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Fred Wilson’s 2010 Perspective

Image representing Fred Wilson as depicted in ...

Image via CrunchBase

Trying to catch up on the RSS feed from Building43. You can definitely see the huge amount of value for hearing thought leaders’ perspectives on the future of the web. And really the emerging importance of the web for small businesses. The power of the web is still predominately a “new frontier” for small businesses and there is going to be a lot of innovation taking place in the next couple of years to help businesses, large and small, harness the value that is out there for the taking.

Below is the video of Fred Wilson, partner at Union Square Ventures, discussing his perspective of the web now and where it is going. Not much discussion of small business in this one (perhaps Scoble felt a more FastCompany style interview was appropriate here).

But if you are going to watch a video to really get a good taste of where the web is headed, you can’t go wrong in watching this one.  Lot’s of good insights into USV’s investment philosophy as well as Fred weaves in a lot of their portfolio companies into the conversation.  And to echo on of Fred’s comments, this was a great video that I would have loved to bookmark, throw into a queue and watch on the TV…someone is going to innovate and build that company…maybe I should. :)

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It takes practice

I was watching Gary Vaynerchuk’s talk and Q&A session at SXSW.  Been following Gary’s growing online business for a while now and written about him several times.  At about 16:25 of the session, Gary talks briefly about his early days getting his video blog up and running.  He tells the audience to go back his first 50 episodes.  So, I hopped over and took a look at the very first episode of Wine Library TV.  It is a night and day experience from watching episodes of late and Gary as an online personality.  Here it is:




What struck me is something quite simple: It takes practice. If you are trying to build a serious social media oriented brand, personal or business, it doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve spoken to a number of people who have thought of starting their own blogs or even video blogging themselves. I’ve even thought about doing a few video posts myself. Often (I assume like people early in TV careers but who knows), there is apprehension of getting in front of and speaking into the camera. Writing for me was just easier to jump into, it feels more protected. But video blogging is very interesting and adds a whole different dynamic. It certainly makes it more personal.

Anyway, whether you are writing or using video as your medium, it takes practice. Just like everything else. Because the web makes everything easier, I think we fall into the trap that everything on the web is easy. Starting a blog, building a business, writing an iPhone application. If you want to be good (and gain a comfort) doing something, you have to practice and put in a good deal of effort. And for some, it comes naturally easy and they need less practice. For others, they need more. Just like everything else in life.

NYC Web History 101

Came across this video as I was reading Brad Feld’s blog. Wasn’t at the Web 2.0 Expo NY, I wonder how many web 2.0 conferences (or at least conferences covering the meme) there have been over the past couple of years.Image representing Fred Wilson (financier) as depicted in CrunchBase

Anyway, the keynote by Fred Wilson was an interesting one. If you didn’t work the web during the first online boom, it is a great history lesson. If you did, particularly in a NYC-based company, it is a great stroll down memory lane. The late 90’s was a phenomenal time for the web in NYC with a lot of great lessons, both good and bad. Fred discusses these and the companies that really built the web presence in NY.

I was surprised to hear Fred’s funding analysis regarding the number of early stage investments in NYC start-ups as compared to Silicon Valley. I would never have guessed the numbers were converging at such a rate since the 90s as it is. In fact, I would have guessed that the gap has widened, perhaps it is only the coverage of the start-ups that has widened and remained very Valley-heavy.

Final note, also couldn’t agree more that the term Silicon Alley needs to find its end. Working in the Alley in the late 90’s, it was a cool moniker at first but for some reason always struck me as positioning NYC as “second follow” rather than innovative leader. There is some great innovation coming out of NY, particularly in media and advertising. There is no reason that NYC needs to be tied to the Valley by name, in fact there is no chip developing that I know of happening in NYC so does the name even make sense?

Anyway, great video, recommend a view.

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Defrag is Coming…

DefragNovember 3rd and 4th will be here before we know it, and with it will come the second annual Defrag conference.  I had the pleasure of participating on a panel last year but I would be remiss in saying that simply attending was a fantastic experience.  The discussion spanned a nice set of topics and the goal of the conference is to be probing into emerging topics in an intimate setting rather than covering the same topics that all of the mainstream conferences are covering.

Just by taking a look at this year’s agenda, it is set to not disappoint.  Great speakers and intriguing topics end-to-end.  Just by skimming through the topics slated, this year’s conference is really going to be probing into the future edges of some critical topics we are dealing with today such as identity, data portability, lifestream and next level discovery.   The current state of topics is obviously touched on but the goal it to really probe, make assumption and set hypothesis on where we are going.

I’m happy to have an opportunity to participate again as a speaker in a session called “Around the Horn” moderated by Paul Kedrosky.  My co-panelists will be John Kembel from HiveLive and Jeff Herman from Fuser.  With the Around the Horn theme, who knows what topics we’ll be covering.  Yes, be afraid, be very afraid.

NOTE: Defrag is still running a bonus upon bonus discount special for the rest of the week.  You can take advantage of it by using code ‘lp1’ – that will get you an additional $100 off of current early bird prices.

Defragging the Defrag Coverage

DefragThere has been some fantastic coverage of the Defrag conference and I have a great set of notes that I was planning on blogging. So instead of being repetitive, I reviewed the inputs of others and wanted to provide a digest of what I think is some of the solid coverage. I may touch specifically on some of concepts of Defrag, just not in this post. Here are some of the hightlights:

  • Five Themes of DefragSean Ammirati, who writes for Read/WriteWeb, provides a good set of themes that are consistent with my notes from the meetings. Really shows the diverse of set of complex topics that were covered at the conference. My opinion is that the topics covered are all in-depth conference-worthy topics in and of themselves.
  • Kevin Marks Discusses OpenSocial – Sean, covers Kevin’s session which you can imagine was quite popular due to the OpenSocial announcement that week.
  • Zawodry refines the Defrag focus – touches on Jeremy Zawodry’s, of Yahoo! Developer Network, talk. I found his presentation interesting as it discussed the Yahoo! web service direction and I had no idea that Yahoo!’s number two web service is called “term extractor”.
  • How to Hit the Enterprise Bullseye – Andrew McAfee wrote a great post regarding the sphere of influence where Enterprise 2.0 solutions can touch within a company. His review of strong, weak, potential and none networks was very insightful and he also touched on how E 2.0 tools can apply. If I had known he was going to write this solid of a post regarding his talk I could have saved some carpal tunnel taking so many notes.
  • Graeme Thickins – Graeme wins my personal award for extent of coverage of the event. Here is the list:
  • Defrag, Information Underload – Paul Kedrosky, a blog I follow a lot is a passionate and fantastic moderator. Tht said, I didn’t really agree with a lot of the “information underload” tone in the panel conversation and I am trying to put some thoughts together on it. Suffice it to say, there is a big information overload problem right now.
  • Dan Farber @ ZDNet – Dan was in attendance at Defrag and obviously covered the event as thoroughly as usual. Here are four of his posts from the event:

And of course, if you want some of the most thorough thinking of the items covered at the conference, particular for the lead-up, there is no better place than the Defrag blog itself. Eric Norlin did a great job putting the conference together, brought a very interesting, insightful group of thought leaders together to talk passionately about where the web is going, what we need to be thinking about and why it matters. Great stuff.