Here is my first post in a series from the Future of Web Apps 07 conference in London last week. I am not going to go in detail on all the speakers. Here you’ll find some of the stuff that I found especially interesting. For detailed information head over to Ryan Carson and his list of coverage from around the web.
So we gather in London with great anticipation. Big names, interesting speakers. Ryan Carson open the show with bad news. No WIFI. I understand that he’s not to blame. He has the equipment and all, but there’s some serious trouble with the network. OK, full focus on the speakers then. We’ll have to manage with the crappy connection at the Copthorne Tara when we return to the hotel.
All the images in this post can be clicked for a better view.
Mike Arrington of TechCrunch was the first speaker. The hardest working man on the web. He had an interesting look at startups with case studies and hints on what’s working and what’s not.
I think he is completely right on what he has to say about the buzz factor. If you are hard at work marketing Super Audio CD when all the buzz is happening around something called MP3 you should seriously rethink your product. Etc… Remember, stuff gets big when the usability is right and the functionality is crystal clear.
And what are the oportunities according to Mr. Arrington?
1. The combination of online and offline content. What will be possible with Adobe’s Apollo platform, Firefox 3.0 and interesting combinations of a file system and html/flash/Ajax.
2. Someone that solves the problem of DRM and music, movies and TV
3. Data and service portability. teqlo, ning and pipes was mentioned here.
4. Still lots of opportunities regarding mobile services.
Tara Hunt of Citizen Agency had lots of information on social networks and is a big advocate for open systems with possibilities of sharing. The simple but rich API of Flickr is a good example. To get the word of mouth going you need to build in a variety of ways to share early on. Support blogs, rss and easy to copy and paste permanent urls.
Matthew Ogle and Anil Bawa Cavia of Last.fm shared lots of experience from their work on Last.fm. And as you can see from the slide above, some interesting numbers from their service. They where talking about how they go from a service to a platform. In this transition openness is the key. They also talked about all the attention data that Last.fm collects and how they plan to use it. Here are some bullets:
1. Microchunk it – Reduce the content to its simplest form
2. Free it – Put it out there without walls around it or strings on it
3. Syndicate it – Let anyone take it and run with it
4. Monetize it – Put the monetization and tracking systems into the microchunk
They also had an interesting case study on how they solved the problem of “tag cloud spam”. Lots of people tagging Paris Hilton with tags like “officially shit” etc… Of course you could agree on that, but the tag cloud is pretty useless. They solved this by combining the tag cloud data with the attention data. The tags that people that actually listen to Paris Hilton weighs more than the tags from people that simply tag it with “untalented” and never listen to her.
So, the most important tags for a band like U2 is from people that actually listen to U2 etc…
Check back to eirikso.com, sign up for an email update or add my feed. My next post from this conference will include some very interesting stuff from Bradley Horowitz from Yahoo! and Kevin Rose from Digg.com