Leveraging social media to make great ideas happen

The Times Square Shuffle: My Web 2.0 Expo NYC Recap [Updated]

Of all the signage, presentation slides and general abundance of slogans at the Web 2.0 Expo in New York this week, perhaps my favorite sign was the street sign that read, “7th Ave closed, use the Times Square Shuffle.

Why, yes, I think I’ll shuffle right on through this recap of Web 2.0 this week.

To begin with, my participation at the conference was entirely fortuitous. Were it not for the incredible generosity of Connie Bensen offering her ticket up on Twitter last week, and my luck at being the first to respond, I would not have made it. Such as it is, hat tip to the wonderful Connie Bensen for providing a ticket to allow me to be a part of the Viget Labs crew at the Web 2.0.

Self-photo from Barbarian Group Mirror

While I stuck primarily to the Media & Marketing track, I did venture out to so of the more intriguing design, strategy and development session. Perhaps the most fascinating was Dan Saffer – formerly of Adaptive Path fame now heading up his shop, Kicker   who gave a talk about designing for gestural interfaces.

Seffar shared two really cool quotes during his talk:

We’re using bodies evolved for hunting, gathering, and gratuitous violence for information-age tasks like word processing and spreadsheet tweaking.” – David Liddle

The best designs are those that ‘dissolve into behavior.’” – Naoto Fukasawa

As technology and our interaction with devices continues to evolve from simple keyboard and mouse to more immersive interfaces like the iPhone and Surface Sphere, our understanding of good user interface design has to change as well.

While several talks stand out, Lane Becker of Get Satisfaction presentation on “Customer Service is the New Marketing,” was easily the most impressive. Three big ideas in Becker’s talk:

  1. Conversations are at the core of business.
  2. Reduce your sphere of control.
  3. Smash silos
Customer Service is the New Marketing (Web2Expo)       

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: wow word-of-mouth)

A few other noteworthy talks were:

  • The Partovi brothers at iLike hosted another great session, talking about the disruption of social tools in the music industry.
  • Brian Solis gave a killer overview of how PR and marketing are experiencing a revolution in the shift brought on by social media.    
  • And finally, a talk I had been looking forward to for quite a while, David Armano at Critical Mass presented, “Micro-interactions: How Brands Can Influence Consumers in a 2.0 World.’
Micro-Interactions in a 2.0 World (v2)       

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: web 2.0)

Of course, it wouldn’t be a web conference in the Big Apple without some great times out on the town. Especially if the boys at Redmond were picking up the tab.  But more than an open bar courtesy of Microsoft (we’ll buy you drinks if you use IE8!), Thursday night’s Wine 2.0 with the one and only Gary Vaynerchuk was a sweet event. Cool venue, plenty of web and wine geeks plus Gary doing a live recording of Wine Library TVand you’ve got the ingredients for a lively night. And on a side note, Gary just continues to blow me away.The man just flat out hustles. It’s inspiring to watch him, and I hope that he is motivating others to find their passion the same way he has discovered his own.

[Update] Gary’s keynote from Web 2.0 is now available:


Friday’s session wrapped up with a cool talk from Jackson Wilkinson on “Design and User Experience in an Agile Process,” and then a closing marketing session on understanding Agency 2.0. Moderated by Rick Webb of the Barbarian Group, the panel wrestled with the growing pains in the industry, but provided hope that some agencies are realizing that it’s not about just specializing in fat media buys, but simply being creative problems solvers to help build brands.

Overall, I was really pleased with the quality of the content at Web 2.0, and may even try to submit a talk for next year. In the end, I walked away with the continued affirmation that conversations matter more than ever. And no matter what, you’ve got to hustle – even if it is on the Time Square Shuffle. 

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Snapshots from my life.

  • Rocked the #seawheeze half-marathon with the wifey! #spocanada #13.1 #lululemon
  • Sunset yoga on the beach with several hundred of your closest friends. #seawheeze #lululemon
  • Radio tower clouds.
  • Holiday weekends were made for par-3 golf with the bro. #replacethepin
  • It takes a lot of boarding passes to get to New Zealand.