Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Q: Are we not men?

A: We are DEVO. D-E-V-O

I am turning into a bad traveller.

I cannot seem to sleep in strange beds. In NYC right now. Woke up at about 3:30am EST (which is 1:30am PST, still my biological time.)

But tonight I am happy. Turned on the TV... Not just the TV, but the very very nice 40" HDTV (which is a Samsung model that appears close to the LTN-406W for those that care)... And on HD-NET saw this concert: Devo and the yeah yeah yeahs in Central Park on July 22 2004.

We used to love Devo. But I haven't intentionally listened to Devo in nearly 20 years. It was fun watching myself sing along with every word.

Being up late watching Devo reminded me of the first time I saw the Beautiful World video, probably on Night Flight. From their Wikipedia entry "Devo created and directed many of their own videos, and the band has cited the video for the song "Beautiful World" as their favorite example of their video work."

The video works at an entirely different level than the "song." Over the course of a few minutes you see the sweet, sacharine images of our "beautiful world" unraveling into perverse carny devo funkiness... And only in the final moments do they deliver the punchline: "It's a beautiful world... (for you... BUT NOT FOR ME!)" Per the comments on YouTube: "devastatingly poignant irony that probably changed a few lives."

Both the yeah yeah yeahs and Devo were just so damn good. I'm glad I can't sleep.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Yahoo buys Bix

I said it all over here.

So one thing to note... It turns out that the voice in my head does sound a lot better than the one that is being recorded. Something must be defective with the microphone, the Bix system, or whatever that keeps knocking it out of tune. Until I debug that system, I won't be posting any karaoke.

Also - we need to get some cooler songs into the Bix karaoke system.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Web 2.0 recap

So the dust is clearing, and I thought I'd chime in regarding how I felt about the "Web 2.0 Summit." Look, it's not for everyone (double entendre intended, as I heard 5000 people were turned away.) But it's carved out a unique and valuable niche in the pantheon of conferences. Here's some personal highlights:
  • Seeing Jeff Bezos, Barry Diller, Mark Benioff, Eric Schmidt, Ray Ozzie, etc. up there doing their thing with John Battelle. I love the theater / sport of it. It's not about "learning anything", it's just fun watching John angling for a scoop or seeing if he can get a bigwig to squirm a bit. Mostly futile attempts BTW.
  • The hallways. Lots of folks (the badgeless) just surfed the hallways and got a lot out of it. It was a total schmooze-fest, but not in a bad way. Logistics were such that you could reach the people you wanted to connect with, avoid the ones you didn't want to connect with, and generally keep exchanges short.
  • The First Round Capital "Pavillion" hack. Brilliant, as reported by Fred.
  • Hanging out with Chris Anderson at a dinner on Wednesday.
  • Lunch with Barney Pell on Wednesday.
  • I thought that the Launchpad was great (disclosure: I was on the advisory board.) It was interesting to see some perrenial problems (sync, scheduling) being addressed with a w2.0 spin.
  • Finally, and obviously, it was a great experience getting on stage with Filo. The more time I spend with him, the more I come to appreciate and admire him. (Off a considerable base!) Better than sharing the stage with him was the time we spent prepping, talking to press, hanging out, etc. Inspiring.

    Regarding W2.0, I've heard a couple of complaints. First, "The conference is now overrun with VCs." Yeah there were a lot of VCs there, but you know something, I respect a lot of VCs. Ain't nothing wrong with VCs by me. If I were in their business, I'd have been there too. Mentally conjuring the first ten VCs I can recall at the event actually puts a smile on my face. Most of those guys are hilarious.

    Secondly, was that there was nothing "new." I really don't get this. We're two years into a... "revolution?" Well, how about "movement." A movement with gigantic, sweeping, over-arching principles that are visionary, epic, inspiring... (Thanks Tim.) And you're bored? You want something "new?"

    There's tremendous value and craft to what Tim O'Reilly (and Chris Anderson, etc.) do so well. They offer us a framework, model and language for understanding phenomenon that are inherently true. They don't claim to have invented the phenomenon itself. This is what the prophets do, they tell us what we already know... and present us an opportunity to recognize it.

    So, I don't need a new religion, I don't need a "Web 3.0." Frankly I personally could have done without the label "Web 2.0..." but hey, whatever gets us clueful and on the same page. One of the things I liked about the Launchpad was that I recognized the application of “Web 2.0” principles to old problems: sync, scheduling, etc.

    So I'm not bored, I'm invigorated.

    The hardest part for me at W2.0 was "sitting on" some of the upcoming work that will soon be coming out from my teams. There is mucho goodness on the way. I can honestly say that I saw hundreds of cool products, features and concepts presented but none of them inspired me as much as the work going on within our walls day-to-day. And I hope everyone can say that.