#SN09 Supernova/A Blast of Zittrain, Vogels, Anderson..

04Dec09

What is Wharton’s Supernova but a lovefest for the clueful, where M&Ms are passed around and no one goes hungry for the next big idea.  It’s a tiny TED, Bar Association, Crunch Up drizzled with Kevin Werbach’s special sauce. A think drink where scholars ponder a sensored society (not censored) where all things are connected and Big Brother stands as our collective consciousness.  A forum where the likes of Esther Dyson come to hear what Tim O’Reilly’s has to say and vice versa.  Much of the video is posted at supernovahub.com/2009/11/supernova-live-stream. and there was active tweeting at #SN09.  Here are some notes:

Adam Greenfield, Nokia
Half the world’s population lives in urban space, soon every element will be self-authenticating, addressable, scriptable, most pieces of street furniture will have cameras with face recognition software, RFIDs will be ubiquitous.  By 2012, 20% of non-video traffic will be network embedded sensors.  We are becoming consumers of urban space, where watchers are being watched.  The fight will be making the data public that the public makes.  Brisbane bus shelters sold user data that show the number of people waiting at bus stops, will we soon see helpful mugging apps. We don’t always want to live in public, when things become overtly explicit they become uncomfortable.

Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard
Author, Future of the Internet & How To Stop It, recently revisited Cluetrain Manifesto, talked about abuses (potential and actual) of Amazon Mechanical Turk, where simple tasks that cannot be done by a computer—for example, labeling images—are outsourced to anyone with an internet connection for 1 or 2 cents apiece.  He shared a vision of a child playing a matching game online which unbeknownst to the child helps Iran identify political dissidents.  He also shared a photo of that TOASTER Reed Hastings referred to at NewTeeVee Live, and laughingly described it as a soon to be service relationship with a breakfast oriented device.  Lastly he talked about an incident where the wiretap law allowed the FBI to turn on the mic in the car of criminals.  Whose mic is next?

Peter Guber, Mandalay Entertainment
As the voice of reason, must merge poet and engineer, embrace and bring artistry to the quantum rate of change, cast your line over the horizon and trust you’ll be pulled toward it, surrender anxiety, ask how-to, not what-if.  In a business with a 60% fail rate, you can’t just make hits.  Avatar cost $.5B, catering was higher than the budgets of most films.  By the end of launch day, they’ll know the film’s LTV.  How does such a film compete with an $11,000 Paranormal, or piracy.  Flashdance sold 14mm albums, if it was in the era of iTunes, be living in a trailer park.  Technology is a cold comfort if it doesn’t enhance the benefit of the artist.  Movies are a collaborative effort but a single vision is needed.

Phil McKinney, HP
Wish we had the failure rate of Hollywood.  HP sees 220 raw ideas a year, gets 2 products.

Werner Vogels, Amazon, @werner
Talked about the power of the cloud, the explosion of infrastructure as a service over the past three years, and how Amazon Web Services is revolutionizing the way businesses can control costs and scale for the moments needed. Like when Playfish launched Restaurant City for 10,000 and was hit with 8mm logging on, AWS helped them scale in the moment with reliability and security.  Customers include NASDAQ, Forbes.com, ESPN, even AVOD competitors Netflix Instant Watch.  Currently 82B objects are being stored on Amazon S3.  Clearly the leader of the indie revolution (AWS, CreateSpace, Withoutabox, Marketplace), perhaps the next frontier they’ll mainstream is FAB on demand…

Chris Anderson, Wired
Shared his thoughts on Atoms as the New Bits, and the future of personal manufacturing.  Talked about the democratization of the tools of production via web, crowdsourcing, DIY and the long tail of stuff.  Post-institutional revolution on web now being played out in the physical world to allow for an economically sustainable model for small business. Sites like alibaba.com allow buyers and suppliers to connect in a global B2B marketplace.

Dick Costolo & Alex Macgillivray, Twitter
Talked about the limitations of Twitter search, the not-insignificant challenge of indexing, and the promise of Bing and future partnerships to create greater access to the historical record of tweets that currently goes back about 14 days.

The Lawyers – Laura Covington, Yahoo!, Zahavah Levine, YouTube, Dan Dougherty, eBay
Shared Yahoo! policy of not letting advertisers bid on competitor’s keywords (btw Google does), YouTube’s automated content ID systems and the DMCA 512 (3 strikes out policy), and eBay’s policy for counterfeit goods claims – 75% get taken down in 4 hours, proactively remove as much as all brand owners combined.  Zahavah thanked the DMCA for MySpace, FB, Craigslist, eBay, Amazon, Shutterfly, Flickr, YouTube, search engines, ISPs, US web.  Many users don’t understand copyright – I took that video myself at the concert, I own that CD…

The last panel with Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales, Craigslist’s Craig Newmark and State Department’s Alec Ross can be viewed here:  www.ustream.tv/recorded/2703438

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