Gnomedex day 2

Day 2 seems to be off to a better start than yesterday. Dave
Winer talked a little about how users (I hate that term) design successful technology. Nothing astounding, but Dave was hopeful and encouraging. This was unlike Marc
Canter and Steve
Gillmor yesterday who came off as bitter and angry. I like hopeful ex-hippies more than angry ones.

Pud Kaplan (formerly of F*****.com) talked about things I can't even remember now. Hmmm. It is amazing how little of what has been said so far sticks.

Chris Messina and Tara Hunt talked about keeping things simple. The started with a silent and very idealistic slide show. To be clear, it was idealistic in the best way. I loved their message that success is not necessarily millions of customers and an IPO.

Kaplan, director of technology at Warner Bros. Records, is talking about music, fans and community. Interesting, but not super compelling. Got a lot more interesting when the audience got involved in the discussion.

Kalia was nominated to fill some open time and talked about open communities and the need for better tools to help existing and emerging organizations.

Second Life was demoed by former Microsoftie Beth Goza. This is a very cool product/world. It reminds me, in a strange way, of Microsoft 3D Movie Maker which my two boys loved to use when they were 12 or so. Of course, Second Life is much more than 3DMM. It is a full virtual world in which you can create, live and relate.

Halley Suitt, CEO of Top Ten Sites & Stylefeeder, talked about the "creative leader." She asked a question of the audience:

How do you create a good environment for your developers?

  • My favorite answer was from Werner Vogel, "Don't create anything larger than two pizza teams." If you need more than two pizzas to feed the team, then the team is too big.
  • Hire great people
  • Give them the opportunity to learn
  • Let them do what they do best
  • Don't make management the only career path for your developers

Ross, co-found of the Firefox project, spoke on how did they popularized the Firefox browser. The audience seemed to want to focus on where Firefox is going. Dave Winer tried to make a good point and then fell into his cranky zone. Steve Gillmor joined him. Too bad that you couldn't pay attention to their points due to their delivery.

Zawodny from Yahoo used his session to provide an open bitch session (that's what bloggers are best at) about social software on the web. These things really never go as the discussion leader plans. The discussion is really focused on who our customers are and how we can focus on their needs. We shouldn't be focused exclusively on hip, young tech aficionados. What about older people, people in other cultures, people in other locations, people of other languages.

PT is here doing his thing. If you are a geek and you haven't heard PT or seen Make magazine you are really missing out. Today he asked the question, "What 'open source' hardware projects should be done. The audience had a few interesting ideas, but they were pretty undeveloped. High on PT's list was water projects (new sources for water and water purification). This is a huge issue for the developing world. Water is becoming the new scarce resource for this century.

Chris Pirillo is now giving a pitch for TagJag an idea for making egosurfing ㇞璘˷ቷኂeasier. I think it is essentially a search aggregator. He's got three members of a VC firm on stage (Rick Segal & two others) and after a 15 minute pitch they are going to tell him whether they will fund the project. He's not making a great pitch. Too much time spent talking about the history of the idea, different name ideas, blah, blah, blah. Not enough focus on the key questions:

  • Why would I use it? (Why should I care?)
  • How will it become a business? (ads I assume)

The pitch is hugely geeky, but it was passionate. He clearly should have planned out the presentation and practiced more.

The feedback from the VCs:

  • Slow down the pitch
  • Needed to hear about why you need funding vs. bootstrapping the idea without funding
  • What do you want to achieve? What one thing do you want to do well?
  • Why are you the best person to lead the company?
  • Why are you better than Wink?
  • Need a clearer expression of your vision

Nice feedback from the crowd. Lots of love for Chris. My take is that it is an interesting idea that is pretty raw.

The MindJet folks have been live outlining the conference via a screen on the side of the stage. You can download the files from the MindJet blog. It would have been cool if the OneNote team (blogs here, here, here and here) had handed out OneNote trials and run a shared session. Of course, this wouldn't have worked for the many Mac users.

Comments (1)

  1. Donald Mills says:

    Thanks for the observations. It’s nice to ‘attend kindof like a fly on the wall. Most of all, I went the line ‘PT’. What nice artwork. Did he do these???

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