There were actually a surprising amount (to me, at least - most of the people I talked to had low expectations) of very good presentations at Web 2.0 Expo last week. Most of them are now posted on either SlideShare (more presentations here) or, for the keynotes, on Blip.tv. This is I think, a very exciting and positive development for industry conferences (which I think will only have net-positive effects on attendance; conference proceedings are de rigueur at academic conferences). Here're the ones I thought were most interesting.
Keynotes (overall, I liked the 10min What X Knows format that asks companies to boil down numbers and insights):
- Clay Shirky (NYU) - Hands down my favorite keynote of the conf
- What Tellme Knows - loved these numbers
- Tim O'Reilly - standard what Tim is interested in talk, but great if you haven't heard it
- Max Levchin (Slide) - the affinity anecdote and the discussion of business goals talk is pretty good
- What AIM Knows - the charts are nice as is the architecture slide
- Marc Andreessen (Ning) - wide-ranging conversation that covers a number of historical and current topics
- What Current TV Knows - people like watching themselves on TV! The first half is better than the 2nd.
- What Dash Knows - good to see driving collective intelligence actually working
- What WP Knows - some good WP numbers
- Jonathan Schwartz (Sun) - wide-ranging conversation on hardware/infrastructure
- Scott Berkun on Innovation - if you haven't heard his spiel, there's a nugget or two in there
- Fake Steve Jobs - overly long, but the core story, about 15min in is good
- What MySpace Knows - only interesting part is about 50s to 2min to see the #s slides
Lots of awesome sessions, the quality of the presentations (primarily in terms of prep/interestingness) was higher than usual:
- A Flickr Approach to Making Sense of the World - my favorite session of the conference. If you're doing "geo stuff," you owe it to yourself to take a look at this. The divisive hierarchical agglomerative clustering bit is great (using morton curves for better pathing, clever). Now there's not a lot on reverse-geocoding, which I believe I am now doing unique and interesting work on -- once I prove it works, I'll have to publish/present about that. :)
- Capacity Planning for Web Operations - sure you can't clone Allspaw, but reading what he has to say is probably the next best thing.
- Website Psychology - linking to an earlier version of Gavin's talk (with notes, yay) - he does a really great job mapping cognitive psychology concepts onto site usage and development. Well worth reading and thinking about
- Grasping Social Patterns - by far my favorite Ignite talk this year, all kinds of hooks for thinking about how far social apps and the "social graph" needs to go
- Making Email a Useful Web App - Bots are awesome and underrated. I've been working a lot more w/ them recently and this was a good overview (would love an even more comprehensive history of cool bots...)
- Even Faster Website (PPT) - Steve Souders (now at GOOG, doing the same sorta thing he was doing at YHOO) talks about the current stuff he's working on, which is optimizing JS (the logical progression). Great new stuff, just as useful as the older stuff
- Adding "Where" to Mobile and Web Applications - a bit basic, but a good overview of how location stands today. Come to Where 2.0 and Wherecamp to learn more...
- Polite, Pertinent, and... Pretty: Designing for the New-wave of Personal Informatics - slides not online. Boo-urns
- Casual Privacy - slides not online. Boo-urns
- Next Generation Mobile UIs - slides not online. Boo-urns
Talks I didn't make but that have interesting decks:
- Tagging: Opportunities & Challenges of Scale - Kakul gives an interesting overview of tags, growth patterns and future directions (super-interesting stuff) at Flickr. Unfortunately, there was a conflict so I couldn't make it, but it looks pretty darn interesting; would be interesting for an open source library to support typing via machine tags, and clustering (I assume Flickr just k-means on photos w/ "tag")
- Why Startups Need Automated Infrastructures - this conflicted w/ Kellan's talk otherwise I woulda been there; building my own one of these right now...
- Startup Metrics 101: a Product & Marketing Workshop - this densely-packed deck that is chock-full of info. great overview from a business-metrics perspective
- Failure Happens - fun talk on what HA means lots of infrastructure details (colo to deploy stuff mostly)
- Copy as Interface - Erika Hall gives lots of specifics on writing gooder for the web
- Customer Service Is The New Marketing - great slides and clear/focused message
- The Dark Side of Ajax - great overview/analysis of XSS/CSRF problems with AJAX and a looking at which JS frameworks are addressing issues
- Cross-Cultural User-Experience Design - great list of references, very interesting comparisons
- Open Platforms in Web 2.0 - highlights the big story of 2008-2009: really being able to write your brilliant additional feature w/o having to rebuild everything; tying together services and the social context...
- Do Try This At Home - interesting FE hacking; looks like this would definitely benefit from audio/preso notes
- Announcing Project Z - open dialogue and deliberation framework? looks potentially interesting. This was the type of thing I was very much into a few years ago.
- Mobile Ajax and the Future of the Web - actually has useful dev tips
- Blogging for Personal Branding - interesting seeing insights from an actual pro-blogger (not like pro-bloggers I know, but the people actually writing about specific topics)
- Designing Your API - a couple interesting tidbits from both sides.
- Triggit - the most interesting LaunchPad demo
- RIA Offline Desktop - decent overview of AIR and Gears
- Mobile 2.0: Design and Develop for the iPhone and Beyond - megalong overview on mobile web; this was a tutorial session, which I was sort of at, but mostly busy working through
Some stuff that sounded interesting but don't have slides online: include Marc Davis' Mobile talk, Opportunity Computing in the Cloud, Social Networks and Avatars (caught a few min of this, looks like they haven't done a lot of work on the numbers (even organizing across cohorts), but still would like to see the deck), Global Design Trends (there are slides, but only enough to wish you had a recording of the talk)
Some bonus talks if you've made it through all those:
- Alternate Realities - Jane McGonigal gave one of my favorite keynotes this year @ SXSW
- Evaluating visual cues for window switching on large screens - a pure HCI talk on UIs once you have wraparaound screens (ie 3 widescreen LCDs). pretty awesome.
- Real World Web: Performance & Scalability, MySQL Edition - Ask gave a great talk at MySQL 2008 - a little bit of everything in this :)
- Collective Intelligence Indeterminacy and the Illusion of Control - on "sociomimetic" technology, w/ a 3pt rubric for evaluation
Did I forget something (quite probable), miss one of your favs? Post links in the comments.