Maggie Shiels

The Power of Less at Web 2.0

  • Maggie Shiels
  • 1 Apr 09, 12:37 GMT

The theme of this year's Web 2.0 Expo doesn't shy away from the fact that the economy looms large over the event.

Power of Less"The Power of Less can mean how to get more done with fewer resources," said conference co-chair Jennifer Pahlka. It seems to be the mantra of our times, but Jennifer and the Expo are putting a positive spin on things.

"It can mean the attractive power of simplicity, and it can mean all the ways in which constraints drive creativity and opportunity."

So this year more than ever it's simply about doing more with less, something we have all become familiar with I am sure as companies downsize and reorganise and friends and family get laid off.

And this year's event will be scaled down. There are fewer attendees, fewer exhibitors, less money, fewer parties, less pizzazz, less hype and no conference T-shirt.

The first day was very quiet, and always is, but seemed even more so this year. Last year there was quite a bit of buzz ahead of Microsoft's Live Mesh announcement and Yahoo's news that it was rewiring Yahoo to become more social.

This year just doesn't seem to have the same fizz or anticipation. No big product announcements are expected and the only thing to get excited about is Palm who may well make some headlines when the company's Michael Abbott makes his keynote later today.

It should be noted that Palm, which unveiled its hotly anticipated Pre smartphone at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier in the year, is not at the CTIA Wireless conference going on in Sin City at the moment.

Even though CTIA is all about mobile, the issue is a big topic at Web 2.0 and I will be following it up.

I also plan to have a look at the emergence of the real time web given the influence and impact of Twitter search. I know some of you are tired of the Twitter coverage but they will be getting some attention here with sessions on how to use the micro-blogging service in business and on analysing your followers for profit.

The Brits are back this year as well for a second time and all this week 20 start-ups will tour the Valley and press the flesh of venture capitalists and CEOs alike in a bid to make contacts and deals. Their organiser and leader Oli Barrett is taking them around all the Valley high spots such as Google, Microsoft, Plug and Play and Oracle.

Two companies have come back for a second visit so I will be catching up with them later in the week to see how they think things have changed in Silicon Valley over the last year and what their hopes and expectations are for this year's WebMission UK.


  • Comment number 1.

    In "simple is usually better" should be hung in every office methinks.

  • Comment number 2.

    ''I know some of you are tired of the Twitter coverage''

    No, not some. I'd reckon most are.

    I am sure many people here just wish, above all else, to retreat into their metaphorical caves, to relax, sit with their husbands, wives, partners or friends, and enjoy life. Natural, unconnected life.

    I am sure only the most fastidious, obsessive, ruthlessly competitive people in this world find any use from Twitter worthy of the BBC's excessive coverage of this technology.

    No doubt these are the sort of people who would have perched nightly over their computer screens, glued to their Outlook in the past; who would have coined the phrase 'Crackberry' in reference to the Blackberry smartphone soon after it spawned.

    The sort of people who want social media to underpin every facet of our lifestyles, no matter who we are, or what business we conduct. No matter how dangerous or destructive it is.

    This said, I thoroughly commend the idea of 'The Power of Less', in its promise to simplify the ways in which we remain connected. Whether it satisfies these promises remains to be seen.


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