Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: Opening Keynote

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

First on stage were hosts Brady Forrest of O’Reilly Media and Jennifer Pahlka of TechWeb. The hosts admitted that last year’s venue wasn’t up to scratch, and that they hoped this one would be better.

Brady, in particular, thanked everyone for coming during this crunch time. He suggested that lightweight web apps like the ones discussed at this conference would be more important in harsh economic times.
![Tim O'Reilly](http://www.onemanandhisblog.com/assets_c/2008/10/Tim O'Reilly-thumb-300x374.jpg)And so, Tim O’Reilly takes the stage…

So, is Web 2.0 Web 2.Over, as Dan Lyons suggested in a recent column?

Of course not, but “we need to think about where we’re going”.

Cheap, easy venture capital isn’t there, so some start-ups may survive by being very basic in their operating costs – like sleeping under the desk. “Me too” startups will fail.

We’re not in an investment bubble, but a reality bubble. We’re in harsh times with financial, environmental and political crises all around us. “And our best and brightest are working on things like this…” (He shows us a Throw a Sheep Facebook app and iBeer for the iPhone. Sure, GPS and the like will make fantastic applications, but still…

Discipline in business for things like this – it’s called scenario planning.

Worst case, middle, best. Reality was so much worse than they predicted in the case of oil drilling equipment in the 80s. A loophole was closed and the marlet went to hell.

So you need to get companies thinking about extreme examples.

Robust strategy 1: Work on stuff that matters! We need innovate thinking, rather than yet another social network.

Pascal’s Wager: if you believe in God and you’re worried about going to hell, you’ll live a good life. If there’s no God, you’ve lived a good life. It’s a better bet. The modern version is assume the worst, and we’ll make better choices.

  • witness.org – providing recording equipment to people documenting human rights abuses.
  • Using Google Earth to track illegal deforestation in Brazil
  • Biblioburro – carries books around the area he came from.

You can turn the power of Web 2.0 to real world causes.

Great challenges = great opportunities

  • The Berlin Airlift. They had to develop both new hardware (aircraft) and “software” (air traffic control systems) to make it work. Companies like Boeing profited as a result.
  • Benetech – funding social startups that are expected to make money.
  • Omidyar Network – switch to funding for-profit companies makes more powerful changes
  • Google.org – helps the world, but is commercial.
  • wattzon.org. We live a 12000 watt lifestyle, far more than our fair share of energy. You can analyse the embodied energy an energy soft drink – it’s 5% of your daily energy budget. Energy accounting it going to become really important, and Web 2.0 is great at managing that sort of data.

We’re seeing the beginnings of electronic governance.

Robust Strategy 2: Create more value than you capture – create value for your customers and your payday is a by-product.


p style=”margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica”>”Tackle problems that are so hard that you don’t know if you can solve them.”

tim o'reillyw2ebweb 2.0web 2.0 expo

Adam Tinworth Twitter

Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.