Here’s a few of the sessions I attended on Monday and my random notes.
The New Hybrid Designer– Chris Messina, Emily Chang, Richard MacManus
The designer is taking over some traditionally developer focussed tasks in web companies. – things like ajax These hybrid designers have to be problem solvers. curiosity- want to learn, sending emails, proactive, updating the whole team, encouraging. They should be able to communicate with developers- speak the same language and terminology for coding. Using agile development is a good way to give up control and let people do things. Platform/environment/frameworks: css>symantec markup>microformats/rss.
When starting out planning the site and the navigation, don’t use sitemaps use taskflows to plan from a single function out. Don’t mockup in photoshop and lay it out in there. Make sure you utilize user testing as early as possible.
Building Web2.0– Zack Urlocker, James Hamilton, Alistair Croll, Hooman Beheshti, Mike Culver
The new model of web app hosting is 100% automation, reimage if something breaks. More small slices. You can always re-architecture once a site takes off. In regards to slashdotting- things that can help are more intelligence in infrastructure and experience/scale over time. Caching- edge resources/proxies. Application networking- know what traffic is.
Venture Capital 2.0– with Jeff Clavier, David Hornik, Josh Kopelman, Chris Moore, Michael Eisenberg and moderated by Michael Arrington
This was a very entertaining panel- you could just feel how Michael was holding back from ripping into these guys too much. Pretty much everyone on the panel paid lip service to doing smaller rounds (in the case of VCs <3M). They also wouldn’t respond to Arrington trying to provoke them to admit that the VC business model isn’t made for doing early/smaller investments. The did say that seed rounds of financing were primarily to validate assumptions, and hopefully see if a model was scalable and repeatable.
I had raised a question to the panel on what changes VCs are going to make to compete with some of these early stage funds. But they kinda hemmed and hawed and dodged it. Talking to Michael afterwards he did appreciate that question and was interested in seeing more of 30elm which was nice.
A few interesting comments- Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital in Philadelphia said that most companies he funds either in valley or he moves to the valley. Jeff Clavier also said he only invests within an hours drive from Palo Alto. He is looking for passion in the entrepreneurs he meets and finds the leadgen business to be hot right now.
Build to last or Built to Sell: Is There a Difference- Mena Trott, Joe Kraus, John Battelle, Jay Adelson
Make sure you have passion & a specific goal. Businesses have developed from making the individual more productive to making groups more productive. Make sure you put your biz model into beta same time as you put your product into beta. This enables you to show real traction earlier.
Launch Pad– inpowr, Webex, Spock
I thought today’s launchpad was pretty lame. Webex had no business being there- and the other two presentations lacked charisma.