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BarCamp Miami 2008

Durante la conferencia FOWA 2008 en Miami se llevó a cabo también el BarCamp Miami 2008.

BarCamp es un concepto de conferencia muy interesante… es en realidad una desconferencia a donde asisten los que quieran y las presentaciones dependen de los asistentes, por lo cual la conferencia se va desarrollando dinámicamente sin agenda previa. Este año, más de 300 personas asisitieron a la segunda edición de BarCamp Miami, organizada por Alex de Carvalho, Brian Breslin, Chris Saylor y Nick Dominguez.

En BarCamp los asistentes que deseen realizar alguna presentación (algún producto, concepto, idea, servicio, etc) se anotan en una cartelera y las presentaciones proceden de acuerdo a ese orden. Esta vez las presentaciones ocurrieron durante toda la tarde en más de cinco salones.

Entre las presentaciones podemos destacar:

El nombre BarCamp tiene una historia interesante. Existe una conferencia llamada FooCamp, organizada por la editorial O’Reilly Media y llamada asi por las siglas de “Friends of O’Reilly” (Amigos de O’Reilly). El concepto de FooCamp es que la agenda de la conferencia es dictada por sus invitados. En programación se utiliza mucho el término “foobar” para designar una variable temporalmente. Por lo general, si utilizamos una variable llamada “foo” también usaremos una variable “bar.” (Cosas de hackers… ¿qué les puedo decir?)

Y ya que existía FooCamp, pues ¿por qué no BarCamp?

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guest blogging

Conferencia FOWA 2008 en Miami

El pasado fin de semana fue la conferencia FOWA (Future of Web Apps) en Miami, FL, organizada por Carsonified.

La conferencia consta de un día de talleres y un día de presentaciones. Lo último en desarrollo web fue presentado en esta conferencia.

Entre las presentaciones más interesantes estuvieron las de Cal Henderson de Flickr (muy divertida), Emily Boyd de Remember-The-Milk (la integración de RTM con Gmail a través de una extensión para Firefox es simplemente genial) y la de Gary Vaynerchuck del vodcast WineLibrary.tv (una verdadera lección en como dominar el escenario y capturar a la audiencia).

Matt Mullenweg, el creador de WordPress, dió una charla muy interesante sobre como diseñar un servicio web con escalabilidad, utilizando su experiencia positiva con WordPress.com.

Blaine Cook intentó dar una charla sobre Twitter sin darse cuenta que al momento de la charla Twitter se encontraba caído. Después de dejar sonar su teléfono por cinco minutos, se dió cuenta que era una llamada de su socio informándole de la caída del servicio (y entendiendo al fin qué le gritaban desde la audiencia). Al final terminó echándole la culpa al haber utilizado Ruby-on-Rails como plataforma de desarrollo, supongo que para gran alegría de Larry Masters, creador de Cake PHP (aunque dijo que si tuviera que volver a tomar la decisión de usar RoR, la volvería a escoger).

La conferencia terminó con una grabación en vivo de WineLibrary.tv (vean el próximo episodio) y varias fiestas playeras en Nikki Beach.

No dejen de venir al FOWA Miami del 2009!

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Aaron Brazell

More of the Same in 2008; Or: We ain't no Seesmic

It’s Monday morning and I’m sitting here at Reagan National Airport awaiting a flight to Toronto. This is my last business trip of 2007 and… when I return home on Wednesday, I’m only looking at another two business days before I entirely knock off for the year. I’ll probably blog, but no b5media (if I can help it), none of my “mini-gigs”, and generally, no social media. I say that now, of course.

I figured it was a good time to look at what you can expect from this blog, and more specifically me, in 2008.

More Travel

I traveled more than I ever did before in 2007. Met some great people from the social media community. Reacquainted myself with others. Engaged in my first public speaking engagements. In essence, 2007 for me was about a definite maturing in my professional profile. I haven’t always executed well. Some people may not like me. Others might think I don’t like them. But, I’m happy with where 2007 has taken me.

In 2008, I expect more travel and that means more of an opportunity to meet you somewhere. Though nothing is definite yet, I’m hoping to make it to Future of Web Apps Miami and New Media Expo as well as near definite appearances at SXSWi, WordCamp Dallas, WordCamp San Francisco, Gnomedex 8 and Blog World Expo 2008.

There’s also rumor of b5media doing a cross country tour, but I can neither confirm nor deny that possibility. ;-)


One of the new buzzwords getting thrown around the Web 2.0-a-sphere is “hyperlocal” – the focus on local/regional services, community and communications. While 2007 has been critical for me in developing my reach internationally and nationally, I have neglected my profile here at home. In the words of Jesus, “A prophet is not without honor save in his own country,” and while I don’t claim to be a prophet, I did predict the Ravens loss to the Miami Dolphins this past Sunday.

In 2008, I plan to cultivate the relationships that I have begun to develop in the Baltimore/Washington region more throughly. For instance, Geoff Livingston and I will be launching a Blog Talk Radio show surrounding the social media and communications environment in the Washington, D.C. area entitled “District of Corruption”. This will begin at 2pm on Tuesday, January 8.

Other potential alliances exist between myself and Nick O’Neill of Social Times and All Facebook, Mike Brenner who is looking to launch Refresh Baltimore, Ann Bernard and Keith Casey at Why Go Solo, NewMediaJim, Frank Gruber of AOL and co-founder of TECH Cocktail, Greg Cangialosi of Blue Sky Factory… and others. In the new year, I’ll be focusing a lot of my time and energy in these areas and with these people and maybe something cool will come of it.

More Original Non-English Content

Carlos Granier-Phelps has been doing a smash up job producing original Spanish language content for Technosailor.com. I’ve learned from early mistakes and provided a separate Spanish feed for this content and I expect to learn more from the experiment. I say experiment because I did this not knowing what to expect. A month and a half in and I’m seeing definite signs of traction. It’s always hard to build a new audience, so I’m grateful to Carlos for helping to spearhead this under the Technosailor banner. Social media and business is not exclusive to English speakers and so I don’t want to ignore that demographic.

In an ideal world, I’d love to see the new year bring original French and, I don’t know, Japanese content as well. We’ll see. Certainly, let me know if you’re interested in reading or writing here.

We Ain’t Seesmic

Finally, you can expect more of the same from me. In the past year, I’ve recognized that it dilutes content to force a quota on myself. I used to force myself to write once a day at least and now I only write when inspired. As a result, my content is better and more original. Traffic has shot through the roof and my subscriber count has more than doubled. Unlike Seesmic, I’m not too concerned with what critics say. ;-)

Time to get going, the plane boards soon.

Venture Files

5 Things Digg needs to do or it will die in 2008

The Future of Web Apps (FOWA) conference this week and Kevin’s presentation “The Future of Crowd Generated Media” got me thinking about how long Digg might last or stay relevant.

Granted, Jason Calcanis wrote a month ago about how Digg would “die a death of 1000 cuts”. He is right that they own the “Young Tech Male” or YTM demographic and it is hard to go beyond that group. I subscribe to Netscape and the quality of articles are dramatically different. Netscape has far fewer votes but the news is real and relevant (their interface just needs work).

The death of Digg will not be 1000 cuts but because of its failure to extend and protect its brand. So much time has been spent on covering them and how cool they are that they have ignored the fact that there is no reasonable way it can meet its revenue goals.

Jason does a good analysis of the deal and I agree on the valuation. To quote directly:

“The real challenge for Kevin and Co. at digg now is that they probably raised their $8.5m round at 60-80M post-money. That means that the latest round of investors are going to look for 10-20x that amount as an exit. That’s a 600M -1.6B exit. That means they have to get to $30-50M in revenue. That means that Kevin is right when he says they have no interest in selling the company–they’ve got 4-5 years of work to get to those revenue numbers… start building the sales for now because to hit those numbers you need a 20-person sales team.”

Kevin Rose says that they have not interest in selling and that is smart. Unfortunately, in 4-5 years Digg will be irrelevant so he has about 1-2 years to make it work for an exit. You are seeing the beginnings of chinks in the armor. Friends list or no friends list, spammers, censorship, gaming the system and a lot more. Digg did not invent “social voting”, Slashdot did and Digg only got popular because the YTM saw this as a better venue to troll and trash each other. Their community is powerful (900K as of this writing) and the “Digg effect” is far reaching for what geeky things they find interesting.

In fact, every new site that adopts “social voting”, Netscape included, has been profiled as “taking the Digg approach”.

So is Digg going to become a verb like Xerox or Tivo and lose its brand equity?

In order to save this company and keep it going here are the five things I would do in the next 12 months to maintain Digg’s leadership:

#1 – Don’t fight the Digg Clones – Own them – There are Digg clones popping up all over the place. Why not screen them and make them niche sites within the digg community. Similar to a blog network (like B5 Media). This will create a niche army of targeted sites. Digg has created a brand for the Young Tech Male so it is going to be near impossible to break away from that perception. It needs this to stay on top.

#2 – Do a deal with MySpace – These are your future users and huddled masses looking for ways to make MySpace more relevant. The Digg model for artists, MySpace blog entries and news could add a whole new dimension to the ugliest site in the world. The revenue share could be gigantic.

#3 – Create a relevance metric for contributors – We should know that there is more weight on a submission from a 50 year old PhD with expertise in that topic than a pseudo-intellectual 16 year old.

#4 – Hire topic editors – Now, we don’t want to run the risk of paying Digg members to submit. This is quite the opposite. We want new people who can help monitor and own a topic to add value, prevent bias and . Social voting is great but there must be oversight or the “Wisdom of Crowds” will turn into the “Wisdom of Mobs”.

#5 – License the Digg software to major news outlets and Fortune 500 companies – Let’s face it, traditional media can’t keep up. Some are just now finding blogs and a limited few are experimenting with the Social Voting/Digg approach. Why not have Digg show them how to do it and take ad money and license revenue from the deal? Dell’s new site should have been running a Digg system feeding back to the mothership. In this case, it just borrowed the concept, baked it up and served it to customers. Digg not included….

Otherwise, if things like this are not done in the next 12 months, Digg will be outdone by a site that is cooler and sucks the core “Diggers” to the new site.

About Steve Fisher: Editor of the blog Venture Files and a veteran of the dotcom bubble and bust, Steve Fisher is a serial entrepreneur with one successful venture and one spectacular flame-out under his belt. He has the scars to show anyone who asks. Steve is currently CEO of The Slipstream Group, a a software firm focused on providing social networking and supply chain technology for the travel industry. He is also doing research for a new book on how people and teams innovate within an organization by finding the rebel within themselves. He can be reached at Steven_Fisher@Yahoo.com.

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