h2(#sergeybrin). A Conversation with Sergey Brin
* JB: How's your head?
* SB: The number one factor that contributed to our success was luck. We were very fortunate to have
started out at Stanford. It's been a wild ride, but getting used to it.
* JB: google has come up several times during the conference ...reference Terry Semel, let's judge google as it is, it is a portal, and it's number four...how do you respond?
* SB: Based on my reading of that, that would make us the underdog. I think our food is pretty good and we try to improve it. But you know if you rank our cafeteria it's probably not in the top 100 or 1000. [much laughter from audience]
* JB: referneces the MSFT dinner and Yusuf Mehdi who claimed they were the underdog, do you see MSFT as an underdog?
* SB: I'd be excited to be viewed as the leader in terms of technology. We're not number one in terms of business deals or some huge platform or some of the other things that MSFT enjoys to its advantage. But if we're number one in technology, I like it.
* JB: Are you comfortable with your share, your market share, your 91 P/E
* SB: I don't consider myself a valuation expert...there are many professionals who do that. In terms of
search market share I'm satisifed with that...primarily the way people come to google, and stay, is because of the search experience.
* JB: back to the portal ...you had a clean page, is that going to continue?
* SB: obviously there are other products we are exploring, Gmail arose out of frustration that I (SB) and others
had that we didn't have a good solution to manage our own email. I think it's helped people who use other email systems.
There are areas that have been overlooked by the industry, much as search quality and relevance was overlooked in the late
90s by the portals at the time. I think that we have a lot of technologies and distribution and infrastructure that
allows us to help in some of these areas. We'd be foolish not to attempt things in these areas.
* JB: Google as the weather How do you think about the idea of innovation, you have a platform for innovation, do you think of that ecosystem of people innovating outside google when you make a decision to add something to the Google suite
* SB: I don't know what will happen with the feed reader I'm guessing that a lot of the companies with feedreaders are about to get calls from Yahoo and MSN.
The other thing we care about is enabling other businesses.
That 1000s and 1000s of non-search sites use ads now.
Worried about all this great content disappearing off the web. Sites were shutting down and that makes our search less useful if contnet disappears.
So one of our goals was to help sustain these online businesses.
* JB: You brought up content, I wanted to ask,Terry Semel, Barry Diller, Jonahtan Miller all highlighted content both prosumer and "professional" content. All of them saw that as an important part of what they will do on the web. What is your vie wof that?
* SB: "We fundamentally believe in sending people to other sites giving people access to content but we do not believe we need to be producing the content ourselves" We want to send people to the best sites. We're really not about trying to create all of our own content, we're about sending them off.
* audience: Buzz about google office, do you see a place for a web based office suite and is that something google would be interested in
* SB: confounding issues is that there is a GOffice online office suite which is not google.
I don't think that trying to take previous technology and port them directly to ...the minicomputer in AJAX does not make sense. I think that the web and all the technologies today give you the opportunity to do new things and better things. We don't have any particular plans. We are going to try to do our things, other companies will do theres, I'm sure there's some combination that people can use
* Audience: Heard earlier in Web 2.0 that click fraud is not a problem, form your perspective is it a problem
* SB: I'm sorry you got that [impression], it's a problem and we continue to investigate it with detection systems
and detection teams. A lot of our advertisers, in fact most, they care about getting the conversions and making
the sales and they know the exact ROI they are getting.
The ad system is fairly complex, aside from the fraud prevention measures, it's not so simple to commit fraud
It doesn't mean there's absolute protection for people.
I think it is a low level.
* Dave McClure: What areas do you see as focussing on, what will you leave to others [what's safe to invest in?]
* SB: I disagree that areas we enter are poor investments.
A lot of the things you see are bottom up projects, a lot of times they surprise us.
Most of our successes have had nothing to do with anything an executive thought was a good idea.
[So, there is no grand plan]
JB: an observation that these things that trickle up tend to look like things that are in portals and give the illusion that there is indeed a plan
SB: I imagine that our teams are dissatisified with what they see on portals [that that serves as the root for new ideas]
* Dare Obasanjo:
* SB: we have focussed on where we can impact something, where people spend a lot of time, and where we thought we could
make it more efficient. I'm not the best person to predict the next generation. There are lots of ways communication
could be improved. It's really hard to predict, that's why we place things up on labs.
* Audience: form a personal level can you address where you think video search is going or where you want it to go?
* SB: I think people underestimate the quality of information present in video. I think you'll find that if you take a discovery channel special about some scientific question or a nova show, they actually have extraordinarily high quality content. It just so happens that some of the best quality content we have is in video form. I think making it searchable will really unlock it where you want to know about subject X.
h2(#prosumer). Discussion: Prosumer Media Mena Trott [sixapart] , Mark Fletcher [bloglines], Rich Skrenta [topix]
p. interview by John Battelle
* JB: So now prosumer media is a big business. Did you foresee this when you started your own company?
* MF: I started bloglines to scratch my own itch, I had a bookmark list 100 lines long, if I have this problem others have this problem
* RS: we're all about directing people to great content. People at newspaper companies are extremely savvy about the net
* JB: the media companies get upset that they can't fence people into their sites, so are they really that happy with it?
* RS: you wnat good traffic.
* JB: I remember a blog post you made [to Mena] it was Big or Small?
* MT: it stemmed from the converstation we were having with Jason [Fried, 37 Signals] Defending big (100 peopl) vs small (3 people).
The whole idea that what our mission was as a company was that we wanted to make a real impact.
Yes we could have been a lifestyle business, but the day we took funding we wanted to do something more than that.
What's web 2.0, after this week it seems to be consolidation.
* JB: How do you feel about Google having a feedreader [to Mark]
* MF: they are joining a list of companies that have feedreaders which validates our existing work.
Everyone who surfs the internet on a regular basis is going to need a tool, bloglines and aggregators change the
way people interact with the internet.
* JB: Google is both a competitor and partner [to Rich Skrenta]
* RS: absolutely a good partner.
We all compete with Microsft, and Google , so I think we can work with them and compete with them, it doesn't have to be all or nothing.
* JB: It's pretty direct, with livejournal vs blogger
* MT: it's not always about
* JB: do you believe the companies you guys are running are going to help with a shift towards individuals and away from celebrity?
* MT: that's we believe in with LiveJournal and our new Comet project. That it's about communication more than publishing.
* JB: Are you in the media business or in the converation business?
* MT: first and foremost it's communications
* JB: you built business atop a roiling platform of feeds and converations, what do they look like in five years, what's changed in the past year
* RS: We are very early, we are where the web was in 1994. Over the next 2-45 years we'll go from a million bloggers to ten million or 100 million. So how are oyu going to find stuff you want to read
* MT: I think it's funny, I've been blogging for five years and that there's people who have stopped blogging because it's too public and too hard with the larger audiences and that's the fun of livejournal is that you can have these conversations with small teams
* JB: what about video? video in bloglines?
* MF: I think there are disadvantages to video and audio, it's difficult to skim, the search technology isn't there. There will be video and audio but text will be king ofr the foreseeable future. Look at email and how incredibly powerful it was. I think we'll come out with more nuanced forms of communication. There will be more segmentation and nuanced forms of communication.
* MT: Everyone is trying to figure out how many people are blogging and I don't think there is an accurate number. What matters is how active people are. How do you keep people engaged [both as authors and readers]?
* JB: Spam. Earlier we saw spam spikes in blogs. I guess with any user generated content we're going to see this emerge. What do you do about it, is it a threat?
* MF: We have a natural barrier to spam blogs because we only crawl sites that our users subscribe to.
* RS: I think 90% of the internet will be spam in two years. I have an email address since 1991 that gets 4000 spam per day.
This is what created the opportunity for Google. Employing automated techniques to filter out will
* Audience: I'm a religious bloglines user but it hasn't really changed much. I'm concerned that the new stuff and innovation drops off when these companies are bought. How do you continue to innovate when you get bought?
* MF: We'll have to stop drinking scotch all day. It's perfectly valid criticism, part of our problem is keeping up with growth and scaling. At the time of the acquistion we did not have the best infrastcuture in the world. We want to keep the trains running. We've got most of that solved. You will see us start to innovate again
* Jason Calcanis: Rich, most our traffic from google news and topix is about equal, i think that in competition with google you're keeping up with them. Mark we have 50,000 users on your service and we want to monetize them, and now with Google's RSS reader, what is your monetization strategy.
* MF we haven't settled on a business model yet. There are a couple different ways we can go, one is not to monetize and use bloglines to drive users to Uncle barry's empire. The important message is that you, other content providers, partners, we don't exist without you.
* RS: we want ot have a beneficial relationship with content partners. If we're not sending you the pageview there has to be an economic tie in to be beneficial to publishers.
* Audience: the only business model here seems to be to get acquired. What do you tell the people that there is no business model out there?
* RS: we self funded so we cared about revenue from day one. that caused us to innovate in ways I don't think we would have. The hygeine of building in from day one of how to make money with your product [is beneficial]
* MT: If we wanted to flip we should have done it two years ago. It made sense to just have a traditional business, we saw the bubble, but it's a long game.
h2(#teens). Discussion: What the Teens Want, Featuring a Panel of Teenagers Safa Rashtchy
p. Conducted by "Safa Rashtchy":http://www.piperjaffray.com/popup.aspx?id=361&analystid=133 . Five teens on stage with Safa.
p. Update: "Another good writeup":http://www.reemer.com/archives/2005/10/08/web_20_conversation_with_five_teenagers/
* that there are 37 million teens [us?] online and they spend more time online than the next age group.
p. [ I'm guessing on the spelling here sorry:]
* Diamond Labeau, spends about 100 a month on games and ringtones
* Sean Spiriachi, spends time on myspace or IM
* Steffi Petit, spend time on myspace or livejournal, keep updated on my friends life and my life
* Sascha Bolkuv, freshman in college, mostly use for research, use myspace and facebook
* Jake [G?B?]Rombock, most of my time online is in google for research, some time in myspace but i try to limit that
* SR do you know anyone who doesn't use MySpace
* Sean: that some people have stopped, or create profiles to say don't use it, but he [sean] spends a lot of time on myspace checking for comments
* Steffi: I spend 99.9% of my time on myspace, no actually I'm on it a lot, my friends are on it, some have fake joke profiles.
I use it to keep in contact with those I do know.
* SR: are there other sites like myspace?
* Sean: facebook is one
* Sascha: when you get to college myspace isn't a big deal anymore, facebook is more convenient for people who are in college
* SR: Where do you go to search?
* Diamond: I usually go to google and type in what I'm searching for
* Sean: when I search things I use google and google images like when you want to do a powerpoint presentation
* SR: You do powerpoint in high school
* Sean: Yeah. When I want music I look on itunes then go to a bit torrent web site [oink?
* Steffie: I use google for images or webcrawler or ask jeeves
* SR: do you like ask jeeves?
* Steffi: I like it because I can type in an actual question and it will give an actual response
* Sascha: I use google and yahoo, and use itunes to search but then DC++ to get music I don't pay for music anymore
* Jake: I also use google, and that little language tools thing is more helpful than a lot of the interlanguage dictionaries I also use torrents to get the new Daily Shows. For music I use IRC usually, you leave things on overnight you get amazing amounts of media for free overnight
* SR: how do you get music into your ipod
* jake: when I first got it i was into paying for it but with bittorrent I get a whole album in 30 minutes. My music files were gone so I used my friends ipod and copied the files to my computer so their safety program doesn't work
* Sascha: I used itunes for downloading maybe ten times. Have 1500 songs on ipod, paid for maybe ten.
* Steffi: I have never paid for downloading a song. I download at my friends house either they pay for it or their connection is better or I take music from their itunes
* SR: I'm going to mention some companies tell me what you think
* SR: AOL
* Diamond: I think it's good I like AOL Instant Messenger
* SR: instant messenging, what do you use?
* Jake: I use AOL and Yahoo to talk to friends
* Steffi: I use AIM and depending on who of my friends use MSN, I use that
* sasha : I use MSN and AIM, MSN for friends in Brazil who don't have AOL
* Dave: I use AOL instant messenger
* SR: how do you access web
* Diamond: i use it on my phone or on my tmobile sidekick
* SR: Yahoo
* Diamond: I use yahoo when I chat or search
* Jake: Yahoo didn't really exist for me until recently. I didn't like their search or web page layout.
* Steffi: I don't really use it except I used it once for an email calendar otherwise I don't really use it
* Sascha: I have an email account but don't really use it much, as an alternative I go there if google isn't helping
* Jake: I think the email is kind of cool and the news is useful and that's what I use it for
* SR: ebay
* Jake: I used it maybe five times but there's always that risk that someone's going to rip me off so I don't use it
* Sascha: I use it occasionally, my mom is obsessed, I'm afraid of being ripped off. I buy from Amazon
* Sean: I use amazon, not ebay
* SR I give you $100 you can do anything you want with it, how would you spend it
* Sean: I would put it away and save for a surfboard
* SR: where would you buy the surfboard
* Sean: some used surfboard shop, I wouldn't buy it online
* Diamond: I'd spend on cellphones, majority on ringtones and games, spends 50-60 on ringtones per month now
* Steffi: I would spend it on concert tickets, i buy those online, or music or shoes
* SR where would you buy
* Steffi: True in SF on Haight Street, I probably wouldn't buy online
* Sashca: food, clothes
* Jake: I'd spend my $100 on doritos and gasoline
* SR: let's say I ask you to buy a new phone wher ewould you buy it online?
* Diamon: maybe t-mobile olnine
* Sean: I would go to verizon to get a phone compatible with my service, want a phone with vcast, i don't watch much tv
* steffi: i'd go to sprint because my family is there
* SR: I asked the wrong question, let's say you wanted to buy a CD player
* Sean: CD Player? [much laughter]
* SR: ok, digital camera
* Sean: I'd go to downloads.com or google/froogle to read reviews and buy from there. Froogle is awesome
* Diamond: I'd probably search for it
* Steffi: I actually don't know I already have one, I don't know where I'd go to look at it maybe Best Buy
* sascha: I'd go online and search for what's best then go to ebay and amazon and compare
* Jake: I'd look at the major companies that sell online then I'd proabbly go on froogle and compare
* SR: What would you like to do with the web that you can't do now?
* Jake: I want to get rid of all that spyware, please
* Sascha: books? it's easier you probably know this by now we don't pay for things
* SR: Who watches TV and how much?
* Diamond: i spend equal time on TV or online or on the phone, I'll im a friend while watching a show
* Sean: I don't have a lot of time to watch TV I get home and go straight to the computer and do homework and use myspace.
* Steffi: I don't watch that much tv I'm on the computer a lot, when I do watch it's usually one sohw like L&O SVU or 24
* Sascha: I watch the cooking channel, maybe an hour or so per day
* Jake: addicted to really bad tv, some times cable news cause with fox news you have to know the enemy?
* Audience: we've noticed you're very finicky, when you see sites like myspace do homepage takeovers? what turns you off?
* Sean: I really had ads on the site. Really hate popup ads
* Sascha: no one pays attention to popups. i like google because it's the cleanest other places are too cluttered and it's counterproductive to go to those places
* Audience: what do you wnat to see on the next generation of portable devices?
* Sean: dude do it, sounds awesome.
* Sascha: do a video ipod
* [ aside: even the ones who download music pay $2.50 for ringtones]
* Audience: Where do you go for news?
* Sean: I'll go to multiple news sites, Reuters, CNN I dont trust any one news site
* Diamon: i go to newspapers or CNN
* Sascha: i go to msn.com or cnn.com
* Audience: do you use tivo or skype?
* blank stare on skype
* none have tivo
* Audience: in terms of IM what more would you like from it?
* Sean: kill the ads, just leave it as IM I'm just trying to talk to my friends
* Diamond: would like IM video
p. *Note:* for the remaining sessions I just took written notes as my laptop battery mysteriously went from 50% to 20% in a matter of minutes, apologies for the lack of detail.
h2. High Order Bits/Show Me/UI Minute Bram Cohen , Scott Cook, Konstantin Guericke, Mark A. Phillips
h3(#bramcohen). Bram Cohen
p. Bram talked about the _Internet Operating System_ or his take on it. Um. What can I say, it seemed like a joke and I got nothing out of it.
h3(#markphillips). Mark Phillips, head of R&D for the U.S. Joint Forces Group (Committee?)
* Noted that we didn't hear anything during the previous sessions about edutainment: learning through game play
* they focus on teamwork through distributed simulation. That games themselves are usually closed but in the military everything is _open_ and has to connect to, communicate with and talk to another.
* I may have misheard this, but he referenced something called the _twitchspeed generation_. That the current recruits have been raised on connectivity and gameplay and are used to that and expect those sorts of interfaces in the technology they use, whether for simulation or reality.
* Creating a _Global Information Grid_ or GIG, train anywhere, build virtual cities, weather, and focus on a suspension of disbelief.
* Problems: web services are too slow, need to be able to connect and exchange data in real time, hiuge amounts of data involved in networked simulations, problems with provisioning of software on the Grid, problems with Grids not capable of running multiple interconnected programs
p. He then broke for a demo over the network with colleagues around the US. The demo was setup as a checkpoint in Baghdad. Different people played different roles, one role was to be an insurgent who starts shooting at the U.S. soldiers. Now, I am not a big supporter of the war in Iraq and haven't been, but it was sickening to hear the audience laughing as the gunfight ensued and the insurgent bounced back as he was "hit" as well as when one of the US soldiers got hit.
h3(#scottcook). Scott Cook, Intuit
p. Talked about how one of their failures was in using IRS terminology for Turbo Tax, rather than plain English. Example given was the difference between a _cash_ and _non-cash_ gift. In the IRS world, cash is money, not cash, and non-cash is a physical asset that has a value.
p. They are creating something like Facebook but for companies. Reminds me of IBM's internal telephone directory.
p. New product, _Medical Expense Manager_, developed because of an employee's experiences dealing with insurance companies and medical companies over bills from a child's illness
h3(#guericke). Konstantin Guericke from LinkedIn
p. Demoed some Web2.0-ish mashups of LinkedIn:http://linkedin.com/ with job sites. That you can surf a job listing and then pull up a linkedin tool to determine if the job is in your linkedin network.
h2(#pierreomidyar). A Conversation with Pierre Omidyar
p. Pierre is the founder and current chairman of "eBay":http://ebay.com/
p. John Battelle disclosed that he is starting a company [a blog network] and received funding from the Omidyar Network.
p. Omidyar initially focused his eBay wealth on a foundation, giving to non-profits. But he wanted to make more of an impact of the world and had an epiphany: if you want an impact in the world, why do you think it can only occur in a non-profit world?
p. The idea that eBay could create communities of trust was an eye-opener for him.
p. So he created the _Omidyar Network_ to invest in companies which foster individual self-empowerment.
* Looking for businesses which can only be successful if they foster self-empowerment.
* Adam Smith quote: fiven the right environment, the pursuit of self-interest leads to an increase in the general welfare.
* Q: What is the environment that needs to exist for this to be true?
** Does it have a level playing field?
** Does it foster internaction and community?
** Do the participants have a sense of ownership?
* Then, does the business model take these features into account and foster social change?
* Have to be rigourous in approaching deals. The business model must lead to social impact.
* Q: How do you measure social impact, return?
* The evidence of business success may indicate the social impact. But no fixed metric [yet]
* Q: How does it scale? How does _social good_ scale with _money good_?
* A: Social groups which focus solely on social good tend to fail in scaling. That it's key to find businesses who only succeed financially by doing social good.
* Q: Have you looked at disaster investment, disaster preparedness?
* A: No, but I'm concerned about it
p. [Note that these are only a few of the Q&A's, I just didn't write all of them down or my notes are too vague to post publicly]
Posted in Conference Notes