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Thoughts from Web 2.0

Just flew back from the Web 2.0 show, and boy are my arms tired… seriously, my voice is shot. As always, it was a jam packed 2 1/2 days of non-stop conversation.

The hallway conversations were wonderful and energizing. The sessions, however, were just okay. The one stand out session for me was Evan Williams’. In a short talk, he made a clear case for why less is more in a UI (think google search box, twitter, etc.) and the need to minimize the “cognitive load” of a web site (roughly paraphrazed, the amount of decisions a user needs to make to move forward). It was fun to listen to and I walked away with a great framework. This was how most of the talks at Web 2.0 were 3 & 4 years ago…

Other quick highlights: Rupert Murdoch was great, and Mary Meeker was bearish!
This was my fourth Web 2.0 show, and I think it’s interesting how the tone of this show seems to reflect the current temperture of the internet community. In 2004, for example, the show was like a big therapy session, convincing ourselves that everything was going to be okay, that things were going to come back. In 2005, everyone’s head was buzzing and debating about a new world order the included Ajax, new ad models, and tons of new startups. In 2006, the show was down right giddy. The show was definitely mainstream and everyone was drinking champagne.

This year, however, the show was a lot more corporate. The sessions weren’t really covering any new ground or fostering any good debate. And there was lots and lots of talk about widgets and Facebook (they’re going to be really, really big). Having said that, the hallway conversations were great, and I’m looking forward to going back next year!

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