Category Archives: Web 2.0

The event site shootout

Venture Beat’s Chris Morrison has an excellent writeup on the event space sites that are out there. I’d love to see more shootouts like this one. There’s simply too much stuff to try in this industry and having people tear into a category and rate them really helps us all.

That said, I’ve looked into the event space too and I’ve found that Upcoming.org is WAY AHEAD for tech geeks. It’s not even close between Upcoming.org and everyone else. I’ve found that Upcoming.org has easily 10x more tech geek participation than other sites and has more complete listings of tech events, too. Just check out my calendar and compare to anyone else’s tech event calendar.

Keep in mind, though, that other sites are ahead in other genres like music and politics. But I really only care about technology stuff and in the industry I care about you gotta join Upcoming.org and you gotta put your events into Upcoming.org if you want the best people to come.

I agree with Chris that Eventful is ahead of the others in lots of other ways too.

Oh, and Chris left one huge site off: Facebook. They actually have more events, and more geek participation, but since everything is behind the garden wall I can’t link to it so I can see how Chris left Facebook’s events off. That said, I’d list my event on all these sites, but especially on Facebook and on Upcoming.org.

If you haven’t yet joined in an event site, why not?

Microsoft to make more Web 2.0 moves?

Tomorrow at the Web 2.0 Summit, Microsoft will announce partnerships with a couple of Web 2.0 companies, I’ve learned (sorry, I can’t share more details until after the Ballmer keynote). On first look these partnerships might not seem to be a very big deal, but I think they are potentially significant. Particularly if Microsoft starts making other moves into the Web 2.0 space (which I think we’re starting to see).

I’ve been impressed by the work being done on Live.com properties lately. If you’ve been watching my link blog you’ve seen me put several things on there in the past two weeks. Things like Live Spaces, and other stuff that Dare Obasanjo has blogged about here.

If this is a trend it’ll bring a lot of goodness to the Web 2.0 startup industry. Microsoft has a world-class sales organization. Still is used by nearly everyone outside of our tech bubble and has HUGE economic power to totally change the game.

Translation: I’m cheering Microsoft on.

Demo of the Year 2007: Zude

If you search Google for “Demo of the Year” you’ll find my writeup of Microsoft’s Photosynth.

But last week I got the demo of the year that I’ve seen since then. Zude is a new way to create Web experiences. I can’t really call them pages anymore. Anyway, this is a long one — this demo is so cool that we went an entire hour. Rocky also edited down a “Editor’s Choice” which is a lot shorter (only eight minutes).

Zude has some of the coolest JavaScript I’ve ever seen. Anyone have something cooler?

Oh, and this proves that you can take an hour to do a demo and still engage me.

UPDATE: I just asked Rocky and he agrees that this is the coolest commercial thing he’s seen come through my show.

Zude is really aimed at killing MySpace but I love how you can build Web pages, er, experiences.

Eric Norlin defragged

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You might not know Eric Norlin but I’ve been following him for a long time. He’s one of the folks who started the Digital ID World conference and is now senior editor there. Now he’s starting a new Internet-focused conference called “Defrag.” I caught him in one of the back rooms at the Digital ID World and we have a fun 42 minute conversation about all sorts of things.

If you are thinking of planning a conference you won’t want to miss this one. We cover the economics of putting on conferences. We also talk about a ton of stuff.

This is a continuation of “smart people week” on ScobleShow. Heh, it’s actually always smart people week, but it’s fun just to do a conversation like this with a smart guy who runs major industry conferences. Hope you enjoy.

Steve Ballmer still doesn't understand social networking

A few years ago I wrote to Microsoft’s leadership and asked them why they weren’t involved in the new Web 2.0 space. I got an answer back that was about 2,000 words long and included the words “business value” 13 times. Translation: Microsoft’s leadership thought that Web 2.0 and social software like Flickr didn’t have business value and was too much of a potential fad to invest in.

Glad to see that Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, is consistent. Notes that Geocities lost most of its value after being acquired by Yahoo and says “it had most of what Facebook has.” Let’s come back to that point in a second.

The thing is that Ballmer has bought into the advertising hype too. I remember when Microsoft’s President, Kevin Johnson, came to our group when I worked at Microsoft and explained that the advertising industry is 10x the size of the software industry and that he was going to steer Microsoft more into an advertising-driven business rather than just one that made its revenues from selling software. Translation: Microsoft was going to compete more with Google, Yahoo, and other companies going after the advertising pie.

Don’t miss this quote. It’s demonstrates everything that is wrong with Microsoft’s approach:

“There can’t be any more deep technology in Facebook than what dozens of people could write in a couple of years. That’s for sure,” Ballmer said.

When I worked at Microsoft I heard this over and over and over again from various engineers and program managers who STILL haven’t competed effectively with WordPress, Flickr, Skype, YouTube, or any of the other things over the years I’ve heard this “we can build that in a few weeks” kind of arrogant attitude attached to.

But, remember eBay? Remember how dozens of competitors tried to get into the eBay space? (and still are?)

Why aren’t they succeeding? Because eBay is NOT about the technology. It’s about the community and unless you have something that’ll convince the buyers and sellers all to switch all at one moment you’ll never be able to take eBay’s market away. Translation: it’s too late and eBay has huge defensibility around its business because people won’t move away from it even if you demonstrate 5x better technology.

Same with Facebook. I’m not moving away from it. Why? I have 5,000 reasons why (and another 500 already who want to be included in my Facebook network). Unless you can convince them all to move I’m not moving. This is why LinkedIn isn’t going to disappear anytime soon, even though I like Facebook’s approach a lot better. It’s also why MySpace isn’t going anywhere. My son says his friends are all on MySpace. My brother’s bar is on MySpace. They aren’t moving no matter how hard I evangelize Facebook.

Which gets us back to Ballmer’s quotes.

First, let’s share this one: “I think these things [social networks] are going to have some legs, and yet there’s a faddishness, a faddish nature about anything that basically appeals to younger people,” Mr Ballmer told Times Online yesterday.

I’m 42. Hardly young. And Facebook is appealing a lot to people in my social network and age group lately (and so is Twitter and other social tools like Pownce, LinkedIn, and sites that use social groups like Yelp, Flickr, Upcoming.org). I guess Ballmer missed that. This is what happens when Microsoft executives don’t get outside of their ivory towers very often. Steve, you really need to go to any tech industry conference and hang out in the hallways. Don’t come to San Francisco, you won’t believe anything you hear here anyway. But go to, say, LeWeb3 in Paris and hear what they say about social networks. You’ll probably hear Bebo. Facebook. And a few others. From even the old folks. Last night I was at a National Geographic event and lots of people were talking about Facebook.

Here’s another quote:

Mr Ballmer also noted that sites such as Geocities, an online community that was bought for $3 billion by Yahoo! in 1999, at the height of the dot-com boom, “had most of what Facebook has.”

Oh, boy. No way, no how.

First of all, I never joined Geocities. It never had utility for me. It was a place to build free Web sites. I found it had all the disadvantages to me that MySpace has and NONE of the advantages of Facebook. It was NOT a social network that exerted the kind of social pressure on me to join the way that Facebook did. I tried to ignore Facebook for years. Same with MySpace. But people I kept meeting kept begging me to join. Kevin Rose, when we had dinner, told me I was blowing it by not being on Facebook. That NEVER happened with Geocities.

Also, Facebook is now a business card collection. A rolodex. That has real utility that’ll keep me using it long after it joins the “old fad bin.”

Oh, and anytime people say “this thing is a fad?” I think of blogging. Lots of people told me that when I started it too. It wasn’t. Neither is Facebook.

But all this makes me think that Ballmer is trying to send signals to Zuckerberg (Facebook’s CEO) that the price is too high and that this is just a negotiating ploy. Nice one! But it doesn’t give me confidence that Microsoft is going to figure out Web 2.0 or social networking strategies anytime soon.

It also makes me realize that Ballmer has no clue about the future of advertising. If he did he’d be talking about how Facebook’s ability to concentrate people into buckets in a new way should be copied and studied. That’s where Facebook’s real advertising value is and Microsoft hasn’t demonstrated ANY ability to see that yet. Of course, Facebook itself hasn’t shipped its advertising platform that’ll demonstrate its vision there either, but I hear it’s coming.

Will Microsoft get a clue before Facebook gets an entrenched advertising platform going?

Ballmer proved with Google and with these quotes today: no.