Mix06: Gates keynote reaction

posted by Jeff | Monday, March 20, 2006, 1:50 PM | comments: 4

Interesting keynote. Kinda cool to be ten feet away from The Bill, despite the scary secret service types near by.

Anyway, the speech started with the typical marketing stuff, which isn't that interesting, and honestly I think Gates himself wasn't that interested in it. He's a geek first I'm sure, but he has a giant company to plug.

He brought on the MySpace guys... my God... they're just kids. I clearly missed an opportunity while I was wasting away working for shitty companies. Not a big deal I guess, as I'm not looking to get rich with what I do on the Internet, but it's amazing how relatively simple ideas blossom into amazing things. They showed a crude preview of their next profile management tool, and it was kind of interesting. "Shut up moron" to the guy who yelled out to the MySpace guys to open up their API. Fat stupid idealist Net hippy.

The guy from the BBC showed some neat stuff based in Windows Vista. Very impressive, and pretty. There's still that part of me that says, "So what, it's tied to Windows," but still very interesting.

The best part was bringing on Tim O'Reilly, who really did do a no-holds-barred Q&A with Bill. In fact, he forced Bill to say what I've been saying for years. Microsoft didn't crush Netscape, they shot themselves in the foot by giving away their product in the first place. Some competitors are quite good at failing on their own.

The Q&A stuff was where you could see how excited he gets about tech. I thought it was interesting that he talked about how competitors have vastly different business models. That's something I think about a lot (there's a session with O'Reilly this afternoon), because all of this feel good community, collaboration, "mashup" nonsense (I hate that word), etc., doesn't just equate to money, unless you sell your thing to Google or Microsoft.

So in any case, a good start to the conference. I actually forgot that I'm in the world's most distracting city. :) Must... resist... outside world...


FreewheelinJoe, March 20, 2006, 7:17 PM #

Actually opening up their API would be a good thing. Opening up their source, on the other hand, is more of a fat stupid idealist Net hippy thing.

Jeff, March 20, 2006, 9:03 PM #

Well, I'm not sure I entirely agree. In some cases, your data is even more valuable than your code. In cases like eBay or Amazon, giving that data away leads to more potential sales. Give away MySpace data and you're left with people not viewing your primary revenue stream, namely your ads.

FreewheelinJoe, March 20, 2006, 11:24 PM #

To be honest with you, I don't know if I entirely agree with either of us. As I'm sitting here thinking about it, I've come to realize that most of the web sites that have APIs I find useful (Flickr, LiveJournal) don't have any ads, they have paid accounts.

So I guess what companies like NewsGator are trying to do is encourage increased usage to the point of needing a paid account in order to access additional features.

It's definitely an interesting topic and I do in fact see your point. I guess it's just a fine line between increasing business and throwing dollars away.

Jeff, March 20, 2006, 11:56 PM #

Yeah, I think I see what you mean. The first afternoon session ("Show Me The Money") was about just that kind of thing. It became an even more interesting conversation in light of the talk about AJAX, because you don't get a new ad when entire pages don't refresh.

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