Web 2.0 – The Return of the Memes
John Battelle and Tim O’Reilly did as good a job as possible in getting the Internet 1.0 stars back in the same room this week. Here is Mary Meeker, John Doerr, Mark Cuban. There is Jeff Bezos, Kim Polese, Marc Andreessen, Jerry Yang, and Halsey Minor.
As with the Industry Standard conferences that Battelle built, the focus of this conference was on big-picture ideas – search personalization, the Internet in China, the mobile Internet, and so on. Such conferences strike us as ‘infotainment.’ The primary driver for ponying up the nearly $3K entrance fee is the potential to chit-chat with the Net stars. (We didn’t go – couldn’t afford the price of admission – but feel comfortable making the observation because we vicariously experienced the event through a dozen blogs that seemed to cover every word.)
There is a lack of practicality in big-picture events. Attendees selfishly care about making or getting investments or landing a better job while pretending that they are altruistically driven by educating themselves or celebrating the blogosphere. A noteable exception at Web 2.0 was a presentation by the CEO of Adult Friendfinder.
The a:c would welcome the return of small-picture, company focussed conferences – of the type that Tony Perkins and the Red Herring built. Whereas, the Web 2.0 conference would give the impression that the new, new Internet economy is about blogging and political awareness, most VC dollars are going into mundane companies that develop anti-spam software, Wi-fi middleware, and data storage.