Web 2.0 Summit 2010: Summary

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In this article I will cover the most interesting discussions and thoughts during 7th web 2.0 summit which held at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco, CA, November 15-17. Official summit web site is here.

This year was the first when free online live broadcasts from summit were available for public access. Almost all videos are published at Blip.tv and YouTube. This event gathers leaders of Internet Economy to discuss newest and most interesting trends of online business and online strategies. We live in wonderful time, facing a lot of new opportunities when global changes happen. Significant market transformation happening now, battles for points of control became inevitable. New partnerships and confrontations emerge. Every company tries to use its advantages and control points to leverage the market. In many cases now in order to grow Internet company has to take this piece from another company.
Opening video: here.
Interesting Internet industry discussion, main players strategy and ecosystem evolution: here.

Most interesting sessions
Google – Eric Schmidt, CEO
Eric started session from unannounced device with new Android OS and demonstrated NFC technology. NFC stands for Near Field Communications. One of its advantages is in much more secure applications and there are hundreds of startups based on eCommerce ideas. Other participants weren’t so excited with NFC as it is a mature technology, RIM plans to support it also. eCommerce visitors told that they will wait for the technology to become more popular and adopted.
In terms of platforms and services (a.e. Android) – all companies are fighting for the developers. Developers choose the most popular platforms. Application decision is made on developers and their decision is made on volumes. It gives bigger revenues. Android already has big volumes.
GoogleTV is another interesting project. It seems to be a major threat to cable companies. Comcast president during his session told that GoogleTV is a great solution for web browsing on TV screen. Another thing that GoogleTV is the first significant innovation after 20 years in remote controls area (GoogleTV combined keyboard, Sony PS3 gamepad and TV remote control).
Google continues strategy of M&A (Maps, Android). It gives them ability to find gems and develop it into biggest projects with Google resources. There are a lot of discussions about Google buying Groupon, Twitter, Foursquare. Interesting article could be found here.
Online video continues to grow with acceleration: 35 hours of video are being loaded on YouTube every minute.
Mobility is a significant trend in Internet industry. AdMob serves 1 billion impressions every day.
Eric mentioned markets and business directions with revenue > 1 billions:

  • Display Ads – Invite Media
  • Mobile
  • Enterprise tools
  • eCommerce

Google approach to develop new businesses.
1 – develop platform,
2 – make ecosystem work,
3 – attract critical mass of users.
After that users will figure out how to monetize it. Popular service could be always monetized.
Session video: here.

Baidu – Robin Li, CEO
Baidu is a chinese Google. Market cap is about $40 billions and roughly similiar to eBay cap. There are 420 millions Internet users in China and a great potential for future growth. 99% of chinese users use Baidu service. Baidu answers service contains 100 millions answers.
There are 800 millions of mobile subscribers. 150 millions of them use mobile Internet, but most of them are 2G subscribers with expensive data plans.
Very useful for entrepreneurs idea: “Robin goal is not in getting more money but in development of better product”. Probably this is a reason for his success.

Comcast Cable Communications – Neil Smit, President
Some numbers from Comcast: 350 millions VOD views per month, 50% of them are paid ones. 17 billions VOD downloads, it is 1.5 times more than iTunes Music. Video business is one ot the most important for Comcast. Comcast innovates with new delivery channels: iPad, iPhone, iTouch are already supported, Android support is coming soon.
Session video: here.

Adobe – Shantanu Narayen, CEO
Adobe Flash is still very popular and proved technical feasibility of implementation on various mobile platforms: RIM PlayBook, HP WebOS, Google Android. Main business development direction is authoring tools (Creative Suite) as it seems to generate the biggest revenue for Adobe. Thats why Adobe doesn’t bother about holy wars between Flash and HTML5 as it develops tools for both. Revenue from Creative Suite wont change significantly in case we all start to develop HTML5 sites (especially if in Dreamweaver CS5).
Recently was announced significant increase in Flash content indexing effectiveness by Google.
Many businesses depend on their content availability across different platforms. There are a lot of new platforms in the last time. Business moving towards online channel should think about how its users interact with it in Internet. If you develop online business and not measure it then it is at least not effective. It is like you develop product and don’t know what your customers want.
Shantanu confirmed war for the developers (authoring tools). Adobe business depends on online content volumes but Adobe doesn’t plan to develop self content or ads business.
Shantanu regularly meets partners, and Microsoft (steve Balmer) is one of them. They discuss cooperation and partnership aspects but Adobe acts as ISV. The stress is on the first letter – Independent. Adobe has grown up 25% this year. There are huge opprtunities for the company and Adobe plans to increase its value and revenue. The most important business directions for Adobe:

  • Creative authoring
  • Online marketing optimization
  • Enterprise tools

Session video: here.

Morgan Stanley – Mary Meeker, Managing Director
Top 10 questions every Internet Executives should reply to:

  • Globality – Do you know which players in which countries do what you do better (or at least differently) than you do? Do you study / implement it?
  • Mobility – ramping faster than any ‘new new thing’. Is your business leading or lagging?
  • Social Ecosystems- Would you rather be Apple, Google or Facebook? Will their future directions help / hurt your business?
  • Advertising – Ripe for innovation – will your business benefit? Ad dollars always follow eye balls (and eye balls spent more time in Internet)
  • Commerce – Have you ever seen ‘constant imporvement’ in products like we are seeing now? Is your business keeping pace? New words became popular: ‘Wal-Mart in your pocket’, ‘location based services’, ‘group buying power’, ‘flash sales’, ‘deep discounts’, ‘transparent pricing’, virtual goods’…
  • Media – What does the extraordinary ramp in on-demand video usage mean for your business?
  • Leadership – Shocking changes over just 6 years… are you prepared for next half decade of change
  • Steve Jobs – What’s his ‘secret sauce’? Does your company have it?
  • Ferocious pace of change – When do consumers / enterprises & incumbents / attackers need you?
  • Closing thoughts – Large companies do not typically support rapid growth rates of the magnitude that follow… will these trends continue?

In the end of presentation Mary worried us that according to their expectations in 2025 Revenue vs Entitlement spending + interest payments should meet each other at the level of 20% of GDP. This could hoave the same impact as mortgage recently.
SlideShare presentation here.
Presentation video: here

HP – John Rubinstein
Actually, John already worked in HP. He started his career there. Later he worked with Steve Jobs. So he is that John Rubinstein which is mentioned in iCon book.
Palm was succesfully integrated into big big company HP. There are a lot of devices planned in next year – smartphones as well as tablets. Advantages of WebOS: easy integration into cloud infrastructure, enhanced multitasking, over the air software updates and many more other features.
Session video: here.

RIM – Jim Balsillie, CEO
RIM recently launched PlayBook tablet – a close competitor to Apple iPad. RIM believes that there should be no points of control between mobile users and Internet from hardware vendor, no proprietary authoring tools like with Apple. You don’t need an App for Internet. RIM PlayBook lets you use all existing authoring tools to develop content for mobile devices. Siginficant bet is made on Adobe Flash support which works perfectly in RIM PlayBook. PlayBook is oriented toward enterprises and corporate usage (as well as for entertainment the rest of the time). And RIM is pretty strong in enterprise tools.
Jim mentioned that they plan to support NFC in their devices if they are not fools (he hope that they are not). There is a strong interest growth for this technology.
Session video: here.

DST – Yuri Milner, CEO
DST is a big investor of Facebook, Zynga, GroupOn. They conduct differnet model of business investments – investment by private transactions in pre IPO companies. ‘Take liquidity pressure out of the table’. Interestingly though that DST doesn’t join board of directors in order to avoid conflicts of interests among different investments.
Yuriy assumes development of artificial intelligence on base of social networks and that all game should be social soon.
Session video: here.

Yahoo – Carol Bartz, CEO
Yahoo! serves about 18 billions of ad impressions. 600 millions of unique users use Yahoo! One of the core competences of company is in generation of the most relevant home pages for visitors. They use really complex data mining algorithms. Every day Yahoo! generates 6 mlns home page variations.
One of the common questions during the summit – how to fight for the developers. Google raised salary on 10% recently. Yahoo! brings the most interesting and complex tasks in front of developers. This gives them a chance to express themselves.
Session video: here.

AT&T – John Donovan, CEO
John confirmed rapid growth of mobility all over the world and significantly increased mobile Internet consumption. Recently all three major telecom operators in USA launched mobile wallet project.
Session video: here.

Facebook – Mark Zuckerberg, CEO
First of all new communication system was discussed. Mark told how he got an idea of that. He believes that new communication system should replace old emails. Teenagers need simple, fast and informal way of communications. Thats why IM services are so popular. Having a social graph Facebook could solve spam problem.
Every day 50% of Facebook users visit Facebook. Mark confirmed rapid growth of mobility. There are 200 millions mobile users of Facebook.
Adding social features to any service often significantly change service at all.
Session video: here.

LinkedIn – Jeff Weiner, CEO
First of all LinkedIn is a 7 year old private company. It has three strategies of monetization: advertising, premium accounts, recruiting services. LinkedIn counts 85 millions of users. Every second new user is registered. 50% of users outside of US. It took 477 days to get first million and it took 9 days to get the latest million. There are 60 millions of unique visitors every month.
Great advantage of LinekdIn that its recruiting services give access to passive candidates which are not actively seeking for job opportunities. These candidates often more interesting for HRs.
From financial point of view Jeff told that IPO is not the only option of raising money. Company strategy is in products development, in its mission. Money could be raised in series of private transactions. Companies like DST have already changed the rules.
Session video: here.

Point of control: content
Very interesting insight into the real things from the content producers point of view. Ariel Emmanuel is an agent for bery popular celebrities. He told that they are very interested in online distribution but there is no currently reliable technology and income from traditional channels is still very good.
Session video: here.

Twitter – Evan Williams, Co-Founder
Finally Twitter started to monetize service: promoted tweets, promoted followers, promoted trends, promoted suite of products. Currently demand for Twitter ads is much higher than Supply. The most interesting Twitter ad feature that advertiser could get immediate reply on hos ads, negative or positive. It is better than silence. Twitter enhances its API in order to develop service towards business communications platform. This moves dictates importance of Twitter analytics for online marketing. Recently original Twitter analytics service was announced.
In our products we also try to catch the trend with Twitter anlytics integration in our multimedia projects.
Session video: here.

Interesting thought about innovation: “To build something too early is the same as to build something wrong”.

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