February CTO Breakfast Report


This morning's CTO breakfast was well attended (about 30 people) with good discussion. Here are some of the things we talked about.

  • I started out mentioning that Hillarie Orman was on a panel at Demo and asking for a report from her. We got a good Cliff Notes version of the panel and conference. Bruce Grant was also there and mentions that conference was full of marketing hype as well as very smart people.
  • We got into a short discussion of quantum computing and what that means to cryptography. Quantum computing and it's effects on cryptography shouldn't be confused with quantum cryptography which is a simpler application of quantum principles.
  • Bruce's big love right now is mobile devices. He mentioned that they're becoming more and more capable as computing platforms. That led to a discussion of whether or not they'd mature into an open platform that leveraged developer efforts. I consider Windows an open platform, in this case, since the APIs are available and programmers can write code for the OS with an expectation that it will run on anyone's machine.
    The consensus was that there will be consolidation and a platform will develop (although it may be a Javascript capable browser, rather than a cell phone OS). Scott Lemon suggested we'll move to OS independent apps, either via web or a CLR (e.g. .NET). He also predicted corporate market response to the $100 laptop project in the next few weeks.
  • We got into a review of some of the things that happened at Mashup Camp this week. Much of the discussion centered around business models and whether there was revenue to be had in mashups. Clearly, popular mashups can leverage AdWords. Is there more than that?
  • Bruce, who was doing AJAX before it was cool, mentioned that he thought one of the big mistakes he made early on was trying to build applications for the browser without a significant server-side presence. We had a few folks at the breakfast from Bungee Labs (née CanyonBridge) and Bruce thinks they've struck a good balance in this area. With respect to business models, Bruce believes people pay for reliability. I brought up Jon Udell's recent column on the browser as orchestrator.
  • A related discussion was on the importance of content and data in Web 2.0. Flickr didn't win because they have a great API. They don't maintain their position because people can't copy their API or idea. They win because they have the most pictures, period. People are invested in them and the idea is viral ("come look at the picture of my new kid").
  • Also mentioned were Ning a site for creating social Web sites, and Jot. The idea is to "build Excel for the Web," not in the sense of NumSum, but in the sense of something that changes how business uses the Web. Bruces tells of talking to a business person who said "Before Office, I had to have a secretary create a presentation and it took weeks. Now in 2 or 3 hours I have the presentation and I do it myself. Until dealing with applications and data online is that easy, the Web doesn't mean that much to me."

There was some discussion of outsourcing and the new Macs. Some of it is too hard to capture in text. You really need to be there. Stop by next month and see what it's like. Scott Lemon has notes from the meeting online as well. Scott also has notes of Alstair Cockburn's presentation at last night's Geek Dinner.

Thanks to Tom Gregory and Nathan Stocks who collaboratively recorded notes for the meeting using Subetha Edit.