Posts Tagged DEMOfall

The Vortex: BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos

On my way to DEMOfall in San Diego this morning and loving/loathing the American Airlines onboard wifi. I can write The Vortex I missed Friday but then again… I can write The Vortex I missed Friday. Also the dude in front of me just reclined his seat. My keyboard is now embedded in my chest.

News from the Social Media Vortex

–Dan Lyons finally snapped and unleashed his fury on Twitter, though as regular readers know, I don’t necessarily disagree with him. As proof of his perceived stupidity of the service, he quotes tweets from Dane Cook. Come on, Dan, try a little harder.

–The much-anticipated rollout of MMS for iPhones supposedly started last week. I’m not sure if/how users will be notified of it though. Can someone make an app for that? (I’m joking. I think.)

–Hey! Somebody finally won the Netflix prize! BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos (that’s the name of my next child) won $1 million for developing a smarter algorithm to power the rental service’s recommendation system. Congrats BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos! God that’s a great name.

Apps on the Radar

–Google Labs has a fun new way to read the news, Fast Flip. Better emulating the experience of reading a printed magazine (pay attention, Kindle), Fast Flip is still an experiment but hopefully signals new attitudes toward digital content.

–And on that subject, I meant to tell you last time about News Dots, an interactive map of news stories from Slate that visually shows connections between people, places, and things in the news. To see the precursor to this technology, check out the Network Maps on Silobreaker, one of my favorite news sites (and a DEMO alum!)

–If all that news is getting you down, try The Onion’s new iPhone app, which includes no news at all, just ironic headlines.

–Two totally unnecessary but completely fun iPhone apps for you: an Army of Darkness app (!) complete with sound clips, and Pirate Tweets, for those times when, well jeez, when do you not need to talk like a pirate?

Tweet of the Week

–It’s a Facebook status rather than a tweet so no link. My college friend Abe has some of the best status updates around, though he does get a bit dark occasionally. He probably wouldn’t friend you if you asked (he’s bitter), so I may compile his truisms into a book one day. I’ll leave you with this to ponder today:

[Don’t] remember exactly, but figure we all liked each other just a little better before it was possible to read an unending stream of each others’ inane bullshit.

Amen brother.

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What It’s All About? Entrepreneurs!

As Co-Founder and CEO of Guidewire Group, I usually let Chris and Carla do the blogging, but something happened this week at DEMOfall that inspired me to pen this first post.

When Chris and I founded Guidewire Group, we did so because we believed that there was an enormous opportunity to help entrepreneurs around the world connect with the investors, customers, partners, employees, mentors, service providers, media outlets and other entrepreneurs that can help them realize their dreams. Guidewire Group is committed to fulfilling this need with intelligence, inspiration, and integrity.

Over the last few months, we and our long-time partner DEMO faced aggressive attacks on our business model and questions about our commitment to serving entrepreneurs. While dealing with these attacks and questions was occasionally challenging or distracting, ultimately they gave us renewed energy to keep doing what we know how to do best: support entrepreneurs and those organizations that want to see entrepreneurs succeed.

During DEMOfall’s closing dinner, most of the 72 demonstrators (from 12 countries!) and several of DEMO’s sponsors unexpectedly took the stage, one after another, and expressed their gratitude and support of Chris, Carla and the incredible DEMO team in a most extraordinary way. Thankfully, a colleague was quick enough to capture most of this incredibly gratifying testimonial.

Inspiring this kind of gratitude, delight and loyalty in those Guidewire Group was founded to serve is for me, what it’s all about. So as long as entrepreneurs are building new businesses, Guidewire Group will be there to support them.

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We May Not Know Where the Web is Going But These Folks Sure Do

As reported in ReadWriteWeb last month, we’ve been working on a fantastic roundtable for DEMOfall and I’m thrilled to finally be able to reveal details. Nova Spivack, the session’s moderator, and I have worked overtime to secure a stellar and diverse line-up of thought leaders to answer the very tough question:  Where the Web is Going?

Though everyone can agree that we’re on the cusp of the next Internet revolution, its exact definition is one of frequent and vigorous debate. Is Web 3.0 about semantics or user-generated content? Innovate search engines or cloud computing? Where does the enterprise fit in all this? And what about big media; are they adapting sufficiently and flexibly?

To address these issues for and with DEMO’s business-minded audience, we thought we’d go straight to the big guns. As Nova says,

My goal for this panel is to find out where the major Web incumbents think the Web is going. If their stock valuations do not fluctuate one way or the other by at least a few hundred million in market cap after this panel then I have failed.

He sets manageable goals, no?  Without further ado, our lineup for ‘Where the Web is Going: Web 2.0, 3.0 and Beyond.’ There is sure to be lively debate with this group, so make sure you’re registered for DEMOfall 08; you won’t want to miss a thing.

Moderator: Nova Spivack, Founder and CEO, Radar Networks


Ross Levinsohn, Partner, Velocity Interactive Group

Howard Bloom, Author, The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century

Peter Norvig, Director of Research, Google Inc.

Jon Udell, Evangelist, Microsoft Corporation

Prabhakar Raghavan, PhD, Head of Research and Search Strategy, Yahoo! Inc.

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Lest You Forget, It Is All About Me

I’ve been so heads down working on the DEMOfall conference (It’s going to be great, by the way) that I failed to realize what I chump I am.

All along, I’ve been using Twitter to keep an ear to the rail. I nurture my “following” list and am ceaselessly fascinated by the things people are doing, what they’ve discovered, and what they find necessary to share with a more or less anonymous world. Yes, I also use Twitter to keep a presence in the world; that way you all think I’m out and about when in truth I’m home watching So You Think You Can Dance (Will is going to win it, I’m sure of it. Update: In a measure of  my predictive abilities, Will was voted off the show just hours after I posted this column.).

Then yesterday, Twitter pukes and the relationship database goes haywire. Followers are mowed down by the hundreds. The hue and cry is deafening. “Where, oh where,” the Twitterati wail, “are all my followers?” Read the rest of this entry »

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The Week That Was and Will Be

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll never be an A-list blogger, primarily because I just can’t keep up a daily flow of posts. I intended a quick piece on the CBS/CNET story yesterday but the day got away from me. In short, I agree with Marshall. (Perhaps that’s my new blogging philosophy: “Ditto.”) I am bound and determined though to dash off a quick post on the week behind and the week ahead.

Chris and I ran through a day packed with meetings in Austin earlier this week, screening potential startups for DEMOfall. While I can’t reveal particulars, I can say that there were multiple “Wow” moments. And the companies were overwhelmingly un-Web 2.0. Energy conservation, computer security, wireless USB – Austin startups are innovating across the technology map. We ended the day with a jam-packed cocktail party and all manner of great conversations. It was an excellent conclusion to a road show that has taken Chris across the US. For anyone in doubt, innovation and thriving tech communities are by no means exclusive to Silicon Valley. Can’t wait to reveal more on these companies in September.

The week ahead has two interesting events I want to plug: SemTech and the French Tech Tour. The Semantic Technology Conference, at the San Jose Fairmont May 18-22, may not immediately send thrills up your spine but I can promise you that semantics is where technology’s future lies. Love it, hate it or completely befuddled by it, semantics aim to transform our Internet into a smarter, simpler, more intuitive world in which to live and work. I’ll be on a panel discussing just how we’re going to draw everyone into this exciting world, Taking Semantic Technology to the Masses. With Chris Morrison of VentureBeat, Mark Johnson of Powerset, Thomas Tague of the Reuters Calais Initiative and Josh Dilworth of Porter Novelli, the conversation is sure to be lively. If you have any issues or questions you’d like us to address, leave them in the comments.

On Wednesday, May 21, I’ll be participating in the French Tech Tour at Microsoft’s Mountain View campus. Hosted by the French Embassy, it will be a day of discussion and networking, introducing French startups in the US. If you’re at all invested in the global tech landscape, don’t miss it. And if you’re looking for the cocktail party to be at on Tuesday night, join us at Mighty in San Francisco.

I’ll do my darndest to blog on all of this, even if they’re just one-paragraph updates. You can also follow my Twitter feed if you’re interested in the minutia. Be warned though, parenting issues and political diatribes sometimes crop up there.

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Let’s Get Real: Business is Not Personal


Good morning, all. How’s everyone out there in peaceful-happy-go-lucky-tech-land? Everyone good? Anyone received a death threat recently? Oh that’s right. We have! Well, I supposed it’s good to be noticed. What is that old saying? If you’re not pissing people off, you’re not doing things right? By that logic, we must be running a hell of a show.

I’m not entirely sure who whizzed in Mike Arrington’s Wheaties but someone at DEMO/Guidewire Group apparently did. From what I hear, we’re in good company; the list of people Arrington doesn’t like is approaching impressive proportions. If I have any advice for folks in the tech industry, entrepreneurs and media alike, it’s to watch your back. Friendly competition is obviously not in Mike’s vocabulary; either you succumb to his will or… DIE!

Calm down, Mike. Read the rest of this entry »

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