Social Networks: Where are they taking us?
MIXÂ 08Â (panel)
Las Vegas, NV (Venetian)
March 6, 2008
Joshua Allen from Microsoft contacted me and asked if I’d like to be on a panel at MIX 08, Microsoft’s big web-focused conference, about the future of social networks. I’d never been to a Microsoft conference before (most of the events I go to are full of fellow valley startup people), so I was curious for the “anthropological value”, and when he told me the panel would be moderated by Guy Kawasaki and feature a cast of heavy hitters (Dave Morin from Facebook, Garret Camp from StumbleUpon, Marc Canter, and John Richards from Microsoft Live Platform), I knew I couldn’t possibly pass up this chance. Good thing too, because it was a remarkable event and certainly quite memorable.
The panel itself went very well–it was right after the amazing, boisterous keynote conversation between Steve Ballmer and Guy Kawasaki, so the fact that Guy was also running our panel brought in an extra large crowd. The discussion was heated and productive: how quickly will/should social networks open up, when will OpenID be ready for mass adoption, what about privacy issues, and so on. Guy was his usual awesome self: light-hearted but pointed, and always cutting to the chase. There were lots of questions from the audience, and they came up to talk for quite a while after the panel ended, so they were clearly engaged and interested, which is the best thing I could hope for.
It was an odd feeling going to such a large conference where I knew so few people, and where there were so few startups represented (most of the developers seemed to be from large companies, IT organizations, and so on). But I learned a ton, had a great time, and even managed to shoot some photos in the process. The only downside was that upon leaving the hotel to go to the airport, the hotel realized they couldn’t find my suitcase which I’d checked earlier that day. Turns out some bellhop put it in the trunk of another car by mistake, and it ended up with a family in LA. The hotel said they’d pay to have it shipped up to me, but I still don’t have it. Since I was leaving the next day for SXSW, I had to quickly scrounge together a fresh set of toiletries, clothes, and so on. Luckily nothing too irreplaceable was in my suitcase, and hopefully it will show up on my doorstep any day now, but yeesh, what a way to end a trip!
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