Like Jeremy, yesterday afternoon I headed up to San Francisco to the Business 2.0 Next Net Roundtable. It was fun, and I was flattered to be invited. A bunch of the best brains in Silicon Valley, and me, the lone Canuck hick from the Great White North.
Business 2.0 put on a great event. The conversation was fast furious and fun; the networking fantastic. Erick, with assistance from Om, Michael and Josh did an awesome job moderating the event, and moving the conversation from one topic to the next.
But you know, I’ve been asking myself all day "why was I so underwhelmed"? Don’t get me wrong, it was a lively and fun discussion. So much of it, though, was obvious or old, as if the participants missed the 1990’s altogether. For instance, I had a lengthy discussion with one individual who claimed that Writely, and other web based applications, leave Microsoft quaking in their boots. What utter hogwash! Larry Ellison and Scott McNeally said the same thing 10 years ago. Office is still a multi-billion dollar business. It’s likely to stay that way, whether it’s delivered as a service on a monthly subscription fee, ad-funded, or running locally on your PC.
There were several discussions around business model. Much of it was the old, recycled and presented as new. And let’s be honest; isn’t debating business model little more than mental masturbation? As one participant (I think David Hornik) said, "Build a great product, and you will figure out a way to monetize it".
A couple of times people joked that "you’d have to be crazy to put your best ideas out in a room full of 25 hungry entrepreneurs." Was it a joke? Or is the "Silicon Valley Echo Chamber" a real phenomenon?