Joho the Blog[supernova] Supernova reflections - Joho the Blog

[supernova] Supernova reflections

1. Supernova attracts a great set of folks. In addition to the usual Web enthusiasts, Supernova gets people in traditional companies genuinely trying to figure out how to apply all this. And we get to hear from them how it’s working out, what’s just webby hot air and what’s truly transformative. I like that a lot, although it means that some ideas you’ve treasured come out sounding odd. For example, what we create on the Internet comes out as “user-generated content.” Ok. It’s still thrilling to see companies that five years ago would have thought the idea ridiculous now believe it’s going to change the way they build products and talk with their markets.

2. Judging from the line-up of speakers, one of the secret messages of Supernova was that the online organizations that blow the roof off of expectations are the ones that are devoted entirely to their users. I don’t mean this in the “We have to focus on our customers” sort of way. I mean it in the CraigsList way. CraigsList doesn’t focus on its “customers.” It is its customers. Now, not every company can be CraigsList. But every company can be a hell of a lot more like CraigsList.

3. The thing I like least about Supernova is its devotion to the panel format. Panels are how you make interesting people boring. It works like magic! Some panels were better than others, of course, but Supernova would be better if panels, with occasional lectures, were not the only format. E.g., the Wharton workshops day the day before allowed for more interaction and learning.

4. The backchannel (= the IRC) was well attended (see #3) — over 50 people at times — and was flipping hilarious. Omigod there were some funny people on it. It tended more towards humor than the supplementing of knowledge that we like to pretend is the backchannel’s point, but there was some of that too. We laughed, we linked, we fell in love, and we made potty jokes.

By the way, I do not like it when backchannel transcripts are published. I say some things that sound way meaner out of the context of the racing river of real time conversation. The rhetoric of a ringing, zinging IRC chat can be that of a roast, and the “all in good fun” spirit gets lost when read after the fact. In other words, I’m sorry, [Tags:]

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