Three Web 2.0 Questions
1) What are the biggest differences between the east coast and west coast web communities?
The biggest difference is that NYC is home to a number of industries that have much larger communities than web technology. In the bay area, technology is the dominant industry. What that means is people who work in web technology in NYC don't socialize outside of work with the same people they work with. If you work in web technology in NYC, you are unlikely to run into people in a similar line of work at your kid's school, youth sports on the weekend, or a dinner party. In the bay area that happens all the time. I think this is both good and bad. The bay area makes it so much easier to connect with others for hiring, business development, funding, etc. But NYC provides a more balanced lifestyle than can help people who work in web technology understand how to create services with mainstream potential. It's very easy to get sucked into an echo chamber in the bay area and that happens less in NYC.
2) What's the most important, cool, scary, or useful product or technology that's recently arrived or on the horizon?
Android powered phones, like T-Mobile's Dream, are really mind boggling to me. When you can put any software on them you want, when you can hack the phone, when you can connect it to any carrier, when you can connect to any other device, the potential for the mobile phone/computer is limitless. I think the iPhone pales in comparison to the disruptive potential of Android powered phones.
3) Aside from your own talk, what's the most interesting / entertaining speaker, talk or panel happening at Web 2.0 Expo?
Instead of picking just one, here are some things I wouldn't miss at web 2.0 NYC:
1) My friend Charlie and my partner Albert are kicking off the conference at 9am on Tuesday with a case study class on startup decision making. These are two guys who have spent their careers (so far) on both sides of the startup table and have spent time as both VCs and entrepreneurs. I think this is going to be great.
2) Wednesday morning at 10am is going to be a tough call. Jonah Peretti is doing a session on viral marketing and I've not met many people who understand how this stuff works better than Jonah. But my partner Albert is on again at that time with a session on cloud computing that should not be missed for those interested in this rapidly developing sector.
3) If you've never seen Joshua Schachter talk about designing and scaling social systems, you owe it to yourself to do that. He's on at 1:20pm on Wednesday.
4) 3pm to 4pm on wednesday on the main stage is going to be great with back to back presentations from Maria Thomas, CEO of Etsy on "How To Grow A Company" and Gary Vaynerchuk on "How To Build A Personal Brand".
5) Clay Shirky on Thursday at 9:30am. I would never miss seeing Clay talk about the web. He understands it so much better than most of us.
6) David Kidder and friends on web advertising automation. David's an amazing presenter and he and his colleagues will make a very complicated topic easy to understand and you'll leave with real actionable things you can do in your own company.