Le Web 3 (Day one)


Dark Side of the Web

Panel with Jaewoong Lee (Daum), Dan Rose (Facebook), Chris Alden (SixApart) and a lawyer.

  • Anonymity allows people to be expressive/rude; if you're rude in real life you probably will be online too. South Korea developed government-run program for Internet identity which is used by top 35 websites. However, 80,000 identities were stolen earlier this year. Keeping history on a site-by-site basis is probably the best way for people to 'behave' and still maintain privacy as it's decentralized. Strangely enough, Korea is outsourcing its community moderation (censorship?) to China.
  • Facebook's value comes from using your real identity. There isn't really any spam on Facebook either because your friends won't spam you.
  • Having said that, Facebook messed up with Beacon. They didn't respond quickly enough to give users control, and users expected it because everything previously had been controllable. There was also a lack of communication about the project initially (they claim it wasn't to do with advertising, but just coincidence it was launched simultaneously.)
  • Targeted advertising: obviously no PII, but more social advertising. Friends can 'advertise' to each other. Ads should appear the same way as content, and not be intrusive.
  • 90% of UGC (user-generated content) is crap, but 99% of TV is crap. Internet is winning; content is usually relevant to *someone*.

Persistent Communication

Talk from Evan Williams (Twitter)

  • Everyone is using Twitter. Well, at least everyone at this conference is using it.
  • Adding constraint to a product can help users. (Obviously, look at Apple)
  • What can we take away to create something new?
  • Twitter = Blogger MINUS comments MINUS post titles MINUS pictures MINUS template MINUS formatting PLUS 140 character limit.
  • Twitter actually started with the mobile interface first, which forced the web UI to maintain simplicity.
  • API was also kept simple, and so people built apps to fill in the gaps.
  • Human interface cognitive load is proportional to the number of clicks/keystrokes/gestures. The usability of an interface is inversely geometrically proportional to its cognitive load. - Tantek Celik

What can we create by taking away?

  • Only post one photo per day (fotolog). Ended up with average of 11 comments/photo (very high) and very high quality. Compare to flickr.
  • Only upload a picture and add a yes/no button. Compare to most dating sites.
  • Restrict social network to 20 friends. Compare to myspace. (Actually, this is what the 'top friends' application does on Facebook, and it's the most popular application)

Why books and school lectures still exist

Hans Rosling (the man behind Gapminder)

  • He actually wanted to present remotely, but they wouldn't let him.
  • Does some very nice real-time presentations using Gapminder. He made two striking points about Africa
    1. Africa has advanced extremely quickly. He used a graph of life expectancy vs GDP. Below is the current situation vs. Sweden throughout the years.
    2. The current state of advancement within African countries is massive (~200 years). You cannot treat them as all being in the same range.
      Sierra Leone Sweden 1709
      Mozambique Sweden 1810
      Uganda Sweden 1877
      India Sweden 1910
      Guatemala Sweden 1933
      Brazil Sweden 1953
      South Korea Sweden 1983
      Japan Sweden 2004 (equal)
  • Another illustration is Singapore vs. France in terms of Mortality Rate and GDP compared from 1931 to 2007. In 1931 Singapore was far behind in both areas, now it has completely overtaken France.
  • Having said all that, none of these facts & figures work without having storytellers. And watching Rosling, it's obviously true.

What is social about design

Philippe Starck. Very interesting guy but difficult talk to summarize. His main points revolve around responsible products and responsible business. Creating products that solve problems rather than (just) make money is important. Other topics covered with eco-friendliness, organic products, and ubiquitous/miniaturization of computers.

Perhaps the best part was at the end when Scoble got up on stage and asked him to review the Kindle. "It's almost modern" was his response.

Technology impact on corporate culture (Google)

  • Drivers of change: ubiquitous connectivity, democratization of the tools of production, falling cost of storage/increase of processing power. We double storage capability every 13 months; by 2020 a device the size of an iPod could store all the content ever created.
  • At Google, revenue and profitability are an afterthought. First they try to identify customer needs and address them as fast as possible.
  • Cultural innovation - Dublin (reliability), London (apps for mobile), Zurich (search, geo infrastructure), Munich (apps for mobile), Trondheim (infrastructure, news), Haifa (localisation, ads, search quality)
  • Empowerment: 20% slack time. Small teams.
  • Speed - Fast is better than slow. Don't waste time making 2-year business plans. Release early, release often. Get feedback from customers. It's not about big beating small, but rather who is faster. Change your development approach to bring things to market as quickly as possible. (emphasis added)

Storytelling and technology - evolution of society

June Cohen from TED. Good talk. Basically pointing out that technology is returning us to the traditional (old) ways of communication. TV, newspaper, etc. and mass media are actually _new_ ways, not old. Big media is due to become smaller.

Personalization .. 2.0 .. 3.0

Jonathan Medved - Vringo

  • Mobile content will become richer and needs to catch up to the web quickly
  • Look for video, animations, avatars, and photos to become more prominent
  • UGC will also take off just like it did on the web
  • Visual ringtones: need to be symmetrical and it plays on the called party's phone. Needs to be frequently changed as video gets old quickly. Could be purchased or uploaded by users.
  • The future of mobile personalization will be around straddling a call or SMS
    • Before call: viral ad, avatar, photo, licensed or UGC content
    • During call: enterprise ad, yellow pages, consumer-pushed content, ad-supported calls
    • After call: branding ad, e-commerce, call to action, voting game
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