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Web 2.0 Expo NY: Wednesday Keynotes

Wednesday afternoon at Web 2.0 Expo NY was a series of short keynotes. Most of them were very inspiring, in particular Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures and Gary Vaynerchuk of WineLibrary TV.

Here are my Twitter notes from the keynotes:

“New York’s Web Industry From 1995 to 2008: From Nascent to Ascendent” by @fredwilson

  • @fredwilson’s slides designed by @jeremybogdan
  • In 1995, 230 funded in Silicon Valley, 30 in Silicon Alley. In 2008, 360 in Silicon Valley, 116 in Silicon Alley.
  • “Let’s bury the term Silicon Alley. We’re a lot bigger than an alley.” — @fredwilson. CLAPS!
  • ITP program @ NYU started in 1979. In 1991, Ziff Davis started ZDNet, ran on Compuserve and Prodigy and ZD’s own service.
  • Prodigy in NY in 1993. First online service to offer dial-up access to the WWW
  • Razorfish started in 1994. DoubleClick put up the “Welcome to Silicon Alley” billboard
  • Lots of great history here. Can’t keep up. Hopefully @fredwilson will post the slides
  • Mining co started in 1997. Largest consumer site on the internet to come out of NY
  • Success & failure in 1997. Total New York sold to AOL. Voyager was shut down. Couldn’t make business work
  • Razorfish bought 4 companies in 1997. The great agency rollup. Double-click went public. Seth Godin sold Yoyodyne to Yahoo!
  • Kozmo.com started in 1998. @fredwilson invested in it. Everyone in NYC at that time used Kozmo (including me!)
  • In ’99, all the big offline companies wanted to come online. All hell broke loose. Dozens of IPOs/acquisitions, 200 funded startups
  • Documentary “We Live in Public” interloper films
  • March 2000 market crash, companies couldn’t fund themselves. @jasoncalacanis told everyone at Harvard to leave & start cos. Oops
  • Rock bottom hit in 2002. Double-click’s “Welcome” billboard taken down. @jasoncalacanis moved to CA. 2003 things started turning up
  • 2004 NY Tech Meetup started with 10 people. 2005 Etsy started in Rob K’s apt
  • Path101 gets a shout out! Started in 2007
  • @fredwilson’s trip down memory lane was great and makes me so proud to live in NYC!

“The Death of the Grand Gesture” by Deborah Schultz

  • The personal: concierge, dinner table conversation.
  • The social web is a collection of personal connections
  • If we only live in the world of social media, it’s information overload. If we only live in grand gesture, relationships are flat
  • @debs – “You can’t have a grand gesture without a continuum, and you can’t have a continuum without a grand gesture”
  • “Technology changes. Humans don’t.” — @debs

    [Slides here]

“High Order Bit” by Jason Fried of @37signals

  • You’re lucky if you build software. You can build software anywhere. In your house, in a plane, anywhere. But some things to beware
  • Software doesn’t give you feedback like a lot of things, like a water bottle (where to drink, where to hold, how much liquid left)
  • Software is too nebulous, too transparent. Doesn’t have edges or weight, size or mass. Doesn’t cast shadows. It continues to expand
  • “What would your software be like if it was a physical device? What would it feel like? Would it be spiky or comfortable?”
  • Jason Fried showing Homer’s car, with everything he would want in a car. A million different features and looks ridiculous together
  • “Software devolves when you say yes to too many features, when you say yes to all of your customers” — Jason Fried
  • Think of yourself as a gatekeeper, an editor, a curator. “A curator’s job is to say no”
  • Listen to your customers, but innovate on behalf of the entire customer base, not just the vocal ones.
  • “The vocal minority” know a lot about what they want, but not what’s best for your entire customer base. You do
  • It’s not just about what your customers are telling you. It’s about what you’re telling yourself.
  • Highrise was sophomore follow up to Basecamp. When they started using it themselves, realized it was pretty shitty.
  • “Customers are only able to represent what they conceive as possible, not what is ultimately possible.” — Jason Fried
  • Building Campfire, they purposely limited to text chat even though everyone wanted audio & video. Would’ve taken too long to build
  • What makes WineLibrary a good place is that they’ve turned down tens of thousands of wine, NOT that they have every wine. Curated
  • Audience Q: Best way to turn down feature creep in a product? “When they say any monkey can do that, tell them to do it”
  • Audience Q: How would you redesign Microsoft Office? “Office is fine,it’s just not a modern office. I’d make it more collaborative”
  • Steve Jobs is probably the ultimate curator. The best in the business
    [Slides here]

“The DIY Guide to Crowing a Company” by Etsy’s new CEO Maria Thomas

  • “The core of what I know about building a business I learned from my Greek grandparents” Entrepreneurs in Wheeling, WV
  • Brought “filotimo” with them from Greece. Means operating with integrity, clarity of purpose, sense of social responsibility
  • Finding it hard to follow along with Maria’s talk because she’s reading off of notes. Sorry, just feels forced. The rhythm is weird
  • Maria Thomas used to work at NPR and sees a lot of similarities to Etsy. “Listen to end-users…but Jason said it better.”
  • M Thomas joined Etsy 4 mos ago. Etsy as marketplace. Personal. Credits Jared, developer, for why it’s playful. How about designers?

    [Slides here]

Gary Vaynerchuk

  • “Patience and passion” Too many people in this room who are doing what they hate. “Please stop doing that! Promise me your won’t!”
  • Okay, it’s my first time seeing @garyvee speak and I’m already sold. Ridiculous
  • It took him 17 months of WineLibrary TV before getting recognized.
  • “Listen to your users like Jason Fried said. Absolutely. But giving a shit about your users is WAY better”
  • “Look at yourself in the mirror and ask What do I want to do for the rest of my life. And do it! You can monetize that shit”
  • “Stop crying and just keep hustling. Guys, we’re building businesses here. This isn’t about parties.”
  • “@fredwilson and I had coffee the other day and I said I love ‘freemium’ and Fred looks at me and goes ‘I coined that phrase'”
  • “I hustle about meeting every single person on earth. Ppl who don’t know me think I’m a loud, obnoxious East Coast guy”
  • “I build the most unscalable apps on earth. Let’s build a Facebook app: you ask me a question about wine, and I’ll answer it”
  • He books everyone without an agent or PR person. But if you don’t believe in what you’re doing for half a second, get out now
  • We only get to play this game one time. One life.
  • He talked to Dominos franchisers. He told them “1) You’re fucked. You’re in a franchise. Everything I believe in you can’t do”
  • “2) Bring back The Noid”
  • You need to build brand equity. This work is tough, it sucks. But if you love it, you win. Be transparent. Your legacy is your life
  • “What’s imperative to me is using the tools. Use ALL of them. Your user base cares about you and you need to connect with them”
  • “Reality TV isn’t real. The place where we play is very real. Wrap your head around that”
  • “Don’t care how small your niche is. I’m killing it w wine right now. You don’t want to compete w me. But what about Pinor Noir hr”
  • “You’re not gonna make stickers and give out shwag and people are gonna give a shit about you”
  • @garyvee is obsessed with @charlesforman‘s iminlikewithyou.com
  • Audience Q: “How do you get money to do what you love?” “You don’t. I lost a shitload of $$. But you position yourself to succeed”
  • “Stop watching fucking LOST. If you want bling bling…work”
  • @garyvee KILLED. Calling @charlesforman a douchebag was the highlight for me :) :)

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  • http://xianlandia.com xian

    wait, so does he like or dislike iminlikewithyou?

    • http://www.whitneyhess.com/blog Whitney Hess

      He didn't say whether or not he likes iminlikewithyou, but he thinks a lot about casual gaming and why it's such a success, essentially why people congregate on the site, what that could mean, how to harness it. Okay, he didn't use those words, but that's my interpretation of what he was saying. I'll ask him on Twitter and see what he says.