Please check out Loic LeMeur's video log of Dave Sifry of Technorati. It's a great on-the-spot account of what it is like to be a Tech Pioneer at Davos. You can also see Dave's video log of Steve Case to see the type of interaction that happens. You really can just walk up to more than famous people and ask them virtually anything. As you can see though, Steve has his own agenda.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, I was up against Dave in a tech pioneer presentation, that was really something akin to a bake off. The session was titled "Next Big Thing". When I was ushered to the table, I thought "Oh No! Technorati!" That was probably the one company I didn't want to go up against. Many of the people in the audience were investors, others were just curious what was going to come up next. They tried to group companies into various sectors such as biotech, energy, information technology and I guess others. We were organized in groups of 4, with the best being discussed out of each of the 10 tables. At our table, we even had Mozilla Foundation, which was shuffled in at the same time that I was and represented by CEO Mitchell Baker.
I gave it my best, but I sort of compare it to JBoss against YouTube. I wouldn't mind being in JBoss's position, but who wouldn't want to be in YouTube's position. Technorati is used by anyone and everyone tracking blogs. But Dave painted a very articulate, passionate and evangelical view that was compelling and charismatic. When it was my turn, I gave it my best, but it is hard to beat the draw and pure energy of Web 2.0 and one of its least general public aware participants as Technorati. Technorati was a source of information when we started Alfresco. Good luck to Dave and I'm sure we will see Technorati hit its 100 million user target in the not too distant future.
BTW, it was in this session, that Mitchell yielded the remaining spot on the table to me. Otherwise, one of us would be slugging it out at the biotech table. I hope I give out the reason in the near future, but it was certainly helpful. Mitchell did get the opportunity to speak out about making sure that the internet is open. She was there at the Living in the Future session espousing the same thing. The internet got to where it was today because it open, let's ensure that it stays that way in the future.
Also at my table were Mike Mulica, CEO of Bridgeport Networks, who is a great guy and who has a very nice wife. We were at the wine dinner the night before and then the McKinsey part. "Hey John! Where were you? I don't chase people, they chase me!" Well, I was talking to the mayor of London, but I digress. Unfortunately, I missed Mike's presentation, because they missed several of us in the set up including Mitchell. The fourth participant at my table was, Bob Wiederhold, CEO of Transitive, the company that helped Apple move all it's old programs to the Intel processor and is another Accel portfolio company. It was all tough with competitive and articulate CEOs.
Needless to say, there were lots of other technologies there. There were genomics, energy, battery, polymer and even diamond manufacturing technologies. I really liked the idea of the watch that can predict when you will have a heart attack or stroke from ThereVitae.
However, it says a lot about the status and stature of software now days. Software is taken as "done" by the world's CEOs whereas in previous years it was the toast of Davos. That is a big reason that there is consolidation at the moment. I should count my lucky stars that I was even in Davos since Bob, Mitchell and I may have been the only software technology pioneers with software as a service and Web 2.0 being the darling of Davos. However, paid for software service is still less than a $1B industry. Later on, I hope to explain why the reduced status of software is only a temporary situation based upon some of the other sessions I attended.