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PC Forum – Day 3

DesertPC Forum day 3 opened with a talk by Eric Johnson, Norman Eig Professor of Business, Columbia University School of Business called “Defaults have value(s): How Do People Really Behave on the Web?”. His bottom line was that defaults have a huge impact on consumer behavior and he illustrated this point with many examples. He also showed studies revealing how the background image of a webpage has a big effect on consumer willingness to buy from that site.
The first panel was "Content: How Users Make it Their Own", moderated by Hank Barry, Partner, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. The panelists were Lisa Gansky, Chairman & President, Ofoto, and GM, Digital Imaging Services, Eastman Kodak, Rob Glaser, Chairman & CEO, RealNetworks, and Shane Robison, Executive VP & Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, Hewlett-Packard. There was a wide-ranging discussion about how users interact with content and even create content. Hank said that 44% of web users have actually created some of their own content on the web. Tools like TypePad are making this really easy to do. Updating a geocaching expedition log is another example of the idea of the "writeable web". There was a lot of discussion about the music business and changing distribution mechanisms and business models.

The "Beyond POEM (plain old e-mail): Attention Management" panel included Irene Greif, IBM Fellow & Department Group Manager, Collaborative User Experience, Scott Kurnit, Board Member, Dotomi and Goodmail, and Raymie Stata, CTO & Co-founder, Stata Labs. The focus of the discussion was not just on delivering mail but about how we can communicate effectively in a world where everyone is constantly trying to gain our attention. Being able to communicate and collaborate well will make a big difference in our productivity but bottom-line, no one had great answers on how to optimize this.
Jack Dangermond, President & Founder, ESRI, gave a dazzling presentation about "The Meaning of Maps". He demonstrated some amazing "flights" around the world from a browser. Geographic Information Systems are adding a new dimension to applications — both business and consumer. More on this another time.
The third panel, "Beyond Search: Beyond Google" included Jeff Ganek, Chairman & CEO, NeuStar, Jeff Katz, Chairman, President & CEO, Orbitz, Tim Koogle, Board Member, Friendster and Plaxo, and Langley Steinart, Chairman & Co-founder, TripAdvisor. A lot of the discussion was about personalized searching. For example, using TripAdvisor, you can search on "Paris" and get travel related things instead of "everything" like you would with a standard Google search. The panel saw a lot of potential from this specialization and so do I.

The afternoon was consumed with roundtable discussions. There were four areas as follows with the lead conveners listed. Discussion was active to put it mildly.

  • Content IDs and Licensing: Albhy Galuten, Content Reference Forum; Cory Doctorow, EFF/Creative Commons; David Sidman, Content Directions
  • The Accountable Net: Lori Fena, Aspen Institute, Accountable Net Project; Tara Lemmey, Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age
  • Metrics for Goodness: Allison Fine, Innovation Network; Martin Fisher, Approtec; Robert Tolmach, Glasses for Humanity
  • Identity Federation for Social Networks and Online: Andre Durand, Ping Identity; Eric Norlin, Ping Identity; Doc Searls, Linux Journal

After the closing dinner there was a discussion about non-profit issues. The panelists were Stewart Brand, President, The Long Now Foundation, and Pierre Omidyar, Chairman & Founder, eBay and The Omidyar Foundation. In some respects this was the highlight of the conference for me. I am very interested in the non-profit segment and it was heartening to see Pierre and Stewart so committed and involved. They will have a huge impact over time. Hopefully, others in the audience were inspired to participate.

During breaks there were gallery demonstrations by the following companies. Google them for more information.

  • Eurekster
  • Map Bureau
  • Onfolio
  • Organic Network
  • Socialtext
  • Public Mind
  • Wallop (Microsoft)
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