Live Blogging from Web 2.0 Expo

by francine Hardaway on April 15, 2007

This is ignite! the speed speaking pre-conference at Web 2.0 Expo that determines who will be the keynote speaker on Wednesday. It’s Sunday night at the Moscone Center, and there will be two dozen five-minute talks from a random assortment of people, including the now-famous The first speaker is from Dabble, talking about his computerized way of matching logos to the web pages they appear on. So what?

Ryan Stewart from ignite Seattle, however, is fascinating while talking very quickly about rich internet applications –web applications that have the features and functionality of traditional desktop apps. RIAs are much more usable. because they engage users, make emotional connections with them, and make things fun instead of just functional. But, he also says not to abandon the desktop. Adobe’s Apollo will be a big way of joining the desktop to the online world, and also Microsoft’s WPF/E. (Don’t know what that is).

Timothy Ferriss, author of the Four Hour Work Week is next. He talks about techniques for getting rid of interruptions and getting the critical few things done instead of the trivial many. Here are his key principles. They sound like a time management class I took in 1979.
1) Batching: performing like tasks at set times and letting them accumulate in between
2) The 80-20 rule: apply it to people as well as customers. Fire those customers that take time and don’t give you revenue
3) Outsource your life. Calculate your hourly rate and anything that costs less should be outsourced.
4) For work life separation, schedule your life.
Focus on eliminating information instead of trying to consume it and organize it.
But his talk is the best so far.

A speaker on diversity doesn’t interest me; perhaps I’ve had too much of Don Imus.

The organizers of the Barcamps from Toronto spoke next. There’s a really interesting opportunity to use social media tools to effect social change in your community. Their Barcamps are about finding the things about which people are passionate in your community and using social media to effect change. I think there was one in Phoenix last year that I couldn’t attend; Refresh Phoenix and Sean Tierney did it.

is a collaborative reference site for do it yourself projects. Turns out, it is a tool that lets fourteen year old kids make guns out of Legos or K’nex, the color coded building materials that make robots, and tell other kids how to do it.

The last guy in this section is talking about the process of raising honey bees, and the hive mind. It’s pretty interesting, especially since all the honeybees have recently vanished. One hypothesis for why they’ve gone is cellular signals.

What have I learned? That collaborative projects are more successful than anything undertaken alone, and that in this isolated country of ours, community is making a very strong comeback. And that most people can’t say anything truly persuasive or convincing in five minutes.

As usual, the chat back channel is more interesting and more brutal than the presenters.

UPDATE: Section 2.

UPDATE: Timothy Farriss won. The wisdom of crowds strikes again.

Justin Kan, from is talking now about how he launched and got a lot of press by sucking up to Michael Arrington and being raided by the police. He also reached out to fans “if we get a hundred diggs on this story I’ll jump into the pool with my clothes on.” He lets the press follow him around and talks to everyone. He woke up at 3:30 in the morning to go on live television and get reamed by Ann Curry, because the Today Show has 6 mllion viewers. I have to admit I like Justin. He’s a smart guy.

The next person is talking about alternate reality games, and how they make the world better. She tells me quality of life will be the prime metric for evaluating technology. Positive psychology will be a principal, explicit part of design. Games can hack reality to get more happiness, she says. Reminds me of Buddha, who thought man couldn’t be happy as long as he wanted anything, including happiness :-) allows you to watch all your users’ sessions on your site as though you were looking over their shoulders. It’s about usability testing for the rest of us. You can put it on your site and see what your users are doing.

I’m not a fan of most of these new products that are being introduced in the second section. Nothing I care about: a way to share private stuff with only SOME people. A startup at the South Pole. Usability widget.
But–now there’s an interesting speaker talking about wireless power, generated by the kinetic energy of human beings.So far, they use large muscle movements to generate 20 watts of power. It’s an interim form of energy for developing countries that can be used for LED lighting, cell phone charging and even the $100 computer in places that don’t have grid power. Small local solution.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Christy April 16, 2007 at 12:09 am

Hi Francine,

Thanks for the comments on my Instructables talk- track me down later at the conference for more than the 5-minute teaser, and some robot stickers if I didn’t give you some already. Speed talks like that need more scheduled mingling time!


Francine April 16, 2007 at 7:17 am

Christy, that was a cool presentation for five minutes. I loved the things the kids made, and it demoed your site really well. Unfortunately, I have to go back to AZ this morning and will only be at breakfast. If you see a Hardaway at the conference, accost her though — it’s Chelsea and she’s my partner.

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