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In The Crowd

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The final, actual, Webzine roundup

The thing about perfectionism is that it can really get in your way when not operating under a deadline. Also, finding inspiration tends to get me out of the house and not farting around on the internet all day. Luckily for me bloggers will blog, which means that by waiting a few days weeks I find most of my Webzine-roundup already done for me. As Willam Henry, Duke of Gloucester once said, "Scribble, scribble, scribble, eh Mr. Gibbon?"

The offical website once again is here, and it looks like the podcasts have been added now if you're interested. The schedule is here, and all the photos you could want (and then some) are here. Talks and workshops I actually made it to, in order were: 1. Jacob Appelbaum's talk, 2. Rich Media Tools Workshop, 3. Intro to Digital Photography and Photoblogging, 4. Blog Warez Dance Off, 5. Hacking Gadgets And Electronics, 6. The Saturday Afterparty, 7. Video Blogging Panel, 8. You Are The Media: Videoblogging 101, 9. Around The Corner: Neighborhood Blogging, 10. Jonas Luster's talk, and 11. Selling Out: Making Money Doing What You Love. Whew!

General thoughts from Sean Bonner.

Justin Watt liveblogged the whole thing, hitting many of the same workshops I did. It's a great overview, as is Tara Hunt's. Tara and I spent some time hanging out together at Saturday's afterparty, and I'd like to nominate her for Coolest Canuck. As I suspected, the afterparty was really where it was at. I met more people in the four hours at that party than the whole rest of the weekend put together. I even posed with Ms. Webzine and got hit by the kissing bandit.

Brian Shields on Jacob Appelbaum, which was the first talk I caught Saturday. It was very interesting and a good way to kick off the weekend with its focus on creating alternative media, but also very sad and touching. Brian also blogged about the rich media workshop, and both these write ups are unusually thorough. I attended all the rich media talks and workshops I could after being inspired by this workshop that I really just stumbled onto, so it really set the tone of the weekend for me. I felt that fireANT, the video aggregator and Our Media, the Internet Archive front-end, were the stars of the show.

Jay Allen from sixapart, Matt Mullenweg of Wordpress, and Jason Goldman from Blogger showed off their stuff at the Blog Warez Dance Off, which was interesting but too short and crammed into a tiny space. I sat on the floor behind the presenters, so I apologize to any of them if they felt their ass was being scrutinized (and I have nothing but good things to say about the asses in question). I use Blogger now but I managed to score a Wordpress.com account too, which I'll be playing with (thanks Matt!).

The gadget hacking presentation by Phillip Torrone was too short to do much more than skim over some of cool stuff in Make, but fun nevertheless. Plus he brought a bunch of free copies, so I can flip through them at my leisure.

On Sunday I was pretty tired after the party, but the videoblogging panel was interesting if only to see how the technology is being used in practice. Markus Sandy's workshop on actually making a videoblog likewise helped a great deal in putting the pieces into place. If you'd like to do this at home, check out Freevlog for a great tutorial.

I never expected the Selling Out panel to be as great as it was, but it was actually really interesting. The founders of LiveJournal, Hot or Not, CafePress, StickerNation and Fucked Company all talked about how they started their companies and what it took to make a living off them. To sum up, not much. Every single one of them found that the money came as a result of the idea, and almost by accident. Even the most capitalistic of the sites, CafePress, was started more as a curiosity than a business. As Maheesh Jain explained, he and his partner saw the mugs, mouse pads and t-shirts that were offered at photo processing places and decided to see if there was demand for that on the web. They put up a very basic site with no idea how to actually make any of the stuff or access to any equipment. Within a week the orders were coming in and he actually headed to the mall to ask the guys at the photo processors how they did it, bought identical equipment and stuck it in his partner's garage. In a month it was popular enough they had to rent office space. There were similar stories all across the panel, and all the panelists warned everyone away from throwing money at your site (your own or VC) in an attempt to grow fast and get rich quick. All these sites grew along with their user base, and all on the basis of a single good idea.

So if anyone comes up with that One Good Idea, let me know.

3 Comments:

  • At 12:50 PM, Anonymous justin said…

    Yey! SF blog interested in the same dorky stuff as me. Did you make it to SWIG on Thurs? It was a time.

     
  • At 3:21 PM, Blogger Alicia said…

    Just barely, I've been hibernating since Webzine but I'm baaaack. I'm sure we'll run into each other soon enough, it's a pretty small pond. Say hi if you recognize me!

    I haven't even blogged about Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, which took up an entire weekend for me. Too much good stuff, as the ad goes.

     
  • At 6:16 PM, Blogger miss rogue said…

    Hanging out?

    Let's do more of it! I love hanging out with fellow wild women of the web!

     

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