FOWA 2007 - day one

dug dug Follow Feb 20, 2007 · 8 mins read

This 'stream-of-listening' feed was provided for folk that couldn't make the event. In the end I'm not sure it's very useful, so today I'll just take notes and publish more structured thoughts after the event. In terms of getting a better idea of what speakers actually said, I strongly recommend Lars Plougmann and his amazing mind maps which are both complete and accurate, and are of course released on a CC licence.

And that, folks, was day one of FOWA 2007

DIGG "crowd generated media"

The Digg ecosystem

Kevin Rose talks about the Digg ecosystem

  • Why should the crowd care?
  • Create incentives on every level
  • Why should people submit content
  • Why do people digg
  • Content -> Diggs -> Quality --> WOM --> More traffic --> 3rd party site traffic --> Smart Digg buttons

Now we’re talking about enhancing Digg (swarming the story, better fact checking, location-based opinions).

Benefits of Flash visualisation, could make tools to help people understand how their shifting opinions interact with others - visualisations of swarms.

Big announcement, support for openID

Stéphane from Soocial

The future of contact management

(does demo mmmm…)

Two nice chaps talking about quotes

Very interesting stuff, will need to pass on to a few folk who have been working with citation indexes.

The spotlight section, first up, BT's Stephen Stokols

Converged communication online

Stephen promises us that the wifi cloud might be available for tomorrow (audience cheers)

Four online trends driving shift

  • Lines being blurred as online cos move into telecoms space
  • P2P proliferation (need to embrace it)
  • Advertising funds free models
  • 1 to 1 voice no longer good enough - 1 to many is emerging

Telcos need to embrace shifting landscape turn threats into opportunities

(Gordon Bennet, no cliché left unturned)

Shows screengrabs of BT Contact. (kind of looks like what I’m currently working on…)

(free sms etc)


Bradley Horowitz Yahoo VP of ADD (Advanced Development Division)

“User rehab, a story of redemption”

Few creators, many consumers

Turning users into people

Need to lower barrier to entry

Uses Flickr as an example of how to do this:

Talks about “interestingness” (photographs that have been interacted with more than other by analysis of log data)

Talks about tagging (mentions speed) the ease goes to the lowering of barriers to entry.

Mentions folksonomies

Mentions ZoneTag. Not having to remember the tag for an event (system merges cell data and other info from to come up with suggestion)

Clustering by sense

And now we’re talking about pipes, as in Yahoo Pipes, very cool:-)

Pipes is sampling, not synthesizing

We’re now asking questions…


Werner Vogels, CTO

Here to talk about Amazon EC2 and S3

Web scale computing (compete on ideas not resources)

Alternative resource model:

  • Increasing uncertainty
  • Move from push to pull (socially, industrially, culturally)
  • Move to mashing up on the fly
  • Co-creative effect of customers (power of the consumer)
  • Greater focus on learning and improvisation

(this guy has so totally read CK Pralahad)

Claim and release resources dynamically

(points out that the pull model doesn’t let VCs take such a big chunk of you)

Talks about “Getting Real” by Jason Friedman. Chapter 4, scalling is too hard to plan for at the start.

Don’t worry about tornados and SLAs

Only pay for what you use


  • Second Life
  • Render Rocket

Mentions the mechanical turk as part of the AWS product family

Check it out at


Google Jason Chuck

Open apis

KLM in maps (channel 4 ticket price)

Sketchup (promoting user generated)

Talks about tomorrow’s discussion of the new apps, spreadsheet etc (and their guy will discuss best practise)

Thinkfree (SOA)

  • browser neutral
  • speaks MS Office

Free mashup mashup api :-) Let your blog visitors view office documents without using MS Office software


OK, gotta try this on attention data

Lessons from Matt and Anil

Connect people to the music they love

Audio-scrobbling (listen -> share -> discover)

  • 15M tracks scrobbled
  • 175 scrobbles per second
  • 10M artists
  • 70M tracks
  • 700k tracks streamable on
  • 17M items taged
  • 145K artist wikis

Matt is talking about the collaborative requirements of developping a sharing application. Keeping it as open as possible, reward participation as much as possible, be realistic with finances, building engagement from your community, be transparent (downtime charts published)

…people sending us money after each server failure to encourage us to upgrade the server…

establishing an open protocol from the start got scrobbling off the ground. Before long, loads of music players supported the protocol.

Anil takes the mike to talk about growth

What happens to the team?

  • The changes when you get to 30-40 people
  • People trump processes
  • Use simple tools and adapt them

Shows irc transcript from their developer channel (osmotic communication)

What happens to the product?

  • Plan for going global
  • "everyone's going to want a piece of you"
  • Embed your service in others
  • Make transition from service to platform (think about your service as a platform)

Liking what you’ve got to say Anil:-)

Matt comes back

Attention data
Scrobbling data is attention data Powered by AudioScrobbler, Myware is ‘spying on yourself’

He shows us the ‘events dashboard’ (gigs near me)

Anil comes back to talk about monetising attention data

Monetising attention

  • Sponsored airtime
  • Personalise based on attention data
  • New attention metrics
  • No more cpm - the scrobble is the unit

Dealing with tag cloud spam

  • Censorship is not acceptable in a folksonomy
  • Attention data does not lie
  • Weigh user tags by volume of attention
  • Attention earns trust

Matt comes back to talk about what Last would like to do in the comming years.

  • Fewer interfaces
  • More ambient findability
  • Reduce barriers to entry (hard to start when prefs are not established)

Questions session

The VC bit (Danny Rimer couldn't make it)


What is Simon Wardley interested in?

Simon Wardley

From hot stuff to yawn, the commoditisation of IT

(note that Simon says IT not IS…)

Goes through example of electricity

(Simon is a great speaker, he’s doing crowd-pleasing things with graphics - big tag clouds with ducks and ponds)

Talks about yack shaving to introduce the idea behind his startup. Build what you want and pay for what you use (zimki)

Tara 'miss rogue' Hunt talks about community

Tara 'miss rogue' Hunt

What community is or isn’t…

(mentions her blog)

What is community?

  • co-creation leading to relationships
  • sharing profiles
  • User benefits, self policing, increased loyalty

(the ‘free’ wifi turns out to be a solitary OpenZone base station which is currently struggling to keep up…)


  • Lightweight social processes (voting, digging)
  • collaborative information structures (YouTube, Odeo, Threadless, Flickr)
  • High end collaboration - Wikipedia, open source projects (Lostpedia)


  • Sense of fun
  • Keeping the dialogue going
  • Simple platforms
  • Compelling stories
  • Rewarding community members

(what is it about Wordpress that people are happy to wait for messages like “woa, only x comments a minute, slow down cowboy”)

Compares yahoo maps to Google maps:

Yahoo experience totally rocks, Google maps v. empty and boring but: developers currently working with mapping apis 51% Google to only 4% Yahoo!
(stats from programmableweb)

Fostering your own - fertile ground

What is sense of community?

  • Feelings of membership (inside the boundaries, do I belong here?)
  • Feelings of influence (voice heard, learning from the group, feedback)
  • Integration and fulfilment of needs (shared values, the feeling of being supported by others)
  • Maslow

Be patient! community takes time

Edwin Aoki

Edwin Aoki

Web-based email leading driver of page views

Dissagregation and syndication

(Dug is beginning to daydream about bacon sarnies and a steamy latte…)

Edwin says “drag and drop” arrrrg!!!

Interesting slide about the developer’s responsibility to society.

  • Tools must be safe, effective and neutral (v. relevant to the work I'm doing now).
  • With great power comes great responsibility. For instance, it's our responsability to ensure that the default behaviour of the systems we build is the right behaviour, the safe behaviour

(and break…)


Mike Arrington

On YouTube: 1 Million dollars a month but it didn’t burn because it provides an IPTV service (as opposed to user-generated content).

AMIE St. first self-regulated music market.

Buzz Factor - Solve a problem.

Mike is talking about what makes a successful startup (and what to look for in a failing one. One point is: don’t raise too much money).

Offline/Online = Apollo. If you don’t use it, you’re wasting money. Apollo looks to bridge the overhead of bridging the file system and the cloud.

And we’ve stopped for questions…


Written by dug Follow
Hiya, life goes like this. Step 1: Get out of bed. Step 2: Make things better:-)