day, business as usual, business processes. That’s certainly where the next challenge is, indeed, as well as a huge cultural shift within the corporate world pointing towards a much more engaging and participative knowledge sharing culture.

From there onwards, we all took off to enjoy a coffee break and I had the great pleasure and the honour of hanging out with some of the folks I have been following, and admiring!, for a long while now. Folks like Dion Hinchcliffe himself (We finally got to meet up face to face after all of this time!), Martin Koser (As insightful as always!), Björn Negelmann (Ever so smart in his commentary and always preparing for the next event!), Jemima Gibbons (More on her later!) and Ronna Porter (First time we met & thoroughly enjoyed the conversations with her on the impact of social software within the corporate communications world!) are just a few! Too many to include them all in a single blog post!

However, there is one person I met on that Thursday that I am going to single out, and for many many reasons (Far too many than I can put together over here!) and that is JP Rangaswami (Author of the essential Confused of Calcuta). By now there is probably very little that I can say about JP that may not be known to those folks working around the area of Enterprise 2.0, but for those who may not be familiar with him, JP is one of those leading thinkers provocative enough to shake the ground in such a way that would make you think about a specific topic without you wanting, nor realising, about it and then getting the best out of you!

I have known, virtually, JP, for several years; I am a big fan of this blog for a long while now; we follow each other in Twitter, connected in Facebook and whatever else, yet this was the first time we ever met face to face and to me, the entire conference was worth it just to shake the hand of one of those guys who is helping us all make our jobs easier by breaking through the ground in the 2.0 space. Yes, that’s JP. That’s the impression he will leave on you. It will help you get on the right direction with just a few words!

And it is funny I am saying all of this, because this year, time and time again, we kept missing each other on various events and the Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin was the one where we finally met! And I had the privilege of watching him do the next keynote speaker session on the topic of Web 2.0 vs. the Water Cooler: How Web 2.0 Has Changed the Way We Communicate at Work.

In it, JP basically drew the lines of how the corporate world operates and he did that in very very simple terms: Directories, Groups, Communications & Scheduling, all along with the growing need to search and find relevant content and connections to help get the job done! Yes, that’s right, that is basically what a corporation is solidly based on; in such simple terms. Then it is up to us to make it more complex, cumbersome, burdensome to a higher degree that we no longer know what we do and where we work. Simplicity rules!

At the same time, he touched based on the topic of the younger generations entering the workplace and providing a solid account of how they are going to change the way we operate and collaborate with our peers. You can imagine how by now I just kept on nodding rather heavily as I felt rather identified on how I have shifted myself to their model of interacting by moving away from corporate e-mail and it surely was interesting to see how I no longer felt like I am alone in this from the perspective of what other companies are doing or continuing to embark on. Very inspiring and refreshing!

I could go on and on and on detailing what JP’s session was like. Along with the one from Stowe Boyd, which I talked about in a previous entry, it was, by far, my favourite session from the entire event! Worth while attending the event just to listen to JP … and learn! If you would want to find out some more on what it was like check out what other folks captured live during the session. Stunning!

From there onwards, to me that was the end of the conference as I had already planned a lunch meeting with my team and a small group of IBM social software evangelists and we went back to the hotel. Then later in the afternoon we had a very good (And productive) meeting discussing and shaping up activities for 2009 and right after getting ready for a bus tour around the city from where I took a whole bunch of pictures I will be sharing in my Flickr account very shortly. Then dinner and drinks with them and a brilliant way to finish my stay in Berlin and attend the Web 2.0 Expo.

Mind you, there are still a couple of things I would want to mention, before I wrap up. First one is the fact that another good friend of mine, Suzanne Minassian (Product Manager from Lotus Connections) was also one of the speakers (Too bad it was at the same time as JP’s session!) and detailed quite a bit as well how IBM has been embracing social computing within and outside the corporate firewall using technologies like our very own Connections. Recommend checking it out if you would want to find out how I have managed to successfully walk away from corporate e-mail using such social tools

Then, finally, the other session I would want to recommend, but that I couldn’t attend was the one from Tom Raftery on Electricity 2.0: Using the Lessons of the Web to Improve Our Energy Networks (Slide deck can be found over here). There is very little that I would need to say about this one, since another good friend, Andrea Vasceralli (I wish I would have been able to talk to him much longer!), managed to record it and put it up in his own blog over at Electricity 2.0 – Tom Raftery’s Keynote (Web 2.0 Expo Berlin). Believe me, it is worth while the 37 minutes it lasts!

Oh, one very very last thing, I promise. I know that plenty of folks keep asking me to explain, much more in detail, what it is that I do at work being part of that special team of social software evangelists that Gina Poole (Along with Wolfgang Kulhanek, my direct manager) has been leading for a while. Well, instead of me detailing all of that, I am going to take a different approach this time around…

I would go ahead and ask you to go to Jemima Gibbon‘s blog, once again, and read Inverting the Pyramid, where you would be able to go through an interview Jemima did with Gina where she gets to explain what working for the Social Software Programs & Enablement team is like. Then you will understand, perhaps, a bit better what I meant, a bit over a year ago, when I wrote that I was just landing into my dream job!

What a perfect way of finishing up the series of blog posts on the Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin. Yes, I realise there are far too long blog posts, but I am hoping they will help serve as a taster of what it was like being at such an amazing event as the Web 2.0 Expo itself. Hope you enjoy reading through them just as much as I did capturing all of these thoughts, as well as experiencing it live! And from here onwards, regular blogging will resume as usual, but for now … till next time! …

Have a good one everyone!

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