Time to hit reload on Web 2
It might’ve been Tim O’Reilly, the founder of conference co producer O’Reilly Media and a, industry sage. He was out of town; gone from the program was his traditional opening keynote, a quick but poignant take on the state of the industry.
Or it might have been the hype missing from the rather quiet halls of the Moscone Convention Center. A few years ago, it was a must attend event for industry insiders and
a launch pad for new start ups
looking to get onto the radar of the tech elite. There were, typically,
some relatively lavish partiesIt was, I’d speculate, probably a destination for many of the start up and marketing dollars that now go to the liquor soaked, brand packed, ever growing South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW). That took place in Austin, Texas, earlier this month, and next to it, Web 2.0 Expo risks looking like it’s over the hill.
The Web 2.0 Expo 2011 was not poorly attended by any means the smart move of offering a cheaper “expo hall pa ugg boots sale ss” has made it possible for locals to show up and network without a full price ticket. The organizers, as always, put on a good show. Events started and ended on time. The conference Wi Fi was fast and reliable. And the trade show floor was actually frequented, though perhaps that’s because there was free beer distributed at several booths in the afternoons.
But the trade show floor was more compact, the keynote hall filled with fewer chairs than in years past. The presence of local tech luminaries seemed to be restricted to those with speaking engagement ugg boots sale s; they, after all, have their own O’Reilly produced Web conference,
the smaller and pricier Web 2.0 Summit
, which offers a roster of A list speakers and
typically a smattering of major company announcements
, too. At this week’s Expo, the big announcement was the
unveiling of sponsor American Express’ Serve payment platform
, a traditional financial services company’s initiative to push it into territory whe ugg boots sale re tech companies like PayPal have already innovated.
The Web 2.0 Expo is a traditional trade show dedicated to an industry that has swapped traditional trade shows for retreat like “unconferences,” bacchanalia like SXSW, and company centric events like Facebook’s F8 and Google I/O. The people who show up are generally out of towners who want to see, in panel and keynote form, a glimpse of what the Bay Area digerati have been talking about all year; the sorts of people who wouldn’t show up at SXSW because it’s too insidery and too difficult to actually learn anything. This is the crowd that wants to go to panels, not to be too hung over to show up at them.
For a look at the differences between the two: At SXSW,
walking around with a laptop was decidedly uncool
, given the dominance of lightning fast smartphones and iPads. At Web 2.0 Expo, laptop bags may as well have been part of the uniform.
Or consider that nobody was really talking about Color, the bizarre and boundary pushing mobile photo sharing app that has been all over the tech press of late. The topics onstage and in the halls of the Moscone Center were cloud storage, or mobile payments, or whether companies should hire social media managers.
Or consider the different ways in which the same topic the rise of “gamification,” or the tactics of game play applie ugg boots sale d to the digital business world, was addressed in talks at SXSW and then Web 2.0 Expo. At Web 2.0 Expo on Wednesday, veteran video game designer
Amy Jo Kim
talked about a handful of concrete tactics from the gaming world that translate relatively easily to business strategy (things like “embrace intrinsic motivators like power, autonomy, and belonging”). Several weeks earlier at SXSW, entrepreneur Seth Priebatsch avoided talking about the immediate applications of game mechanics everybody in the audience probably knew that stuff anyway, right? and instead speculated that the phenomenon could eventually grow prevalent enough to