Experience!Tech 08 Web 2.0 Panel

The afternoon began with two concurrent sessions — Enterprise 2.0 and Web 2.0 — and the Enterprise 2.0 session didn’t seem too enterprise-y, so I’m in the Web 2.0 session, featuring Jeff Fedor, formerly of Covarity, Leila Boujnane of Idée and David Crow of Microsoft, moderated by Stuart MacDonald of TripHarbour. After the introductions, Stuart wandered back to his laptop at the lectern and announced that he was watching the Twitter channel both for comments and questions.

This session is bouncing back and forth between the participants and subject matter a lot, so I’ll just list some of the interesting disconnected snippets of conversation, with my comments [like this]:

Leila: Web 2.0 has resulted in a great proliferation of data, much of it still in silos, driving the need for federated search (including image search such as provided by Idée).

David: the importance of the social graph (exposing your relationships online) in driving the new level of connectivity amongst people on the internet, but this capability is not being used within enterprises. Particular concern with how your stupid antics on Facebook will impact your ability to be hired.

Jeff: we all maintain different contexts of online life — work, home, etc. — but there is no good way to synchronize this. [This is driving all of the lifestreaming apps that we’re seeing today, like FreindFeed and OnaSwarm]

David: is Web 2.0 a set of technologies, a set of social behaviours, a conference run by O’Reilly? A company like Amazon, which started as an online bookseller has become a huge provider of cloud computing platform, moving from being a web-based business to a web services provider.

Leila: we still need to have business/transactions at the heart of whatever we’re doing in Web 2.0, regardless of how inexpensive cloud computing is.

Stuart: no significant business is created with mashups, it’s done in the old-fashioned way.

Jeff: mashups are for demos, not for building real business solutions.

[My opinion is that mashups, for the most part, are for prototyping and as the new generation of end-user computing, the latter of which is definitely real business solutions.]

Leila: scaling is irrelevant but important: you have to build it into your architecture but usually aren’t worried about it when you first get your product out the door.

Jeff: need to understand the business pain points before building a solution, or you’ll end up re-doing large parts of what you did.

Jeff: the bar has gone up in requirements for capital; it’s not good enough to have an idea, you must at least have a POC and some business validation.

David: the amount of capital required to start is smaller, since less investment in infrastructure due to cloud computing both for development and scalable production

David: there is value to reputation, both for individuals and businesses, but you don’t have to translate the social economy into the “real” economy

Leila: it’s not about just delivering something that does the job, the user experience can completely change how people use your product.

David: there are local events happening (e.g., TorCamp) that can directly impact the larger business experience. There is a stratification of the community and we need to bring the groups together.

[Question from the audience on how to bring together the stratified groups, particularly to include people who don’t live/work in the downtown core.]

David: we need to diversify and include more people in the *Camp groups and other social/business venues. The only requirement to belong is to be interesting/interested.

Leila: Canada is an amazing place to build something because there are few barriers, but we don’t mentor enough to help foster growth and share experiences. We have a responsibility to mentor others to help the business community grow.

David: we need to toughen up our entrepreneurs so that they can handle hearing “no” and can absorb criticisms appropriately.

David: the community is the framework; it’s not what you take out of the community, it’s what you put in.

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