Interactive Austin – Afternoon Keynote – whurley

whurleywhurley (William Hurley) was the afternoon keynote speaker for Interactive Austin 2009.

His topic was Future Technology Trends and his content was created on the fly.  He said that we’d make most of the slides up for his presentation together.   With the passing out of 3-D glasses beforehand, he prepared us with the hope of a visual treat during his presentation.

He asked what future technology trends we would like to know about and Dara took to the floor with the mic to get audience questions.  Here are the questions…and his answers (infused with a little of my thoughts as noted by the *) – 

1.  Microsoft Azure open or closed?  Closed closed closed as closed as you can get it.  Microsoft is king of lockin.  He talked about a new form of lockin, where an app would be open, but the data stored on Azure.

2. Friendfeed future?  It’ll 404

3.  Tumblr?  They should open source it.  Cool idea, problem is, too limited to use for anything serious.  Go open and expand on what they have now or it’ll collapse within itself.   They need adoption.

4.  Lifestreaming?  Sooo much information.  No technology to parse the data.  Unusable until there is some intuitive technology that helps cut out the clutter from the parts that could be relevant.

5.  LinkedIn?  In the past, it was a great idea.  In the present, it’s a useful tool.  It’s future is questionable.  It’s sort of gotten too big.  They should be making money for themselves instead of trying to sell.  LinkedIn is going the way of Facebook with the apps, but nobody wants to use them.  There is only so much you can do with a resume.  

He talked about crowdsourcing for answers.  I’m not quite sure where this fit into LinkedIn, perhaps in status/stream or discussions, but he said that a fun thing to prove is to ask a question you can find the answer to (like, something you could google yourself) and others will google it to be the first to give you an answer.  This led into the mention of Aardvark, a collaborative question and answers platform that ties into social networks.

Whurley said that the reality is that asking large scale questions breaks down.  P & G got their butt kicked by Kimberly Clark (diapers),  so P & G built “Connect & Develop“, which reduces their R & D costs by 60% and uses customer feedback to develop research.  

6. Budurl (link shorteners) – Technology should integrate into Firefox.  How many new technologies do you install every year?  Then it peaks.  (nobody uses plurk – it became unusable)  How many do we need and how many will we use.  This should be a web service that is open source and should just know (auto shortening via browser).  Outside of Twitter where do you use shortening service?  Besides there are other ways to do it (server side redirect).

*On a personal note, I use even though I have access to analytics.  Two reasons come to mind.  First, I use WordPress.  I haven’t been able to use redirects because the site programming automatically takes any directory not created by WordPress and gives it a 404.  I’m sure there is a workaround to this, but I haven’t taken the time to figure it out.  It’s just not that major of an issue for me, so I just drop my long tails into budurl.  Second, not everything I need to shorten is my own.  I come across all sorts of other people’s stuff that I drop into bud, then it’s added to my account and I can see how many people click on it.  Yes, I could do it on my own site with a workaround, but again, it’s just not that big of a deal for me yet.  Perhaps at some point, when I get all crazy about my controls and tracking, I’ll look into it, but for now, I’m happy and content using budurl for my link shortening (and simple tracking) needs.  Also, I use Chrome, so making it a browser specific plugin (like Firefox) would be useless to me.  I would have enjoyed a one-on-one conversation with him about this topic! 🙂

7. Semantic Web  – Web 2.0 for real.  Google does a good job of finding things they think you want to find.  Semantic web is how you really find information.  Tcp/ip your ip address and the stuctures that support it – everyone is trying to find a way to monetize it, but open it up and monetize on top of that.

8. HTML 5  – The problem with versioning html is that there is an organization of constituents (lobbies) that compete for the way they want things to go.  Web developers think they are software developers.  Mass majority of people are just slamming stuff together and it breaks. Consumers (users) should demand that it be easier, better, simpler to make a website. Commercial technologies push for mass adoption without thinking of consequences.

9. Macintosh  – Steve Jobs is ill.  He’s a direct link between technology & consumer.  They are still  gonna do cool stuff, windows & mac are going to go away, linux will not replace.  It’ll be virtualized, but not cloud.

10. Social media – It’s nothing new – just new technologies to do what we’ve always done (word of mouth).  We just get to do it online.  It’ll die -old media & new media will have a baby and that’s what we’ll be stuck with.  

Business will finally get it….that it works in the way that successful business have run forever.  Technology – Sometimes it makes your life great, sometimes it’s a pain in the ass.  

He talked about “Ranked”, an interactive site for the online ranking of products though a voting process.  There was a picture of Gatorade on the screen and he said that if you are on the Gatorade site, you must like Gatorade a lot – why else would you be there?  He said that a site like Ranked would make sense for those users.  

*note – my thoughts were that there was some sort of interactive element to ranking Gatorade products via the Gatorade website.  That fans of the drink would enjoy voting for their favorite products through this online ranking system.  However, I couldn’t find the ranking element on the main website nor could I locate it using various keyword searches.  If you know about this site, please comment down below!

Linux Against Poverty is a “business getting it” example.  Through twitter, they found someone who would (sponsor?) preDevCamp and for under $300 did something good.  They found a shipping carrier who agreed to pick up old computers and take them to a central location in multiple cities.  

Unfortunately, some people within Palm didn’t understand what they were doing with preDevCamp.  It could have gone bad, but because it was open, it was able to get resolved.  Where did the disconnect happen?  In social media – because social media needs context.  It’s subject to mis-interpretation.  It took an (old-fashioned) telephone call to fix it.  That’s the double edged sword of social media.

Then it was time for 3-D.  Whurley showed a slide on the screen of some mountains, and it showed up in 3-D.  It was pretty cool and he said the the future of virtual is doing something different, such as giving a normal slide deck something different (3-D).  

He talked about the feature that the event was using where you could send a text message with a speakers name and get an automated response with the speakers contact info.  * I plan on providing more information about this service as soon as I can get more specifics.

Reversing the usage of Twitter was brought up and he said “using it in the right way”.  (*I love it when others say that because I’ve gotten flak from those who tell me there is no “right way” to use Twitter).  Whurley said a good plan is to use it as a channel to communicate, to gather information and to ask questions, being careful about information overload, which soon becomes just noise.

He also noted that HTML 5 will create browser wars.

 —  —  —  —  —  —  — 

John McElhenney also recapped this session on his blog

Thanks to Video Innovations, Whurley’s keynote was captured on video.  Launch the player by clicking below.

4 responses to “Interactive Austin – Afternoon Keynote – whurley”

  1. John McElhenney

    Good to meet you yesterday!

    Nice recap Ricci. I also did a recap with the links he mentioned. And again he got another vanity URL via a URL-shortener that he doesn’t care for. 😉


  2. Ben Lamm

    Ranked is currently in private Alpha. Ranked will be launching a public alpha in May. We will definitely send you an invite.

  3. Interactive Austin Keynote Videos | The Pragmatic Contextualist

    […] already are keynote coverage posts by Ricci Neer, for each Dion Hinchcliffe, Sam Lawrence and whurley. (Additional coverage of the first and second breakout sessions can be found on Ricci’s blog […]

  4. Joshua McClure

    Great summary, Ricci. Believe it or not, I totally forgot about IA ’09. Guess I should have signed up to speak so that I’d have prespeaking nerves to help me remember. Ahh, the trevails of ADD! weee! haha

    You got it pretty much word-for-word, though. So, thanks! 😉

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