Blog Archives

Off to Seattle: Microsoft, Gnomedex and the Games

In a few hours I’ll be en route to Seattle, spending the day in Redmond for a bunch of meetings with Microsoft Research and MSN folks. Come and say hi if you see me hanging out at one of the coffee places of the campus. Then off to the Gnomedex kick-off party. Friday and Saturday will then be about juggling between the conference and the games, especially that very promising France-Brazil.

Looking forward to all that.

Steve Ballmer at the Microsoft VC Summit 2006

One of the hilights of a Microsoft VC Summit is always Steve Ballmer’s intervention and the following Q&A. I have already referred to an interesting part of his talk regarding acquisitions, but most interesting learning I got from the session is Ballmer’s clear determination to go after Google and its position of search and online advertising leader. Microsoft has the might, and the resources, to take a long term view and give Google a run for its money (and they evolve as an organization as Scoble just posted). The consumer can only benefit from such a competition.

Here are a few more tidbits he covered:

VC investment levels up – including in early stage since 2005, with resource shortages in certain places (especially where Google has a development center) Consolidation in the industry is happening, with M&A being the primary exit option Consumer markets are driving enterprise expectations, as applications and services available in the cloud … Read more »

Microsoft VC Summit 2006: More about the CIO Panel

I already blogged about the IT scaling challenges of McDonald’s at the Microsoft VC Summit. Here are a few additional  tidbits of information I gleaned during the discussion between senior IT executives from Motorola, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse:

BPM/BAM are finally seeing enterprise deployments, with true mobile integration. Likewise SOA has now been adopted by most large enterprises. About 17% of Motorola’s IT infrastructure is now relying on Open Source software, growing at 64% per annum. On security, a point was made that there is often a total disconnect between the buzz generated by a security risk or threat, the actual impact of that problem, and the budgets allocated to solving/protecting from it. The risk to enterprises is both operational (disruption to their business) and brand impact (lose 100K credit card numbers of your customers and you’ll be very popular).

TechDirt’s Greenhouse: a very interesting experiment

I spent the day hanging out at the TechDirt Greenhouse, and I am glad I did – even if this meant spending a day away from the family. Mike Masnick and his team came up with an interesting concept: getting startups to present their product/services for 5 mins, and get the audience divided up in small discussion groups that would address a key business or strategy question related to one of the presenting companies. We’d spend about 40 mins talking around the subject allocated to us, and report back to the whole group. In order to make sure that attendees would hang out with different people (as opposed to their friends), the TechDirt team put together a set of markers that defined which session/meeting room one should attend.

Oh, and there were the leaders: Red, Blue, Orange, Pink, Green, Mauve. Guess which one I inherited ? Yep, the Pink one. Our role was to facilitate discussions, and make sure … Read more »

TechDirt announces its first un-workshop – March 11, 2006 – Sunnyvale, CA

After the “everything 2.0” meme, I see the “un-“ something meme developing. What does it mean ? An event based on a two-way, open, discussion.

One of my favorite tech blog, TechDirt, is putting together the first edition of its Idea Workshop. The concept is very appealing:

A group of pre-selected companies and individuals will present ideas in quick, five minute presentations. Unlike a standard product showcase, this is not the “final word.” After a group of presentations, the attendees are split up into breakout groups, and given a specific issue from one of the presentations to “workshop.” For a company with a new product, this could be anything from “what new features should be added” to “what target market should they focus on” to “is there a business model here?” Other presentations may not be about products, but ideas, and the workshops will be related to those ideas.

 After a short period of time, everyone … Read more »

Sun Microsystems Founders Unplugged at the Computer History Museum

Last night I attended the Computer Hjstory Museum event featuring the founding team of Sun Microsystems – Andy Bechtolsheim, Bill Joy, Scott Mc Nealy and Vinod Khosla – with Sun’s current Chief Scientist, John Gage moderating. Scott Mc Nealy actually referred to John as the “Fifth Beattle”. If you have never visited the Museum, I *really* recommend coming down over the week-end to take a tour of the magnificent exhibits that contains a wealth of computer antiques. And if you like it, you can join as member (as I did) to support their effort.

I have tried to capture the gist of the panel’s conversation. This was pretty challenging since they changed subjects pretty often, and kept on making jokes about each others. It created a great ambiance – sort of an old school pal reunion, but a difficult context to liveblog. For a long time I have been … Read more »

Attending Syndicate this Tuesday

A quick note to mention that I will be attending the first day of Syndicate in San Francisco – the last conference of the year for me, and I did attend a lot of them in 2005 indeed. Send me a note on jeff [dot] clavier [at] gmail [dot] com if you are also there and want to meet.

I have missed Doc Searl’s opening remarks because we were celebrating my five year old’s birthday, but Doc blogged the gist of them on ITGarage.


Ross Levinsohn interview at the Consumer Technology Ventures Conference

I spent a portion of the day at the Consumer Technology Ventures Conference today, catching the interview of Ross Levinsohn, the President of Fox Interactive Media (“FIM”) by Lee Gomes, from the Wall Street Journal.

NewsCorp’s re-entry in the Internet market was kicked off by Rupert Murdoch after Christmas 2004, and a summit of 85 top executives in February 2005. During this meeting, Murdoch’s team brainstormed about the threats and opportunities of taking a prominent position. Last May was when Ross presented a plan of actions – starting with the acquisition of MySpace and also involved investing in their FMI’s properties.

NewsCorp is focusing on companies built as a mix of content and communities. Ross mentions that Murdoch is "fearless" and ready to make bold moves, especially to enter new spaces in which they are not present. He also explains that he did not initially grasp the power of communities like MySpace, but he eventually came around and … Read more »

The Facebook unplugged at Stanford ETL

I have attended last night’s session of the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders (ETL) program featuring Mark Zuckerberg, the Founder and CEO of the Facebook, and Jim Breyer, Accel’s Managing Partner who is sitting on the board of the company after his firm led a $13M round of financing (at a rumored $100M-ish post-money valuation).The Terman auditorium was close to full to hear these two share their stories and experiences about the Facebook and its stellar growth. I have written about it in the past right after their financing, and actually this post is one of the most visited on my blog. Also check out their TechCrunch profile (and do read the comments from Facebook users).

Before I get into the actual session, here is an update on their metrics – which are (increasingly) stunning:

5M+ registered users coverage of 45% of US colleges (a total of 2,000 – representing 8M students) 80% penetration among … Read more »

Bar Camp: Thoughts, Pictures and Thanks

Spent time with BarCampers on Friday and Sunday. Awesome crowd, great discussions, superb atmosphere. It was the will and the interest of the people that brought BarCamp together, in a construct that is hard to plan for or replicate. “I am interested, I attend, I contribute (and yo, I am a bozo :-)” they said.

There were a lot of great moments over the week-end, but the best  were the “3 words” rounds of introductions, the long chats I had with Mike Arrington from TechCrunch fame, the beercasting session on Friday night with Steve Gillmor, John Furrier and Chris Pirillo, private demos of Flock by Chris Messina, and WordPress 1.6 by Photomatt, and hanging out with so many cool people. I also enjoyed leading a discussion on Venture Capital and early stage financing – more on it later.

Thanks to Chris Messina, my buddy Andy Smith, Ross Mayfield and all the people who helped, … Read more »

Panels are dead ? – Not quite – Just prepare them better

Mary Hodder has a go at the panel format when attending Les Blogs last week: Panels are Dead.

For me that is. 

I’m sitting here at a conference that I flew all the way to Paris for.. for two days, and damned if it isn’t full of panels, broadcast mode all the way, telling the audience how it is. And well.. it’s so freaking undynamic. Because it’s not a discussion. These are bloggers. They know a lot. They know what it is. These 300 people make media every day on their blogs and yet, panels are here giving us time to email the office, our cats or the mailman about a critical lost postcard.

This audience is creative, bright, thoughtful and our brains are being numbed to death by one-way talk about how blogs are about losing legacy control and we’re all taking it back. Somewhere there is a tragi-comedy in here. It’s time for a … Read more »