Steven and I are back from the Web2Con, heads spinning and voices hoarse. We talked to so many people that it’d be impossible to document or even specifically recall or record the details, but I thought I’d try to post a few highlights and random musings. In no particular order:
Jim Buckmaster, the CEO of craigslist.org, while participating in a panel on collective intelligence, said (without a hint of irony or sarcasm), “We could probably be making tens of millions of additional dollars by putting some advertising on the site, but our users haven’t asked for that feature so we haven’t built it.” — Not your typical Silicon Valley CEO, that’s for sure. (The site enjoys 5 BILLION page views per month.)
I chatted for a while with the VP of Marketing for Timebridge, which helps groups of people coordinate Outlook calendar scheduling. We explored the possibility of using Grupthink as a collaborative agenda/priority decision tool.
Care2.com is a 6-million member social network of conscious consumers who want to make a difference. Their CTO Matt McGlynn and I had a long conversation about Confessions of an Economic Hitman and how Grupthink might be used to to enhance the conversations of Care2 members.
We went on a Chinatown tour with Richard White, formerly of Kiko and now the developer of Slimtimer, and talked at length about how Grupthink could be used by software companies to aggregate customer feedback. Richard also graciously offered to be a Grupthink emissary and schwag-distributor in the Bay Area.
We shared two excellent dinners, our first night in town, and the last night of the Summit, with Greg Cutler of Swisscom. Thanks Greg! See you in Zurich one of these days.
One of longest geek conversations I had last week was at a lunch table of 5 engineers from various companies about the virtues of the IMAP email protocol and the possibility of its extension to other uses. Most of it was over my head. The funny thing about the conversation for me though was when one of the ‘engineers’ (who really knew his IMAP) actually turned out to be a venture capitalist, but not until the very end of lunch.
Another investor I chatted with happened to be an angel who gave a couple guys from Stanford some seed money to experiment in their garage a few years ago. Their company turned out to be pretty successful. Amazing story.
I had an impromptu chat with Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Architect of Microsoft Photosynth — some are calling his and Gary Flake’s presentation the Demo of the Year. Afterwards in the hallway, Blaise listened carefully to my description of Grupthink, asked a couple questions, pondered it a moment, and provided truly thoughtful feedback. Thanks Blaise!
On Friday night, we went on the Bubble-free pub crawl — or at least we tried to. There were some last minute scheduling and location changes and we only hooked up with the group at the very end — but that’s where the real fun began. I was of course pleased we were able to make it to two breweries along the way, and the lengthy conversations I had with Stowe Boyd of Blue Whale Labs were invigorating, enlightening, and challenging; some of the best of my week in SF. Lots of food for thought and I look forward to additional conversations with Stowe.
The role of the Web 2.0 Summit in the evolution of Grupthink was one of discovery and vision refinement. I for one am still a tad overwhelmed with the quantity and quality of conversations I had, but as the dust settles, I look forward to helping Grupthink along through the next phases of growth and development. Here we go…