Live Blogging At SuperNova – Washington, DC

Afternoon at SuperNova: Lots of activity and multi collaborative and community software experience. Notetaking was done through a collaborative tool called Hydra which operates over rendezvous and TCP/IP to share and participate in live editing and note taking. I'll blog more about this later. Off to the reception then dinner.

Industry Perspective

Craig Silverstein, Director of Technology, Google

He's talking about Google's mission statement. Mentions most companies have employees that don't know its mission statement. It's important at google. Everyone knows, understands and lives it.

Google Mission Statement: Organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Do things that matter. Relentless focus on the user.

He's showing early beta user interface of Google. Barely text and an input field (search). Publication called it anorexic.

His presentation is big on these bright primary colors, they change each slide. Does wake you up and move you from beyond what this really is: another powerpoint presentation… yet simple, focused and clear. Nice.

He's talking about how key communication is in project teams. And how Google works to foster this. Don't err too much on the side of decentralization and lose the dynamic of groups and small social networks.

Google proposed having internal blogs. Editable web pages. People regularly put their tips, information and news on personal blogs. As a result, information that usually get locked in someone's head because of the effort required to distribute it now is accessible through internal searching of google personal blogs. Nice.

Now he's showing the evolution of Google news and the resulting design post testing. He explains they have addressed a scrolling issue and uses a newspaper terminology – “above the fold”.

The web may not change everything. It changes some things.

Sergey Brin co-founder of Google takes the stage with Craig for Q&A.

Someone asks about Google's acquisition of blogger.

Sergey says they have a lot of ideas. BlogThis toolbar is just one idea that has been implemented. Lots of other things in the works.

Talking about AdSense. Relating this to question about micro-advertising. And now he's talking about GoogleAds. This is a solution to sites that get a lot of traffic and want to capitalize this. Good for those who don't want to establish an ad sales network. Had this been offered earlier perhaps a lot of the good websites that were ad revenue driven and subsequently failed, might have been saved. Hmmmm. Interesting.

What would you like to see technology with google in 5 or 10 years someone asks:

Craig: People think of us as a search engine. We think of us as a source to find information. This may not be simply a list of web pages. Broadening the idea of information: how you get it and how you use it. Looks like they want to lose the stigma of a search engine. (afk: A positioning issue. Branding issue)

Regarding Google's mission someone asks about the fact that most information is locked behind firewalls, subscription barriers, copyright issues; how can google live to its mission because this may be the more useful information. Craig alludes to the fact that owners of such information will want to at least make that information searchable. (afk: search engine again).

No More Rear-View Mirrors: Investing in a changed environment

Paul Hammer, Sr. VP, Houlihan Lokey Howard and Zukin

Defense specialist. (afk note: Doesn't seem to be comfortable in this room of private enterprise future thinkers.)

To people trying to raise money, there are three types of VCs

– mile stone funders
– breakthrough funders
– startup funders

Match your funding source to the company you want to be.

Talking last mile: WildBlue (satellite for the rural)

Ellen Levy, Managing Director, Neocarta Ventures

First time fund with $300 million.

How do you work with the companies you've already invested in? One of the distortions of the past is valuations. (afk: Amen) Tech confusion. Competitive landscape is more important than perceived competitive landscape.

We can't escape the past but need to also look to future opportunities.

Investing in enabling technology rather than the core technology.

Mike Hirshland, General Partner, Polaris Venture Parnters

What he's looking for: “Customers willing to pay and have a real problem to solve.”

Good news to VCs is they now can return to discipline and take the time to due the due diligence. The idea of emerging market that has no validation is a very scary thing. Back to basics is a good thing, but some moderation and willingness to risk is important too.

Looking for: customers and management. Need to spend significant time with customers and potential customers. Understanding methodology for budgeting and allocation. Venture 101: but he feels management team is important. At the end of the day safe investing is investing in strong management. Nothing new and not trying to be trite.

Last mile: fixed wireless broadband will happen.

Jackie Kimzey, General Partner, Sevin Rosen Funds

Venture capitalists are looking for capital efficiency. Put money to work. But the real job is to invest as little as they can and get as much ownership as possible. And they will do milestone funding to let money dribble as companies prove they can meet those milestones. Working with real entrepreneurs. People willing to put their own money in, not take salaries and pursue their passion and dreams. In the future, we will see competing platforms that the big guys today can't compete on.

On picking management teams, he admits that they're not very good at picking management times. Most funded companies have CEOs that are removed from that position within two years of investment.

Pervasive devices (sensors etc.) – this will probably be the biggest network. Bigger than voice, data and multimedia. How we going to deliver this and get it to work. What's the OS?

Investing in WakeBoard. Considered a WiFi company but of the 600,000 connections last month majority were not WiFi. Must wait for the wired part of that business to catch up before WiFi can succeed. So WakeBoard needs to play on both sides. And that's their positioning.

If it's a $50 million project you probably won't get funded. A $15 million project has a better chance.

Making Sense of Networks (panel discussion)

J.C. notes in responding to a question that as college kids move to the enterprise they are going to ask where's the wiki, the weblog — they will start asking questions across departmental borders. Things that don't happen in companies today. And this may be perceived as a major threat. And as these college kids move to junior managers.

Mark interjects: Cory Doctorow had a problem checking into the hotel. He had to choose between a room where he could smoke, or one that had DSL.

I note that Ross and Joi are sporting Apple TiBooks with the glow of Apple's logo emitting brilliantly. Keven is moderating.

Joi Ito, Neoteny

How can consumer electronic devices play a more important role than PCs in the internet?

Buddy lists should take over and phone numbers should go away.
Wiki's are a cool thing.
The SixDegrees type of networks. (afk note: Ryze, LinkedIn, Freiendster)

It's like back in 1992. When Yahoo was about charge for search and when TCP/IP was fighting x25. We're in a stage where we need to stir the pot.

J.C. Hertz, Joystick Nation

Games have been with us since we've been able to make objects ourselves.
She's talking about how SixDegrees type of networks are not efficient and not practical. One of the reasons we're trailing in this country is because we're a nation of couch potatoes.

What is the social fabric already in place in society: the bowling alone index.

Human beings we're smart monkeys with computers. We have to look at the side of it where we're looking at how technology is going to play out.

75% of computers have broadband access. What about when the gaming consoles come online? Up to 70 million online. Who owns that network? Manufacturers want to own the device economy.

Ross Mayfield, CEO, Socialtext

Letting the natural central network between people emerge.

We've seen with blogging lots of people being empowered with very simple and easy to use tools.

He's talking about power laws where some people get very powerful and then create separate little networks with these power hubs. People are developing their own social circle with smaller groups. This compliments the real social network that already exists.

“The value of links is decreasing rapidly right now.” (afk: dilution) Weak ties. When you get into smaller groups the patterns of use actually increase.

Maria Martinez, Corporate VP Mobility & Service Provider Solutions

It's going to be about different devices. Not your refridgerator talking to the internet. $4 billion spent last year on enterprise applications (scanning, bar codes, RF ID) Wall Mart says by 2005 will carry an RF ID code, security and access control with real time updating. In medical to enable IV pumps connected to network for real time updating. In energy, water control – optimization.


Clay Shirkey, Educator, Author & Consultant

The problem with Internet access and availability today.
Today we[base ']re in a three-entity model: Center. Edge. The Phone Company (twisted pair monopoly).

Call it the “Crispy Twisted Pair Crust. ”

Broadband access to the home is jeopardized because it threatens voice revenue.

Dumbbell Internet: Fat Zones (in the home – wireless, Bluetooth – at one end and the NOC or Phone Company at the other end, and an tiny little strand (twisted pair) holding it together.

The minute the phone company touches IP their costs and revenues fall. But revenues fall faster. Investors won[base ']t understand nor like this. Innovation will stagnate and we are stuck with the dumbbell Internet.

Reed Hundt, Former Chairman, Federal Communications Commission

I got here a bit late. Reed Hundt is talking about government subsidized “baseband” broadband (fiber network) that will be happening in smaller and higher density countries. He[base ']s talking about the fact that these countries will not choose competitive free market to build a fiber infrastructure of redundant networks with indistinguishable services provided by each one.

Something about our government is considering or has committed to? A $50 billion subsidy to provide for the transmission of digital broadcasting. Adds costs to consumer television sets. Why do this when at the time its implemented more than 80% of the country will be connected by cable or satellite. “We must lead the world in our willingness to change.”

Now he[base ']s talking about environmental issues, healthcare/ cancer treatment.

Regarding media consolidation. He says that nowhere else in the country other than Washington DC that wanted media consolidation or change in media ownership laws.

Redirect this $50 billion. Government subsidized base platform of broadband (fiber, wireless, etc.) It[base ']s going to happen elsewhere. You will see it happen the developing world. Governments throwing money at a baseband solution. They will not say the private market will fund two or three competing solutions.

Stimulate technology sector. Roosevelt[base ']s Conservation Corp. as an analogy how government can inject new life in the technology sector. Created jobs when they couldn[base ']t be found elsewhere.

We cannot see a world where the phone company is not a good idea. Kinda like the family farm. No matter the status of the budget the minute that agriculture is threatened we seem to find money to keep it afloat. Same with the phone company.

Sitting in the room at SuperNova.Got here a bit late. I will be posting my notes every 15 minutes or so. Refresh this page to pick up on my take of the happening.