it@cork Web2.0 Conference – Q&A and final comment

it@cork Web2.0 Conference

Event type: Conference

Date: 2006-06-08

Rating: 5 out of 5

The Q&A session didn’t last very long but did throw up some interesting points.

To kick off, there were various tech questions for Rob. Then Fergus was asked how long it took to launch Nooked, He replied that it was about a year after 3 different models. Walter was asked how he was hiring. He isn’t. There was a question about to get the right right developer expertise. It was pointed out that there was tons of help out there.

Fergus made a very important point – he wishes that more developers blogged in Ireland. The low level of uptake in blogging amongst young Irish developers and 3rd level students is frankly ridiculous. I have often brought the topic up when interviewing graduate developers and often get blanked. I’m far far more likely to hire someone who at least shows some appreciation of blogging than someone with a 1.1 who has had their head stuck in the sand for four years of college.

One person asked about whether it is preferable to have a high volume web-site or a very useful one. Salim said he likes consumer because it proves scalability. In the consumer world sucess can mean huge success. Shel on the other hand thought that all those consumer focused companies are wrong because they are all hoping to be bought rather than having a real business model. Shel is writing a new book and one of the main questions in it is how is anyone going to make money?

Salim agreed that acquisition is the only real exit route in the consumer space or having a hugely viral app like Skype. In the consumer space, barrier to entry is low, but barrrier to exit is high. Salim pointed out that some Web 2.0 companies are heading into the enterprise space away from consumer as a result.

Salim has had lots of people wanting to licence PubSub but always turned it down. His fear is that they would end up as a services business and you can then never return to products model. He has been in 4 services companies that tried to build products and all of them failed.

And that was it. A great 4 hours, I think everyone got something from it.

The most useful thing I got from the conference actually came from the night before. Myself and Fergus were talking about Techcrunch and I was complaining that Arrington’s post about PubSub was horrendous – he was obviously more concerned with being first than being right. At this, Donncha O’Caoimh asked “who?”. I didn’t understand him, what did he mean by “who”? Donncha clarified – “Who is Michael Arrington?” he said!!

The creator of WordPress MU, a lead developer of WordPress.org and WordPress.com, an employee of Automattic, has no idea who Michael Arrington is or what Techcruch is. That really stopped me in my tracks and has had me thinking since. Whilst I waste time reading what some lawyer and his BBQ buddies think of what other people are doing, Donncha is too busy building the future to care. An important lesson.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

About Conor O'Neill

5 Comments for this entry

June 10th, 2006 on 4:21 pm

I doubt that more than one-third of those attending knew the URLs of the blogs written by people seated across the room from them. Even with a cozy group of 100 conference attendees, the networking remains incestuous. It might be good for IT@Cork to put the blog names of people on the nametags issued at sign-in.

Third level colleges and universities won’t put blogging on their curricula unless there’s some compelling research that demonstrates the learning imperative that flows from blogging. Niall Watts has some of that underway at the moment but the results are a winter’s study away.

Conor O'Neill
June 10th, 2006 on 4:21 pm

That’s an excellent point. I guess I was a smidge disappointed that of all the people I met for the first time the previous night and at the conference, only Branedy and his wife had even heard of my personal blog and I guess that’s because they live about 20km from me.

OK, it is a bit atypical for a blog since the majority of the readers are not bloggers, are completely non-technical and more subscribe by email than via RSS.

In contrast, I go out of my way to at least check-out, if not necessarily subscribe, to most Irish blogs I see mentioned in a positive light or who link over to me in any way or make a comment on my blog. My version of social networking.

Forget the colleges (no offence Bernie!), I was still being taught Fortran in 1990 in UCD, so my expectations from them are pretty low. The students themselves should have the cop-on to go do this themselves. And I’m not talking about poxy Bebo or MySpace.

Even when I was in college way back, I always found it weird that most people in an Engineering course had no personal interest in technology outside of getting their degree. I don’t know why this is but it seems to be the reason that we have no really young uber-developers in Ireland who are shocking us all with amazing software created in their spare time. Slightly off-topic rant there but relates to Fergus’ comment about creating an ecosystem.

I look forward to seeing what Niall comes up with. The growing use of blogs in business must surely also have some relevance to their use in colleges either by students or by the colleges themselves.

Donncha O Caoimh
June 11th, 2006 on 12:11 am

Thanks Conor for the comment! I had heard about Techcrunch, and even visited there once or twice but it looked like yet another new-product-discussion blog. Thankfully I can concentrate on development instead.

I’ve never been busier, or happier, since I started at Automattic so hopefully the code will keep flowing!

Conor O'Neill
June 11th, 2006 on 12:11 am

That’s exactly what Techcrunch is, rather than the oracle of all Web 2.0 knowledge that it seems to be treated as right now. I wonder if the PubSub post is the tipping point for it as a serious web-site?

Pity they can’t clone you and get WPMU and SB playing nice with each other ;-)

Conor O'Neill
July 24th, 2006 on 12:04 pm