Web 2.0 Summit line-up announced

Our fearless band manager John Battelle is the co-host, along with Tim O'Reilly, of the Web 2.0 Summit, a huge confab where Internet heavyweights talk big vision. Combined, John and Tim know everyone on the Internet (and their brothers) and so they always line up great talkers. They've just announced the speaker list for this year's Web 2.0, to be held November 5-7 in San Francisco. It's no "insider baseball" Internet conference. Indeed, the big thematic question of Web 2.0 2008 is: "How can we apply the lessons of the Web to the world at large?" Folks like Al Gore, Lance Armstrong, Saul Griffith, Elon Musk, and Michael Pollan will attempt to provide some answers. From Battelle's post on Searchblog:
 1 Event 14 Web2008 Home Logo Date Loc As we convene the fifth annual Web 2.0 Summit, our world is fraught with problems that engineers might charitably classify as NP hard–from roiling financial markets to global warming, failing healthcare systems to intractable religious wars. In short, it seems as if many of our most complex systems are reaching their limits.

It strikes us that the Web might teach us new ways to address these limits. From harnessing collective intelligence to a bias toward open systems, the Web's greatest inventions are, at their core, social movements. To that end, we're expanding our program this year to include leaders in the fields of healthcare, genetics, finance, global business, and yes, even politics.

Increasingly, the leaders of the Internet economy are turning their attention to the world outside our industry. And conversely, the best minds of our generation are turning to the Web for solutions. At the fifth annual Web 2.0 Summit, we'll endeavor to bring these groups together.
Speakers: Web 2.0 Summit 2008 (O'Reilly Media), "Al Gore Joins the Lineup at Web 2.0" (John Battelle's Searchblog)


  1. (looks around)
    This is going to be one of those really serious comment threads. I can tell.

  2. You know I think this is swell. But you know what I’d like to see? Someone focus on the people who actively work to thwart solving our problems.

    Remember how in the movie the Inconvenient Truth Nobel Prize winner Al Gore talked about how PR teams from the oil industry spent all their time spreading doubt about the scientific consensus?

    It’s hard enough solving the problem when you have to spend energy fighting just to get the story out.

    For each of the problems mentioned here (global warming, healthcare, and finance) there are teams of people who don’t want those “problems” solved.

    People might not think that smacking down and beating back the PR and lobbyists and lawyer teams would help, but when you think about who people are actually fighting those are the people in the forefront. Also, these PR teams, lobbyists and lawyers are the people who go on the attack against people who want to do something different.

    Think about the oil industry. Who do you think is fronting the money for the “Drill here, Drill Now” NONSENSE? It does NOTHING to solve the problem, it is a stalling tactic. Who is implementing those strategies? Ad agencies, PR firms and lobbyists.

    Any solution to any problem that we see in that list has a highly paid team of people who don’t see it as a problem. In fact they see it as their JOB to destroy your solution, to even admit that there is a problem!

    I’ve working with a lot of the high-tech people that you’ve mentioned who will be at Web 2.0. I know that they are really smart, they can come up with all sorts of swell solutions but quick as you can say “Bob’s your uncle” I could tell you how the various industries that will be effected will knock your plan out the the water.

    I also know the people who push and create the blocking strategies. They are clever. Some are true believers, some are in it for the money. Any attempt to solve a problem needs a strategy to defeat their PR team, the lobbying team and the legal team. In fact, that should be the first part of the process of solving a problem. “How will we defeat the road blocks they will throw up to stop our solution? How can we beat them?” Thinking two or three steps ahead in communicaitons strategy is so often an afterthought in the tech world. I’ve tried to teach this to some of the leading companies in the technology industry. Some listen, others like to be good “pure” engineers, create something and throw it over the wall and expect the world will marvel at their brain power. The product, service or soltuion will “sell it self.” “Here’s the solution folks. Go implement it!”

    In a world where science is attacked every day and people can be convinced to attack the wrong country through the power of pr, marketing and lies, we must understand that solutions to problems aren’t enough.

  3. Sometimes I thank Loki that we have these dedicated PR and legal teams to save us from some of these “solutions”.

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