Defrag Debrief: Monday

Looks like I got out of Denver right before a cold front came through, dropping the temperature significantly. Not that the weather is all that great here in Portland.

So, Paul and I were at Defrag Monday and Tuesday, as was Bob, who has done a good job of recapping in near real time.

Overall, I enjoyed the conference, and as is frequently the case for me, the ad hoc hallway conversations were more valuable than the sessions. That’s not to say the session and panel content wasn’t good or interesting; it was both.

Anyway, here goes my recap of noteworthy observations that I can remember from Monday. Read on if you’re interested, and yes, I have enough to separate Tuesday into another post. Just wait and see.

The conference’s first keynote was from William Duggan, whose book “Strategic Intuition: The Creative Spark in Human Achievement” was in the conference swag bag. I liked his premise, i.e. that great ideas come from the combination of disparate sources and that great innovators steal. This was a great way to kick off a conference whose tagline is “accelerating the aha moment”.

Paul and I spent a lot of time roaming the smallish exhibit hall. Because the conference wasn’t huge, we didn’t have to stand in line to chat with the exhibitors, which was nice. We bumped into an old friend, Jay Simons, ex-BEA, current Atlassian, who was manning a booth.

Another ex-BEA guy was working the Connectbeam booth; he apparently reads here. They had an interesting demo, complete with a slider that Paul really liked. He’s a sucker for sliders. I ran into a few people who read here, and as I usually do, I felt underwhelming in person. I need to work on making my IRL persona live up to this one.

I spent the most time chatting with Yahoo, who had a small army of people there. OK, maybe six or so, but still quite a few considering the size of the hall and the conference. Paul and I chatted them up about their open strategy, which I like. I think Yahoo has some great assets (Delicious, Flickr, Upcoming, Pipes) and huge number of users. Seems like a success waiting to happen.

Yahoo is OpenSocial-enabling My Yahoo and the Yahoo home page too, set to pop in 2009 sometime. This was announced last week. Yahoo is a member of the OpenSocial Foundation, so this makes perfect sense and will be awesome for both OS and Yahoo. Oddly, they’re not OS-enabling Flickr or Delicious or Upcoming though. They view it as content, not network, an assertion with which I completely disagree.

Flickr especially has a rabid network of users who don’t cross over to the Yahoo side. Note the outcry when Microsoft made its failed bid for Yahoo (and its properties including Flickr). I hope they revisit this decision.

Paul’s session was on Monday as well. He covered the metrics of social networks beyond the pageviews, visits and membership. This is an interesting area to us, especially since we have both an internal and external network for comparison. Plus, as more companies investigate social networks, there are no really good ways to calculate ROI.

Anyway, check out his slides. We’ll be building on these concepts and refining this message. Paul’s session was called “Sponsor Challenge”, which set the bar pretty low. Still, he got a great turnout and a very positive response. Here are some of the comments from Twitter.

We did get some interesting commentary from Lawrence Liu of Telligent, whose product unbeknownst to us does a lot of what we did by hand. Turned out to be a bit of mistaken identity; he thought the Mix and Connect communitities were built on Jive (that’s OTN Forums, FYI). If you read here, you’ll know they’re JRuby on the big red stack.

We got an ad hoc demo from Larry after the session, and what I saw looked good. The MSFT stack is a bit problematic for us, though.

Later in the afternoon, I met Laura Fitton who recently completed an “Enterprise Microsharing Tools Comparison” including Noel’s pet project, OraTweet.

Monday wrapped up with a nice cocktail reception, after which I watched football.

Curious about what I did Tuesday? I know you are. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, sound off in the comments.



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