We just had a small earthquake here.
Amazing how quickly the USGS site has info.
It was only a 3.0, but it was really close. (And quite close to the MacArthur Maze, site of the truck crash on Sunday.)
The brief look we had yesterday at the invite list for the conference in Hawaii run by David Hornik of August Capital provided a reminder that there’s often a story behind how the speakers at conferences are chosen (or invitees to invite-only events), a story that often is not shared with the people who pay to go to the conference, and the rest of the world, even though sometimes the conflicts are very clear.
The first time I remember being sure of such a conflict was at an Agenda conference after Stewart Alsop became a venture capitalist. I noticed that a fair number of the presenters were from his portfolio companies. He may have even joked about how he was using his power to tilt the table in favor of his investments. I also remember hearing a lot of grumbling in the hallways (some of it from me) that we were paying to see ads.
Hornik’s investments are well-represented among the people invited to his conference. Are his competitors represented as well? We can’t analyze that now, because the site has been closed.
Who loses when tech conferences lack integrity? I’d argue that the Valley loses. It’s this kind of inbreeding that kept them from seeing what they call “user generated content” until 2004 or 2005, when it had been growing along with the web since its inception in the early 90s. An industry that prides itself on always being at the forefront had fallen far behind the leading edge. And even today, they don’t understand it — they call it “new media” — and invite people who make them feel safe, they don’t want to hear from people who challenge their assumptions. That’s not a good way to design a conference, people come home feeling bored with the same-old same-old, when there are new experiences to be had, new ideas to be shared.
Long-term this is their loss, although it slows down the flow of capital to new ideas when they most need support. They are happy to come in when it has been proven that there’s money to be made, but the technologies come out much less powerfully than they would if the investors of the Valley really risked alongside the innovators. But they find us too brash, or outspoken, that’s how we sound to them — and to their friends in the established media and “new media” but until they embrace the randomness of the web, they’ll continue to be surprised, continue to play catch-up, and continue to miss the really big opportunities.
Stewart Alsop via email: “I became a VC in June 1996. At Agenda 97 that fall, I shared the program 50/50 with Bob Metcalfe. I made my first investment at NEA right after that conference in December 1996. I did not participate in running Agenda 98, by which time I had three portfolio companies. But, even if I did AND if I had all three CEOs participate (which none of them actually did), it’s hard to imagine that 3/26 of the program would be a ‘fair number of the presenters.’”
PS: Valleywag has a copy of the invite list.
PPS: I’ve backed it up here.
Micah Sifry: The Battle to Control Obama’s Myspace.
Om Malik: Hey Microsoft, forget MIX, focus on Mobiles.
For some unknown reason I needed to reboot my Mac by powering it off a number of times while I was in Las Vegas. Each time the Parallels desktop would be forced off without saving its state, and now it won’t launch Windows XP.
I’m getting good at this!
PS: I’m doing this so I can install the software for the Zune that Microsoft gave to all the speakers at Mix 07.
It’s been said before, elsewhere — but this is ridiculous. They’re asking for my life history. I just want to put some podcasts on the device and talk a walk and try it out. For example, they want my phone number and birth date, both are required fields. Geeeeez. I lied, like everyone else.
Later, I’ve completed the installation, now, how do I get a few songs and podcasts onto the device?
It shows up on the desktop, but when I click the icon, it launches the marketplace user interface, which lets me buy music from their store. But of course I already have music. Seems they should make it a bit more obvious how to copy my tunes onto the device.
Later, I might be getting somewhere.
Fumbling around, I believe it’s possible to synch up a podcast downloaded from the web with my Zune device, but everything I try results in it playing the MP3 on my desktop instead of copying it to my Zune.
I wish there was a way to use the Windows desktop file copying commands to move content onto the Zune. I already know how to use it, and I’ve never liked synching.
In this blurry picture of a Zune, look at the top of the screen, you’ll see a list of menu options. I can’t figure out how to get the cursor to go up there. Any ideas.
Michael Gartenberg on the Zune UI (and a comment on Parallels).
Kevin Tofel explains how synching works on the Zune.
52 years ago on this day I was born.
My mailbox overflows with birthday wishes.
It’s going to be a great day.
PS: Megnut-the-blog is 8 today.