Web 2.0 Expo Wrapup

Moscone Center HallI’m back from the Web 2.0 Expo that took place last week in the Moscone Center, San Francisco.

The [schedule was tight](http://web2-sf08.sched.org/) with dozens of conferences, keynotes and companies in the exhibit hall. There was definitely a lot of see.

The Moscone Center is kind of a famous place — this is where Steve Jobs made all those exciting announcement for Apple — so it was great to finally get there.

Moscone Center 2nd FloorThe whole place was divided in three floors; the first for the exhibit hall, the second for the conference sessions and the third, for the keynotes.

The event was organized with a succession of keynotes and conferences, the exhibit hall was open all day so that all kind of companies could showcase their products.

### Exhibit Hall

Web 2.0 Expo Exhibit HallI came accross the exhibit hall to see what new would those Web 2.0 companies had to offer.

There was all kind of companies doing wikis, blogs, niche social networks, localized mobile search, desktop widgets, app builders, service providers and developer networks.

But none of them would propose something really new; they were all about classic Internet business around for some time.

### Conference Sessions

Web 2.0 Conference HallI came to Web 2.0 Expo mostly for the conference sessions. There was about **100 different panels** about user experience, development, social platforms, marketing, business; being alone, **I could attend to only 10.**

That was a bit frustrating because of the drastic selection I had to make and I probably missed some good sessions in favor to mediocre ones. In the end, only 4 were really interesting,

**Design Your API** (Alex Payne and Michael Migurski); a great talk about the experience of Twitter and Digg in designing API driven by community needs. Twitter is now about 1600 3rd party developers worldwide and more than 400 credited apps.

5 most important points: (1) design for REST and XML; (2) grow the API organically; (3) document well; (4) provide active support; (5) scale it and secure it from the start.

Conference Sessions**Designing for a Web of Data** (Tim Coates, Yahoo! Brickhouse); the brickhouse is a small group of people at Yahoo! designing experimental products.

5 points to design powerful products: (1) your site is not your product; it’s the data behind it; (2) open up your service to be more attractive and get paid; (3) capture and explore as much data as possible; (4) reduce hierarchies; (5) favorise collaboration, it’s the only way to build innnovative products.

**Next Generation Mobile UI** (Ben Bederson and John SanGiovanni); this talk was about the research in advanced UI that could change the way we use mobiles. Of course, the iPhone was a perfect example on how good Apple was at turning research projects into a consumer product.

**Even Faster Web Sites** ([Steve Souders](http://stevesouders.com/), Google); this talk was about advanced front-end optimization techniques for rendering web pages faster.

Having found that 90% of page loading is spent in the browser and not in the backend, Steve Souders has developed free tools to help tuning websites for high-performance; [YSlow](http://developer.yahoo.com/yslow/) and [Cuzillon](http://stevesouders.com/cuzillion/).

### Keynotes

Tim O'Reilly KeynoteThe keynotes were definitely the most interesting of the show and we had great speakers such as [Tim O'Reilly](http://tim.oreilly.com), [Scott Berkun](http://www.scottberkun.com/) or [Clay Shirky](http://www.shirky.com/).

The message to the Web 2.0 community was clear, whether from Tim O’Reilly or Scott Berkun; **startups must [tackle big, hard problems](http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/tim_oreilly_keynote_web_20_expo_08.php)** and not only focus on creating the next Facebook or Twitter. The web as a platform is only the beginning.

We also had interviews of [Max Levchin](http://www.levchin.com/), [Jonathan Schwartz](http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan/) and [Matt Wullenberg](http://ma.tt/) about entrepreneurship, the future of computing and blogging.

Microsoft took the opportunity to announce [Live Mesh](https://www.mesh.com), a so-called universal and revolutionary synchronization platform. It was not really clear though, what this platform is really capable of, I guess we’ll know more about it in the coming weeks.

Yahoo! announced their [open strategy](http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/yahoo_apps_platform.php) with the rewiring of their services as a kind of big social network, even if they said it is not.

Finally, Michelle Baker (CEO of the Mozilla Foundation) talked about the mobile web,

there is one Web, with information at its core, independent of the device. The nearly 30 years of knowledge and experience of developing for the desktop experience is constraining us [...] We don’t know what people what to do with their mobile devices.

She announced the availability of FireFox for mobile devices (e.g.: Nokia 810) and introduced it as the future open development platform for mobile.

### Parties

Party at Yahoo! BrickhouseAfter the event, parties were organized all other the place, generally in the office of their respective companies. It was a great opportunity to discover those places.

I went to the Yahoo! Brickhouse party, in the HQ of [Delicious](http://delicious.com) and [Flickr](http://flickr.com), it was quite fun to see popular people like Tim O’Reilly or [Duncan Davidson](http://duncandavidson.com/) showing up at the party just like everybody else — they are very accessible people by the way.

I also went to the [Mashable](http://mashable.com) party in a popular club, but unfortunately I couldn’t attend to the [Netvibes](http://netvibes.com) party the next day — I was too exhausted.

These events are **meant for networking** and if you’re good enough at this game, you can meet great people.

It also reminds you that you’re in the Silicon Valley and the most influential people of the web industry live here.

### Conclusion

The event was a big success; tons of people showed up, the place was crowded and we had great speakers. I had a good time being here but actually, I wish the conference sessions would be deeper and more interesting, maybe there was too many of them on too many different topics at the same time.

I also have the feeling that the Web 2.0 is stagnating since last year, people talk about the same thing and nothing really innovative was introduced during the event.

We all know that we are not done with the web, but I guess we’re now facing the challenge of finding the next leap forward.

Learn more,

* Watch all [keynote videos](http://web2expo.blip.tv/)
* See [more photos of the event](http://flickr.com/photos/x180/sets/72157604679422524/) by Duncan Davidson