I save time with new technologies: the result is that I do more things with that time.

In the past, 30 or 40 years ago, people were saying: in the future, with all the new technologies, we will work 20 hours a week and all the rest of our time will be spend on leisure.

In fact, 30 or 40 years later, people are doing twice the work they were doing with the same time. The new technologies permit us to do much more things in much less time. Some people will tell me that it is not the case, but I would say that if it is not, at least the quality is greater.

The problem is that with these new technologies and these new working techniques follow new dynamics. Well, if we can do more in less time, then why the situation is not as expected decades ago? Because new geo-demo-politico-dynamics are emerging at the same time. The world is changing, everything goes faster and faster. New democracies are emerging, new populations want their part of the cake, information is democratizing with the evolution of the Internet, etc. We have to learn, to assess, and to act quickly to be able to cope with this new and constantly changing world.

It is in that vision that new products and technologies emerge every week. Most of these products try to help you to cope with these new dynamics. They try to automatically assess your environment, they try to help you to find relevant things in the constant incoming flow of information, and they try to make things easier for you: but the result seems that it will only help you to do much more things with the same time.

Is it our human nature to works endlessly? Is it our social structure that is pushing us in that direction? Is it the result of cultural interactions? Why do we use that saved time only to try to do more things?

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Back from the Startup School Conference and Steve Wozniak, the character

I just arrive from the Startup School conference held this weekend in Boston. It was really a great conference, even more considering that it was free. There were around 400 hackers-entrepreneurs in the same room with 13 startup top speakers. The event is supposed to be podcasted, but I didn’t have any feedbacks about it yet; keep check the web site to download them when it will be available.

I would like to thanks Paul Graham for this great opportunity that it gave us all. I do not know if he will try to remake the Startup School conference in 2006, but he didn’t close the door to the possibility. Startup entrepreneur or not, everybody that were there learned something. We had many great speeches about all domains implied in a startup; but we also had much information about a full of startups and old-timer of the IT industry: really, it worth it.

When the lunch time came, near everybody gone out for a lunch. A bunch a people get to the front of the conference room to talk with Paul Graham and some other speakers that talked Saturday morning. After 10 minutes of talking, I get a look at the 500 empty places of the conference room. Then I saw someone wearing black clothes, the barb and the long hairs, looking at the people at the bottom of the conference room. Then a quick thought pass through my mind: hé, there is a rock star fan in the room! Five minutes later Paul checked at that guy and said: hé, I think that this is Mr. Wozniak, I will get a look to make sure. Then it was: Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, the rock star fan.

I climbed the stairs that leaded to that monument of the computer’s world. There was the man. I had no idea of what he could look like, I didn’t really took the time to check for a picture of him on the internet, and I am not the type of person that really care about this type of thing. So I finally see what the guy look like: really, a rock star of the 80s with some high-tech smoked cell-phone/glasses: the type of think you could see in Tek-War.

We were 5 or 6 person gathered around him. The first 2 minutes I listened to that guy and was thinking: he has something special: he his certainly not a rock star, but he has certainly their charisma aura. That guy that invented the personal computer, something that revolutionized the world, was there talking about the hold time when he was playing with blue and black boxes, making jokes to people with them. Joke after joke, laugh after laugh: this guy is more than human. Simple, charismatic, good-liver, human and hard worker: all it needed to make of him a man that changed the world with his dreams and visions.

It was probably the best part of the conference, being able to see whom the guy really was before that he make his speech. Then the conference restarted, Mr. Wozniak unclimbed the stairs of the conference room and gives his speech. He explained to people how he started is life, how he thought about the personal computer, how he not just thought about them, but how he created them. He is a hacker, a real one. He had a vision, he had a dream, he worked hard, he had the skills, and had the heart; then he created the first personal computer that a normal citizen could afford and that would revolutionize the world.

So, there is the human story of the conference, I will write some other posts during the next week about some other speeches of the conference, some good quotes that I ear and things to remember.

By the way, the number of Mac users in the conference room has impressed me. Around 1/3 of the people had a laptop and about 80% of them had an white apple glowing on their knees.


I will be at the Startup School conference this 15 October at Harvard

This conference is an initiative of Y Combinator. It will be a good opportunity to make news contacts, and to ear how the speakers created, managed and extended their past ventures. It will be a really enjoyable one day conference at Harvard, Cambridge: two places I never been before.

Who will speak at that conference? There is an impressive list of people:

David Cavanaugh

Partner, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr

Hutch Fishman

CFO, cMarket; CFO, Veveo

Paul Graham
Partner, Y Combinator

Marc Hedlund
Entrepreneur in Residence, O’Reilly Media

Qi Lu
VP of Engineering, Yahoo!

Mark Macenka
Partner, Goodwin Procter

Michael Mandel
Chief Economist, BusinessWeek

Stan Reiss

General Partner, Matrix

Olin Shivers
Associate Professor, Georgia Tech; Co-Founder, Smartleaf

Langley Steinert

Co-Founder, TripAdvisor

Stephen Wolfram

Founder, Wolfram Research

Steve Wozniak
Co-Founder, Apple Computer

If you can’t be there, keep checking at the web site of the Startup School, they are supposed to Podcast the whole event.

Hope to see you there

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Semantic Web, Web, Other

Who said that conferences are more and more useless? Web 2.0 conference 2005

I read something some months ago saying that the conferences, symposiums, etc. are more and more worthless and useless considering their business evolution, etc, etc, etc. I do not know if he was right, but the only thing I know is that the Web 2.0 conference 2005 is not the case. In fact, people are more than enthusiast to follow it. Many discussions are emerging everywhere on the blogsphere about it, and about the subject it covers: the web 2.0. More than ever, people try to define what is the Web 2.0, a hype term that people use in any context.

I already tried to roughly define what is the Web 2.0; and Tim O’reilly wrote a beautiful essay on that subject. It is a must read for anyone wanting to follow the discussions that will emerge from that conference.

So, are these conferences worthless and useless? Follow the current and future discussions emerging from that conference and re-ask you the question.

Blogging, Other

Vancouver, Northern Voice 2006, and blogging

For them who do not know, I am in Vancouver since four days, and I need to say that I love that city. I met a lot of really interesting people that work in the blogging and social software industry. This is probably The Canadian city for all the social software hype.

The second Northern Voice conference (the first and only Canadian blogging conference) will be, for the second time, in Vancouver this next February. If you want to meet great people with a lot of ideas related with social software, knowledge management, blogging, and the web 2.0; take 2 days and come to the meet them here. I hope and I will try to be there.

I leave for Banff tonight, so I am not sure if I will be able to post anything else for the next week, but it is sure that I will have a lot of stuff to write about the Web 2.0 and social softwares when I will come back home (the best time to think about such things is probably on a plane, don’t you think?)

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