Web 2.0 Summit, Day One

I’m not blogging each talk: some overall notes from the first day –

  • The morning workshops were mostly underwhelming. I expected mostly marketing pitches, which is what we got, and the presentations were just generic. The SEO panel was a weird mix of detail points which were too basic for any SEO/SEM optimizer and high-level comments which just fell flat. (Jason Calacanis thought it was mostly a pitch, which was probably right.) Having the MySpace CTO and Veoh VP of Ops talk about their use of CDNs was the highlight and probably the right tone for this conference.
  • Even at a high-powered conference like this, you still get duds as speakers or talks – Marissa Meyer’s Google Health overview was mostly platitudes + clip art, the Nokia talk was all over the place, RevolutionMoney sounds great but once the CEO started talking, his speech assumed a finance-focused MBA (I couldn’t describe how it worked at the end, and nobody I talked to could either).
  • I’m sure I’m in the minority on this front, but I find John Battelle’s interviewing style really difficult, especially in the Mark Zuckerberg interview, which was really a series of snarky comments or attempts to get “scoops” phrased as questions. While everybody loves scoops, Battelle isn’t Woodward and a hall with 1000 people isn’t the dark garage of the Watergate hotel – all you’re going to get is platitudes, no matter how much you badger. (The DeWolfe/Murdoch interview was still filled with snark, but was longer so had more actual content; the Ballmer interview so far hasn’t been nearly as bad.)The John Heilemann interview of Mike Moritz was the highlight of the interviews, if only because it felt like a real interview and brought out non-obvious things. Well, and just being in the room with Rupert Murdoch was pretty neat.
  • Only one crazy question so far. Bring on the crazy!
  • I didn’t do nearly enough LobbyConning – by the end of the afternoon the lobby was just mobbed.
  • If there’s Werewolf, I didn’t find it (and probably just don’t have the SF network or extroversion to create it). There were instead fancy-style LA parties for MySpace. This was fine: I ended up connecting with Chris Law from Aggregate Knowledge, who I haven’t seen in person in 10+ years, since he and I (and Paul, his co-founder) were Microsoft interns. (Want to create Werewolf with me? Contact me here or scottru@twitter.

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