Monthly Archives: August 2006

The new DIY culture

Issues around user-generated content became more tangible and began to mount a serious challenge to old business models in early 2006…

…creating opportunities for start-ups (as well as traditional media players and convergent operators).

So on 30th March we invited two experts in the field of media innovation and user-created content – Head of BBC Global News Richard Sambrook and Yellowikis open business directory co-founder Paul Youlten – to explore the issues with the audience…

Jo Twist of the IPPR was the chair with the mostest. And from digital agency Glue through to the New Statesman, the ensuing collective debate ranged far and wide over the area that’s come to define the people part of Web 2.0.

The Beers & Innovation 2: User Generated Content event report tells all.

Still, there’s more people and passtimes to be enjoyed away from the ‘puter, so I’m off to the Electric Picnic tomorrow. Comments will be moderated until Thursday 7th September.

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Was that the week that was?

It’s been another period of blogging lite in this corner, but things have been picking up elsewhere…

You probably know about the launch of TechCrunchUK already. Sam has been busy busy busy riffing on the why’s and wherefores of interesting UK start-ups.

In turn, Mike Butcher has outed Pete Cashmore of Mashable as a Scotland, UK resident (and clearly a man with global ambitions) even if a few folks knew that already. And Robert Loch has been listing UK start-ups on his new Internet People blog. So the week has been quite revealing across the board.

Calendar overload?

Meanwhile, tech and digital events are piling up thick and fast. September 14th’s Beers & Innovation on RSS Frontiers is sold out and the waiting list is quite sizeable. For details of what else is on check the Jigsaw UK events page or the Techrunch UK one.

Indifferent to the little people 😉 the swish London digital advertising and marketing scene continues to pump out pricey conferences for its execs, grand fromages and high-flyers. What about Next Gen TV – only £1,345.50 for their two day conference. Go to their pre-conference workshop as well and the whole package is a snip at £1,795.50. Yes, and some people complained to me that at £376 (£258 concession) Content 2.0 was too expensive. Deary me.

Nurturing talent beyond the hype

But there’s more to building a business than swanning around posh hotels and getting funding. What about some training to get your people au fait with all that’s new and essential in digital design, business development, project management, accessibility, usability (yep, these skills are still needed in 2006 and beyond), open source marketing and online communities..?

Well you could do worse than check out the courses listed on NMK’s Events & Courses page. And given the current recruitment crisis, good to see Chinwag Jobs are running a new Online Recruitment course. Takes a lotta skills to pay the bills. Word.

RSS Frontiers – sold out

Yup, the tix for Beers & Innovation 4 on 14th September are all gone now.

I’m operating a waiting list so email me (deirdre . molloy @ nmk.co.uk) if you want your name added to it; and likewise if you’ve booked and can’t make it. 

We are looking at getting a bigger venue for Beers & Innovation, but for now our venue on Dean St is maxed-out at 55 people.

It’s tricky – on the one hand the smaller venue and crowd lends itself to more freeflowing discussion with the audience, which is the cornerstone of the event – fact.

On the other, I know this event could be a LOT bigger. But what do you sacrafice in swelling the numbers? The quality of the discussion? Is it enough to say – I was there, I heard so-and-so speak, I met X people..?

Less is more?

That sounds like so many other events I’ve been to recently – conferences comprised of keynotes and remote panels (where the disconnect is huge, or confined to the backchannel), evening seminars that have spookily identical speaker line-ups every time, networking bashes where there’s little – if anything – sensible said.

[BTW – I’ll buy the first person to name these 3 events correctly a pint 😉 ]

So we’ve got all those things, and good things come out of them, true. But we don’t need more clones and real innovation is still under-served and under-valued in this country. Start-ups often exist in very isolated and un-supported circumstances. More seasoned players have nuggets of insight and useful perspectives.

If B&I is to be a collaboration with the audience on sharing ideas and building a community, what’s the right thing to do? Keep it small but perfectly formed? Branch out and risk blanding out?

I need to know what the flow is before I can go with it…

That was then, this is now…

Keeping established patterns intact, my report on the first Beers & Innovation has arrived 6 months after the fact.

The night was a great foundational event to the evolving series, as we heard from Skype‘s Saul Klein and Matt Ogle of Last.fm on how their businesses had evolved, and the challenges facing UK-based tech entrepreneurs and start-ups.

As for thorny issues raised and unresolved threads left hanging, take your pick:

VCs, angels and bootstrapping….

Saul Klein:

“There’s a lot of benefits to be had from not having a lot of funding early on, and the VCs can be your best critics”

Matt Ogle said that their angel investors had similar mindsets to them so they were able to grow more organically. He also praised affiliate programmes as excellent as they had enabled Last.fm’s growth.

Government support for innovation & start-ups

Saul had strong views on this point. He said the government’s role was zero. The BBC is a negative presence, he added. It takes talent out of the market and cannibalises media. The BBC creates a service industry around itself and is quite narrow.

Matt Locke, Head Of Innovation at BBC New Media disagreed. He spoke of the BBC Innovation Labs which provide “money and time to develop ideas.” Of 170 new ideas submitted, the BBC took forward 29 in the Labs.

Global or local?

Tom Coates noted that the English language makes us more permeable to US services, while Saul reckoned that

“media needs to be more local. Communications or search businesses are horizontal and can be more international”

Stuff to think about at every juncture. But that was 6 months ago. Good grief! So what, if anything, has changed?

“Inventor of the internet” billed for RSS soiree

We’ve confirmed our third speaker for Beers & Innovation 4: RSS Frontiers – for which there are only 8 tickets left, so don’t say I didn’t remind you! 😉

Ivan Pope is taking the free hotseat. He started his internet career as publisher of The World Wide Web Newsletter in 1993. He sold this to Future Publishing and became the consultant editor for the launch of .net magazine in 1994…

You can read more about Ivan and book your tickets here.

Fast-forwarding to now, Ivan is CEO of start-up Snipperoo and would like it to be known that:

“Snipperoo is a widget management product that holds out the promise of a Universal Widget. Within five years, we will be living in a widgetised world.”

He recently posted some interesting remarks on social networks and the restrictions on Flash based widgets linking outside of MySpace: Will MySpace eat its young?

Cool to have him talking widgets etc at the UK’s first broad-based RSS event and the first Beers & Innovation solely featuring start-ups. A step towards answering Tom’s original question from July 2005 – where are all the start-ups? Sure looks like it.

Long tail of Content 2.0

At NMK we like to do things back-to-front, that’s part of what makes it (and us?) interesting (yes, I’m still taking the tablets).

We have a conference about the future of content but don’t yet have blogs or RSS on our own site.

So we (ie. me and m3m media) build another website for the conference – with blogs & RSS – but of course barely anyone looks at it once the conference is over… Yup, gotta love these hoop games!

Which way is up anyhow?

This is all my convoluted way of reversing up to the announcement that the written reports of all the Content 2.0 sessions are now available (I know, it’s incredible how quickly they’ve followed the conference, I mean, in 70 days no less!).

So, not all strictly B&I, but how would the blogosphere ever have a whiff of them unless I post about it here..? (apart from via Marc Canter who posted when I put up the first batch last month – we need mensches more like him).

Anyway, after this lightning blitz of content, I need to go and lie down. Here’s the links:

KEYNOTE: Mesh Up – Connecting Content To People

SCENESETTER: Goodbye New Media Hello Social Media

FORUM: Marketing 2.0 Forum

DEBATE: Can Brands Be Trusted?

KEYNOTE: The Future Of Web Search

SCENESETTER: Folksonomies – What Are They Good For?

FORUM: Search & Enjoy Forum [with much ado about microformats 😉 ]

YOUNG PEOPLE & MEDIA: The Invisible Culture

BEERS & INNOVATION @ Content 2.0
Featuring Robbie Williams’ manager Tim Clark (BTW, i didn’t take notes or record this last session and relied on our events assistant Dawya Sadani to note things down)