DC Web Conference, Anyone?
As a Northern Virginia Digital Agency, we are helping to organize a web conference here in Virginia (just outside of DC) that will happen on September 20th. Yesterday, I attended a breakfast roundtable to discuss the event with about 20 other execs and found the brainstorming to be really interesting. We had people from advertising, venture capital, software, and a couple of start-ups. The talk focused on how to put together an event that would have broad appeal while providing valuable take-aways for everyone, and I think we have some great ideas for doing just that. With such a diverse group speaking openly about trends that are really disrupting every industry, it was clear why the term "Web 2.0" gets such a rise out of people. Some hate the term because they feel it was immediately hijacked by marketers as another buzzword. Some fear the term either because they associate it with technologies they don't understand (e.g., AJAX, RSS), techniques they haven't mastered (e.g., blogging, viral marketing), or just losing control (since the customers seem to be gaining all the power). Some love the term because it means we're in another dot-com boom so there are exciting new web companies launching every day, with some seeing mind-boggling growth (ever heard of MySpace?). No matter if you hate, fear, or love the term, everyone seems to agree that there's little agreement on what "Web 2.0" really means. I tried to define it back in March, and I understand that O'Reilly will "attempt to clarify" at his $3,300 conference in November. But does it really need a clear definition? If Web 2.0 represents anything, it's speed. Just a year ago, few people had heard of Ruby on Rails, YouTube, or Michael Arrington. In less than 12 months, RoR developers are in high demand, YouTube has a bigger audience than network TV, and Michael Arrington is a celebrity. Plus, I'm told that if you don't know what social networking is, you're a loser. The only thing we can count on with a Web 2.0 definition is that it will be different in a few months. Regardless of your interest or motivation, getting a lot of smart people together to talk about what's happening on the web right now, and how both businesses and consumers can really benefit, seems like a good idea. Hope to see you on September 20th.