Opening Session (ETech 2006)


Tim O'Reilly is giving his traditional "O'Reilly Radar" talk. Alternately titles: Following the Alpha Geeks. What to pay attention to:

  • Technology on track with long term trend
  • Technology is disruptive
  • Technology uptake is accelerating
  • Technology is grassroots--bottom up
  • It inspires passion
  • It has deeper social implications
  • Better information makes a difference in it's adoption and use

There's also a pattern recognition component to this. The leading Linux applications turned out to be server-side Web applications like Google. Information business are using the Internet as a platform to deliver software as a service harnessing collective intelligence. The key competitive advantage of Internet applications is the extent to which users add their own data to that which you provide.

Craigslist is a great example. Tim shows a slide of the top ten Internet sites along with their number of employees. Craigslist is the only one with less than 5000--it has 18 employees.

Tim brings up castingWords.com, an application built on top of Amazon's Mechanical Turk to transcribe podcasts. Del.icio.us, digg and other sites are using the input of their users to create value. Software is increasingly becoming bionic. The users are inside the application. It's IA not AI. Intelligence augmentation, not artificial intelligent.

Tim turns the stage over to Zimbra. What's that sponsorship cost?? Zimbra is a collaboration app that tries to reduce user context switching. The software supports an ecology of zimlets. The demo was OK but didn't bowl me over. Basically integration of Asterix with a PIM? Supposedly it's more, but all the examples were Asterix based.