The O'Reilly Radar Executive Briefing
Monday, March 26 (All Day)
Tim O'Reilly and the Radar team will lead an interactive, all-day event that brings clarity to the business side of emerging technology. How can seemingly unrelated, unimportant datapoints be focused into a coherent, meaningful picture? What are the social trends driving innovation? Who are the alpha geeks to watch? What are the weak signals that need to be tracked?
Listen to an audio preview of the Executive Briefing featuring Tim O'Reilly and Brady Forrest.
The Briefing uses insider interviews with movers and shakers, and conversations with under-the-radar innovators to bring to light to the markers of success so that participants can navigate the new opportunities and disruptions ahead. The program will be made up of truly emerging issues--the schedule won't be finalized until close to the event so that the most interesting developments breaking through can be featured.
Seating for the Executive Briefing is limited, so register now.
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There used to be a gulf between the hardware hackers we celebrate in the pages of Make and the kind of stuff we buy in stores. That barrier is breaking down, as new on-demand manufacturing networks put not just the workshop but the factory at the hacker's disposal. We'll open with a conversation with Dale Dougherty, publisher of Make: magazine, about the kinds of activity he's seeing on the enthusiast frontier that is Make's beat. Then Dale will join me in quizzing Brian Warshawsky, VP of Operations of Potenco and Bunnie Huang, chief hardware designer of the Chumby, about their own experiences with sourcing manufacturing in China, the rationale for open source hardware, and how hardware design and prototyping is changing. We'll also have a hands-on look at prototypes of Potenco's innovative power supply for the One Laptop Per Child project, and at Chumby, the next-generation wifi-enabled clock radio that you can "hack with a seam ripper." We'll wrap up by jumping to the big picture with John Hagel, who's been making a study of the next-generation design and manufacturing networks that are springing up in China.
The O'Reilly Radar is an extended meditation on William Gibson's insight that "the future is here; it's just not evenly distributed yet." We look around us at things happening today that tell us something unique about the future we can expect. The first thread we're unraveling comes from threadless.com, in a continuation of our discussion from the first part of the morning. Threadless is a user-generated-design, on-demand manufacturing business. Users submit designs for t-shirts and other items, other users vote with their wallet, and when there's enough demand, the products are created. Threadless has sold out of every product they've ever created.
But there's a connection between threadless and our next presenter as well. Why would threadless users work so hard to create designs for a company they don't work for? Maybe for the same reason that bloggers are experimenting with atten.tv, a platform that lets others watch you surfing. We're all trying to make our mark in the world. Seth Goldstein, the founder of attentiontrust.org is fascinated with attention, and he's betting that others are too. How much would you pay to watch what celebrity bloggers are watching? Is atten.tv one more step towards David Brin's transparent society?
Jeff Jonas comes at privacy from the other side. He's a master at finding people who don't want to be found, including criminals and terrorists. His "Non Obvious Relationship Awareness" (NORA) technology finds hidden relationships in social networks and unmasks false identities through "entity resolution." He's also a master of what I believe is one of the essential twenty-first century skills: extracting meaning from very large databases.
P2P networks were all the investment rage back in 2000 and 2001, before Napster was sued out of existence and they went underground. Ed Kozel of Skyrider Networks will talk to us about how P2P file sharing is not only alive and well as a distribution mechanism, but is also on the verge of breaking out as a new platform for sanctioned commercial activity. Think AdSense for P2P...
We'll talk with Alec Proudfoot of Google and Allison Randal of the Radar team, co-chairs of our Energy Innovation Conference, about what they're seeing on the energy front as they're evaluating technologies, startups, and the hacker frontier for the conference. There's more than a casual connection between this and the previous topic. While there's a lot more happening on the energy front than its intersection with computing, it has been conversations with Google, Microsoft, and other large data center players that first made us aware of just what a critical factor energy consumption was becoming in their strategic thinking. It's become the new focus of many Silicon Valley VCs (Who would have thought that the investment focus of noted computer scientists turned VC like Bill Joy and Bob Metcalfe would be energy?)
Debra Chrapaty, VP of Operations for Microsoft Live once said, "In the future, being a developer on someone's platform will mean being hosted on their infrastructure." She's absolutely right, and that means that building data centers for competitive advantage is going to be the big boy's sport for the next few years. We'll talk with venture capitalist Paul Kedrosky and data center analyst Rich Miller about what kinds of investment and entrepreneurial opportunities might be found in the data center wars.
In this session, Robert Cook, co-founder and chief architect of Metaweb's freebase, will demo the project, just out of stealth mode, and will talk with me and Esther Dyson about how freebase tries to bring together the best ideas of Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web, to create a structured database that can be edited by anyone, with data that can be easily re-used by computer programs.
It occurred to me recently that Web 2.0 (particularly the emerging Google economy) and financial markets have a lot in common. Both are highly networked information markets with a lot of money sloshing around in them. What can the Google economy learn from Wall Street, and what is Wall Street learning from Web 2.0? We'll talk about this subject with Peter Bloom, now a managing partner at General Atlantic Partners and the former CIO/CTO of Salomon Brothers, and economist Bill Janeway, former vice chairman of Warburg Pincus. The more I look at this subject, the more intrigued I get. Examining the parallels between these two economic ecosystems helps us to extrapolate new developments in both. There's a lot of food for thought for both investors and entrepreneurs here!
I've been really impressed with the insights that Bill Tancer, the General Manager of Global Intelligence at Hitwise, and LeeAnn Prescott, his research director, have been writing about on their analyst blogs, so I asked them to come and share with us some of the trends they've seen cropping up on the consumer internet, but more specifically, how they use apparent anomalies in the data to figure out what's really going on. They have surprising insights, and a great methodology. We'll also have Roger Magoulas, our Director of Market Research, show us some of the things that are on the Research team's radar, including a close look at the SecondLife economy everyone's been buzzing about, online hiring trends among startups, and much more.