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2/17 TechCrunch 5: Naked Conversations and the Impact of a Life February 20, 2006

Posted by Yvonne in beginner blogger, Events.

Once a Geek … : It’s been so, so long since I was at a real geek party; last Saturday’s TechCrunch was definitely it. Took me back … damn, I love those brilliant, edgy propeller heads! But I’m sooo out of circulation!!

My date was Doug Engelbart and NextNow’s Bill Daul played chauffeur. We met up with other NextNowers Betsy Burroughs and Jeff Saperstein who brought along Dr. Frederic Jallat from the European School of Management. Other than these, of the 400 or so guests, I’d previously met only Scoble the elder and the younger, and so had the pleasure of meeting Shel Israel and Scoble the grand elder that night. Sweet.

So we got around to all the demos and saw some of the new companies developing for the blogosphere. Being so new to blogging, but steeped in systems for quite a few years, it was mostly easy to pick up on what the new companies were doing … tools for bloggers who want to organize, chat, pluck, pod and publish. And I asked’em only one question: how do you get paid? The answer mostly was: Ads. Hmmm – bummer. But I’m going to check out BlogBurst which helps make your blog available to mainstream media and pays you for anything that gets picked up. 

The Impact of a Life: But I have to say that the major treat of the evening was witnessing the event through Doug’s eyes. He kept remarking on how much energy there was, how “hoppin'” the event was. He’d expected a “book signing”, not nearly so many people nor so much noise. But it was a lot of fun … we ate tiny cupcakes, he drank a glass of wine.

People came up to him saying “It’s an honor to meet you, Dr. Englebart.” “You helped me 30 years ago, and I never forgot it.” “I did a paper on you, and went to the Stanford archives for your work papers.” People came up to him, acknowledging the contribution he’s been, and I could tell he was thrilled and really touched with it all. He met the new entrepreneurs, a 19-year old student from Stanford and people he’d worked with on projects long past. He wrote down websites to investigate, and ideas to follow-up on. He had his picture taken with the authors, posessively clutching his autographed copy of Naked Conversations with a wry smile.

We looked around at all the intellectual and creative aliveness. Maybe you can’t imagine – but none of the energy, the ideas, the possibilities were even remotely known when he started half a century ago — there wasn’t even the CRT! He told me that night, “It would be like saying today that very soon, everyone will have thier own personal helicopter.” It may sound ridiculous now, but nothing is so strange – once you get to that future.

I tried to imagine what the world would have been like if he’d gone to sleep, if he’d stopped inquiring, or if he’d gotten distracted. I couldn’t do it.

Now those dreams are just too real. We’re living in those dreams.

And he’s still imagining and exploring, pulling and wrestling new futures into the present. And so are we …

The Wind Down: Then my feet were freezing, Bill drove us to Palo Alto for pizza and when I finally got to my car to go home, I jacked the heater up to “mother” and just made it to Berkeley before snoozing completely off the road. Went into my weekend meditation retreat and just came out … still a little buzzing, and in more than one direction … more blogging soon …

Future Potential Topics: My friend Walt is wondering today: How does Silicon Valley do it? What is it that makes this the happening place for so many start-ups?



1. billdaul - February 23, 2006

Walt…or Yvonne, go tell Walt…

Another critical factor to why Silicon Valley is the as successful a magnet as it is…ready for this…a significant reason is…THE WEATHER. The mild and temperate climate adds another layer to the ability to kick-back and create.

Also…check out Jeff Saperstein’s book CREATING REGIONAL WEALTH IN THE INNOVATION ECONOMY. Jeff was with us…check out the link Yvonne added in her blog item.


2. Omar from Texas - February 24, 2006

I’d have to say that perhaps it’s also that the West is rooted in the *Wild Wild West* mentality where anyone can hit it rich and *be successful*…The West is almost a prototypical American dream place where you do not need to be a Kennedy to succeed.

I’d also have to say our location to the Pacific Rim may have something to do with it, but I may have just started a fire that I didn’t mean to 😉

3. Yvonne - February 24, 2006

Bill, I sent the link on your comment to Walt, and he replied via email:

“Thanks. But what has the Valley be a magnet compared to other places with the same climate but no technology center?
– Walt”

4. Conscious Connections » Where Startups Start-up: Inquiring After the SV Factor - February 24, 2006

[…] My friend Walt is inquiring into what is going on where startups start-up. [This is a follow-on from the conversation started after I shared about TechCrunch5.] […]

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