Travelblog #w2s 3

Day two at Web 2.0 was jam-packed:

Shantanu Narayen, CEO at Adobe kicked the day off, and left me feeling more concerned than ever about the future of tools being provided for the traditional creative industries. They are positioning themselves more and more as a development platform, and it just leaves me wondering what options there are for things like print dtp.

On next… Mary Meeker. A while load of numbers on a whole load of slides, which it's going to take me a while to digest. What Steve Jobs does was an important (if somewhat obvious) take away.

John Rubenstein from HP (where he ended up after their acquisition of Palm) just made one think that with Apple, Android, Symbian, Blackberry and Windows already in the mix if there is room for another player in the mobile OS market?

The most inspiring speaker of the day for me was TonyHseih, the head of online shoe retailer Zappos. A business with some different approaches to company culture… I'm looking forward to reading Tony's book, 'Delivering Happiness'.

Jim Basillie from RIM continued discussions about mobile platforms. A lot of talk about open standards, which is ironic given that Blackberry's market position for me is totally down to their (very effective) closed proprietary network.

Yuri Milner then came on to talk about Digital Sky Technologies' investments in Facebook amongst other things. Very cagey…

The afternoon kicked off with Carol Bartz from Yahoo. She came across fantastically well, but as to the future of Yahoo… another dot com era also ran?

VC Vinod Khosla gave a presentation about the difference between innovation and punditry. The short version… Most punditry is crap.

Then Jon Donovan from AT&T spoke about the future of his telco. I've been thinking for a while about how bleak the prospects look for the firms who increasingly seem to be providing little more than commoditized bandwidth. However, allied with Schmidt's announcements about NFC capabilities in Android devices, maybe the future lies in rivalling banks as a way to allow retail transaction processing…

Before the big finale, and after a second ignite-format presentation about ways in which tech had helped the humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti, a series of funded start-ups gave 30 second pitches, and then five other firms made some announcements. I'll do a bit of QA on them before sharing details…

And so to the final two sessions. First up, financiers John Doerr and Fred Wilson. A natural East/West animosity between the two of them led to a lively debate… but in retrospect I can't but help think that they both underplay the globalising effect that all of the innovation they are involved in is having. Doerr in particular seems convinced that all the big tech innovation will continue to happen in the Valley. It feels to me that we'll start to see more from the emerging markets, and as Robin Li showed yesterday, much in a cultural context that is just incomprehensible to us in the Western developed world.

And so finally to Mark Zuckerberg. I'm not convinced that facebook is a fully-formed platform for development as yet… But Zuckerberg came across very well, and it was also encouraging to hear that her doesn't see this market as a zero sum game… Facebook co-exists with Google with Amazon with new emerging firms, and it's all about developing new markets, not just battling over the same one.

And so to day three…

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