h2. Opening Plenary
p. John Batelle and Tim O'Reilly
* surprised at attendance in workshops, only 30% of people attended workshops in 2004
* don't want to repeat mistakes of the dotcom boom
* web as platform
* that data is becoming a key branding point, navteq has its brand on cars, google maps
* who owns data? that users should own the data
* "Showme" -- visual high order bit (packed demo in 10 minutes)
* "UI Minute" new user experiences in 1 minute
h2(#barrydiller). Barry Diller
p. Barry Diller (BD) interviewed by John Battelle (JB)
* JB: "Why Did you buy Ask?"
* BD: "Is there an offense?" that IAC felt ok, didn't feel like it was being disintermediated, but that the search box was going to keep evolving and that there would be more convergence in that window. Was there an opportunity
* BD: had been looking at Ask and that they liked it, potentially differentiating properties, that this was a real opportunity
* BD: you do these things just by taking every day and figuring out the things you can do to differentiate and get that across to people
* JB: what comes to mind when you think of Google? Does google bother you?
* BD: that what they did to clean the page up, just that simple box, was a kind of genius. That the response time has set the standard for searches.
* BD: that the lesson of Ford vs GM is that if you keep doing the same thing year after year someone will come along to differntiate their product from yours and push you to the sideline
* JB: on google as a media company, how does BD see his company's role?
* BD: producing, financing, distributing new product, new content. That we all know everything will be available digitally. Being distribution agnostic.
* JB: What is your view of this piece of the media puzzle, the prosumer media aka Murdoch's buy of MySpace
* BD: dare you say blog?
* JB: is there value in user generated content?
* BD: What is match.com? we provide the template but we don't provide (thank god) the actual product. Where you get into things where real expertise exists, real talent will win out. but there aren't many of them. That that's where editorship comes. A process where people who have talent and expertise making entertainment products are not going to be displaced by user generated content.
* JB: What do you make of Murdoch's recent moves?
* BD: Murdoch is the only one...complete hands on opportunism running media businesses. It will either be that he's bought these things very cheap, or they are worthless, there is no in between. Rupert Murdoch takes risk, he is agreat risk taker. It'll either come through or not, he's had experience with both.
* JB: When you heard that ebay was buying skype what was your first reaction
* BD: It's probably changed a little, I don't have any business commenting
* JB: did you call your bankers and ask why you didn't do this deal
* BD: you must be crazy!
* JB: isn't it what you paid for the metromedia stations to start Fox?
* BD: you can't buy a company for that amount of its asset value without saying there's 18 things you're going to do . It's for analysts to say, I'm not going to join that throng.
* JB: What's your view on where we are with broadband?
* BD: Policy is non-existent. You kind of have a policy in the area of developing the internet of...not benigh, just neglect. It's taking place, it's not fast. Do we match or exceed other industrial countries in broadband use? No Who is at fault? It cannot be any place else than national policy.It will ..our system means it is a longer, messier development, but it's not true of other things. whatever it is, it's been a shame, we'll get there though.
* JB: What is net neutrality?
* BD: what we want to do...anybody other than telephone companies, cable companies, satellite companies, anybody else wants to keep what we now have that over your connectivity you can press a button and publish everywhere. All the previous technology-led were based on scarcity of all sorts of things, this is the opposite of that. Those had gatekeepers, toll takers. Who would take a cut of your take, it would be a terrible thing if the internet which doesn't have this now got this characteristic. That we enact a law that says you can do anything you want but you cannot get in the way of anyone who puts a service on. You can't restrict their ability to offer a service or charge them for some sort of advantage, regardless of what services you offer. Opposing forces say why enact a law, nothing has happened yet.
* Audience: Do you see the limiting factor for IAC being distribution or increasing breadth of transaction sites?
* BD: that there are lots of things we can do because we're not capital constrained. That if IAC innovated and kept investing in their own services to try to keep up with the next step, that that's the thing to do. It's just ideas and they do things, constraints being opportunism and their own ideas.
* Audience: the conference theme is the architecture of participation. yet you (diller) are dismissive of user created content.
* BD: I don't think one kind of (media) obliterates the other. I'm really dealing with one other thing, we deal with mass audiences, very large audiences, the system of entertainment we have known for a long time. That the children are doing many more tasks than we did and somehow squeezing them in. That entertainment will continue to be professionally created by a relatively few number of people because of the lack of talent. (epc interpret: that there's lots of user generated content, but is it all on par with what people expect? Put another way, will people pay $10 per ticket for an amateur movie over and over again?)
* missed question
* BD: If you have a good idea here, you have so much greater runway, so much greater chance, so much wind at your back. Because every day advertisers are looking for other ways to reach, but these more targeted ways, these more modern ways are better ways of reaching their audience. Good ideas resonate. Unlike other forms of media where there are gatekeepers.
* audience: have you thought of true competition at the network level as a way of getting what you want with network neutrality
* BD: no. You could but it's expensive. That the telcoes want to extract revenue from the data pumping through the lines. That what goes over the ability to get things from the pipe, that the content is neutral.
h2(#skydayton). Sky Dayton / SK Earthlink
* that the future of wireless is live today in South Korea.
fn. [epc aside: the guys at netomat should hook up with SK Earthlink]
* cyworld biggest mobile blogging firm in world. used by 1/3rd of the population of korea 90% of teenagers use cyworld.
* mobile satellite television: cellphone with satellite receiver. http://tu4u.com
* for digital music, ipod has yet to establish itself. 10M music cellphones were sold in Korea last year.
* SKTelecom is number one distributor of music in South Korea, online or offline. Kids can download music to their phones, can share with communities,
* played a number of ads showing these points, eg: an ad of a rave where everyone is listening to music off their cell phones, not the music at the rave itself
* SK-Earthlink working to bring this future to the U.S.
h2(#branferren). Bran Ferren / Applied Minds
* the computer revolution hasn't begun yet (alan kaye via Bran Ferren). That we're still in the doldrums.
* What's holding up the computer revolution? It's not power, moore's law, not technology.
* the infrared urinal in the men's rooms has a greater sense of context than the typical personal computer
* waiting for a breakthrough in the computer-human interface. that we're in the dark ages.
* that engelbart invented keyboard and mouse interfaces nearly forty years ago.
* that this is the next frontier
* in areas where people don't have a choice, you have custom interfaces, that drawing with a pencil and then digitizing is still better than using a touch pad
* that it's pretty strange that the standard interface really hasn't evolved since the first demo by Engelbart
* there's no high performance task that's done on a generalized interface than on a specialized interface.
* compare to musicians who use very specialized instruments aka interfaces to create music
* that we're using Kazoo class interfaces for our computer systems
* innovation is all around us in other areas. in specialized markets, custom interfaces win. Look at the iPod.
* the seduction to standardize interfaces is understandable: low learning curve, expense to do specialized interfaces
* challenge is how do you break out of the mold?
* wideband interfaces 150 degrees wide and 60 degrees high -- that's what displays should be, or 20 megapixels. Shouldn't see flicker or pixels.
* demos some interfaces which were also demoed earlier tihs year at eTech, eg high performance map display system
h2. Philip Rosedale / Second Life
* that it's just open land, they sell it and let people develop it
* that there's a guy who makes $ selling addon features to skydiving kit
* is showing pictures from flickr on left and second life on right
* that second life is unusually present
* another rendition of the real world
h2. Sam Schillace / Writely.com
* web word processor. online demo.
* blend desktop metaphor and web metaphor
h2(#kordestani). A Conversation with Omid Kordestani
p. Kordestani figured out business model for Google.
* OK came from Netscape
* JB: did he have any idea in 1999 what Google could become?
* OK: focus from day one a passion for innovation, to build a company to last, the real vision was why don't we focus on the end user and building great technology
* JB: for anyone who pays attention to google it's hard, you have a new announcement every couple days. These ideas seem to be converging on to a foe whome we're going to have dinner with tomorrow night. What's your view of what everyone seems to be making of, you're form netscape, you watched as that company was eviscerated by Microsoft, is that on your mind?
* OK: Organizing the worlds information is our core mission, the monetization model is working around the world. It's attracting interest and competition. We obsess about users. The spaghetti is part of the culture, 20% time for engineers in new areas. We're tring to learn from the past and not focus on the competition.
* JB: So, just to understand, you don't think much about Microsoft?
* OK: we're not throwing any chairs. I think we'll fail if we focus on the competition.
* JB: So, Wall Street. I imaging when you read the first draft of the S1, it was an unusual S1. It seemed to be a finger to Wall Street and many took it that way. A year and a half in, how is it going? Do you feel the pressure to make the quarter's numbers?
* OK: Yes...(lost track of conversation) that he promised himself that he wants a business model that's more scientific, more predictable. Very, very different kind of business model, absolutely the pressure is there but much confidence in their business model
* JB: that the business model for many seems to be "we'll plug in adsense until we figure things out". What percentage of the market has been played out? How far along are we? How far might adwords go?
* OK: That Larry counts how fast a query comes back and how good the results are. That we're just at the start.
* JB: why do we need ebay, why not just use adwords/adsense to create the marketplace?
* OK: the evolution of the model is always happening, ebay one of their largest customers, ebay's customers make large use of adwords. Their hope was to create an ecosystem to enable additional investments, great content and services on the web.
* JB: Google is increasingly...starting to be compared to Micrsoft in the 1990s as sort of the weather in a way. The thing you have to deal with. That VCs ask what are you going to do when Google decides to compete. How is the rubric where one can understand the business Google is in? There's a lot of stuff there.
* OK: It's a good question. We feel that sense of responsibility. We have great financial success now so we are available to invest for our employees and that changes dynamics but we're sensitive to it. We don't want to be viewed as a gorilla in the valley. That the VCs and their VC partners are busy so they know innovation is happening. Google is trying to innovate, it is a technology company, some of the teams are just two people. It's hard to be nimble as a big company but they are trying to.
* JB: how do you hire ten people a day, fifty people a week, and not blow up?
* OK: we're trying to make it a science. Google as a service was ahead of google as a company from day one. In a mad rush to catch up with their own phenomenon. People want to do business with GOOG around the world The executive team looks at all offers, try to keep quality high, find ways to monitor the science of this process.
* JB: Media. The largest, lions share of revenue, used to be called media revenue, advertising. Reference Everybody Hates Chris. Where is this going? What's googles role in taking media onto this platform.
* OK: I don't think anyone has a choice, the face of music is changing, the face of media will have to change. Podcasting changed his life while recovering from accident. Was able to listen to programs he wanted when he wanted to. That's the way it is with google, information needs to be made available.
* JB: Is google going to play a role? Will adsense replace the "upfront" for Television networks?
* OK: trying out different things, experiementing, placing ads in print media from adsense. That the content is core to their mission and are trying to find the right business model.
* JB: Major media companies fear google. They are not totally sure to trust Google. That Google will eat their lunch.
* OK: Shifts are happening. Rights of content ownersa re paramount, there has to be an equation that works for them. There is nervousness when there is change but Google isn't the sole lead on that. The models will have to change.
* audience: Google charges advertisers per click. As an advertiser wants a percent of sales which close.
* OK: Look at baskets of keywords to ensure that ROI is there on CPC basis for advertisers. If they feel like it would be a better way to conduct the auctions they will move there but they watch the conversions and are satisfied with the way its working.
* OK: doesn't see click fraud as a problem. that there's a whole PhD team on it. It exists but they have sophisticated ways of monitoring it.
* Audience: that google is protrayed as a technology company. Yet there are no publications, no sharing of technology. Why take that direction?
* OK: good question, interesting one. That the culture is a very academic mindset, no precise answer but there is a lot of thinking on how to be a better citizen as a technology company
* Audience (Tim O'Reilly): Don't be evil and double standards. That google is putting out to people selling link status that this is bad, yet the people woh are buying the ads are monetizing the result through Google. That this is a very slippery slope
* OK: That with these large networks there are all kinds of behaviours that develop that Google will not stand for. That when they find these things they go after them. Active effort to find people who participate in AdSense but also spam the index. Not worth it to them to have any kind of business that to scale and not keep its values with it.
* Tim O'Reilly: When you introduced Google Maps and the license terms weren't undersstood, especially WRT Google Maps. How has that played out with NavTeq.
* OK: don't know the specifics of the case.
* TO'R: that data providers are not accounting for uses of data in their licensing agreements
p. epc: end of today's sessions. I'll post some notes later tonight.
Posted in Conference Notes