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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

The Web 2.0 Expo experience

When I first found out that the entire Viddler team would be going to San Francisco for the Web 2.0 Expo – I wasn’t sure of what to expect from the Expo. Would it be a social (tshirt and jeans) or more a professional (suit and tie) type of conference? And really, it turned out to be a little bit of both.

The Expo

moscone_expo
The Web 2.0 Expo Floor

The expo floor was filled with companies of all types ranging from large companies like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft to smaller more fun companies like Viddler, Zimki, and Piczo. Some people were being very professional and demonstrating some very high-level enterprise applications (which are typically found behind-the-scenes of more social software. ie. Analytics and monitoring systems for server grids). Others were demonstrating their next-generation web service that can take care of all your development needs from coding, to versioning, to deployment all in a social and collaborative way. Each had their pitch, each had something very interesting to offer, and each were trying to make their product/service stand out from the pack.

The sessions that I got to see (which weren’t many since I didn’t have a session pass so I had to sneak into any of the rooms by tossing Hershey Kisses on the floor in front of the badge-checker on the way in) were much more “professional” than the panels I got to see when I was at South by Southwest this year. This isn’t to say that those panels at SXSW were not done in a professional manner, but that the sessions at the Web 2.0 Expo were much less interactive and more a demonstration of some products/services/companies that stood out as doing good work in their various fields.

Web2Open

Chris Messina discusses hAtomic

The Web2Open Mashroom

Running adjacent to the Web 2.0 Expo keynotes and sessions was Web2Open which is a *Camp style event that run in the main corridors on the second floor. Various presentations and discussions given by people that attended and participated in Web2Open were very good. “Minutes” were taken by various people and left on the walls so that if you came late to a particular discussion, you were able to quickly catch up and be part of the conversation. If you didn’t like where the discussion was going you were able to change the topic yourself by suggesting a topic, or – you could literally get up and go into another room where maybe the topic suited you a little better.

The idea of doing Open conferences like this is still very much in beta – and the process is being refined by the attendees each and every time one of these events goes on – but they are definitely much more attractive than any other event that I’ve been to. Simply being able to steer the conversation by simply raising your hand and asking a question lends itself very well to building value for those that attend.

The Viddler team and version 2.0

Viddler had a massive push to finish Q&A and testing on the its latest version of the site and player and managed to fit in many hours of development in order to release version 2.0. There are still a few bugs being worked out as soon as the developers and managers get back home from this trip – but overall the release was a big success and was fairly well received. The roadmap for Viddler is still quite exciting and the entire team is looking forward to the next step. I’ll have some more information about this and will be asking for everyone’s feedback on some of our ideas shortly.

saratoga_cake

We celebrated version 2.0 a little bit early with some champagne and cake. The entire team was staying in Saratoga at our President’s relative’s house. We were so well taken care of that none of us wanted to leave (freshly squeezed orange juice right off the tree every morning makes a man wanna stick around).

Meeting the entire team for the first time was awesome. Working remotely with our team is really great and is actually conducive to getting very good work accomplished without the added expense and overhead of having everyone move to one location and setting up the proper digs for such an effort. However, it was nice to finally spend some time together to get to know each other even better and fit a real personality to the people that I have the privilege of working with everyday.

Harry and I got to work on our commercial together, which has caused a little bit of a stir with some members – which is always good to know that our users are reading our terms of use. We’re looking forward to updating our terms of use to fit more inline with what we really want to be able to do — promote really good video content and display it in an interactive and valuable way.

The Web 2 Party

The moment I got a feel for who was going to be at the Web 2 Expo; namely my friends from Citizen Agency, Ma.gnolia, etc. – I decided I really wanted to have a party with a few companies to help fit the bill to really pull off something nice. I mentioned this to Larry Halff and Chris Messina and I must say – they really took the ball and ran with it especially considering my inexperience in putting something like this together combined with the fact that I’m on the east coast far away from finding out about all of the venues that were available.

Tara (unknown last name) (aka Tara 2.0) came through in a very big way and secured our venue and setup everything we needed go pull off a successful event. Having an “event planner” is really key when you are trying to do one of these events with multiple companies and tons of logistics involved. If you are thinking of doing something like we did – I definitely recommend assigning one experienced person to get everything setup properly.

varnish_party
The party attendees

The party, in my opinion, was a huge success and it seemed like everyone had a really great time. People were lined up outside to get in, we were “at capacity” for the entire duration of the party, and people had to be escorted out of the gallery when the place closed. I had been to a few events at South by Southwest where people leaved early, the bar tab ran out quickly, or where generally not many people showed up. Such was not the scene for the Web 2 Party and we had a great time meeting everyone who came, shooting some video, and had some great discussions.

We’ve been talking about doing something in New York in the Fall so be sure to keep your ear to the ground. We don’t want to let all the west coast peeps have all the fun!

I know I’m speaking for the entire Viddler team when I say that w
e’d like to thank Citizen Agency for helping to coordinate the entire event, and thanks to Ma.gnolia, Scrapblog, JanRain, faberNovel, Facebook, Plasq, and WineLibraryTVfor helping us in throwing the best party during the Web 2.0 Expo. We hope you had as much fun as we all did.

The photos

Here is just a small collection of photos that I took over the course of the week. I didn’t have a lot of time to shoot many photos as I always seemed to be busy recording video, talking at our booth, chatting with friends or just generally preoccupied with other things. I recommend you look at the Viddler Group on Flickr for more photos (oh, if you have photos please put them in the Viddler group) and also watch the Viddler tag on Viddler to see any video that may pop up over the next few days from the Expo.

santaclara_viddler2
Version 2.0 development

Chris Tingom
Chris Tingom

saratoga_house
Viddler Palace

saratoga_lucaszkasper
Lucasz and Kasper

saratoga_oranges
Oranges from Saratoga

saratoga_breakfast
Breakfast meeting

moscone_booth
Viddler booth

Blake Burris
Blake Burris and I

D. Keith Robinson at Varnish

Crazy Keith

Dustin Diaz at Varnish
“Naked” Dustin

Gina Bolton at Varnish
Joyful Jina

The Viddler gang at Ritual Coffee Roasters
The Viddler gang at Ritual Coffee Roasters

Harry Snodgrass
Firecracker Harry

Again I wish that I had more time to take more photos than I did but I’m thankful that friends like Chris Tingom were able to take a bunch of photos during our trip.

So the next time you hear that Viddler is coming to your town or throwing a party in your neighborhood – be sure to give us a shout and come out and drink some of our beerz…

Live from SXSW in Austin, TX

Below, in order, are my notes, thoughts, and random pieces of media that I’m collecting at this year’s SXSW. You can subscribe to my blog with this feed, and keep up to date. Each time I update this page, I will mark the date, time, and location that I am updating. Each date and time is hyperlinkable (not a real word).

Thursday, March 8th

12:33pm – In preparation of the trip from the northeast, to south by southwest (fittingly) – I picked up some shorts and got my hair did (photo). I managed to get these two tasks done fairly quickly and get back to my office for a few “last minute” things that I need to get done before we set sail.

Right now I’m waiting on the WineLibrary TV crew to get their latest episode completed. I’m helping them integrate their show with Viddler‘s system so that they get the most benefit out of it. Yesterday’s show was a huge success and today we’re hoping to add even a little more value for the Vayniacs.

People are really coming around with how Viddler works in situations like this. I think WineLibrary TV’s episodes are the perfect candidate for Viddler’s technology. Check out this comment.

“Man, after being a naysayer yesterday, I have to say that these new tags are awesome, and I’m now a total convert!” — Kent I

As this service matures, I think many people will start to enjoy interacting with their video in this manner. Stay tuned – because today’s episode should have a few new features that I think their audience is going to love.

2:35pm – I think it is amazing how many people are going to this thing. I’ve gotten more instant messages and emails today than I have in a very long time, and most of it is about trying to get together in Austin. In one hand; exciting. In the other; overwhelming.

I’m still going over our itinerary with a fine toothed comb. I have a lot of friends that are speaking on panels, and it’d be really nice to see all of them on stage, but I doubt I’ll get to see anyone since they are mostly there for “Web dev stuff” and my primary focus will be on Internet video while I am there. Well, back to the calendar.

4:20pm – I had the privilege of helping to prepare WineLibrary TV Episode #196 using some new Viddler features. Things went really smoothly and so far it seems that their audience really enjoys it.

Now I’m packing my suitcase, going to see if I can get a small nap in this afternoon before I pack up all of my “technology stuff”. I have to leave at 4:00am..

10:51pm – Just packing up my “tech stuff”. Heading to New Jersey in 5 hours or so to catch a jet plane to Austin, TX. My next update will probably be from an airport or something.

Friday, March 9th

11:02amOn Continental Airlines Flight 350 at 34,000 feet: Our ride this morning was, well, interesting. I was supposed to be the navigator for Mike and I to get to Viddler HQ, pick up Rob, and head to Newark, NJ to catch our flight.

Mike and I got to talking and I managed to allow us to pass a few exits, a few times, so we did a lot of U-turning. Then, after we finally met up with Rob – we were on our way to Newark International Airport and Rob forgot his wallet. Another U-turn.

Morgan Spurlock and Colin Devroe in Newark New Jersey

Morgan Spurlock and I in Newark, New Jersey

We finally made it to the airport, all of us having to pee like crazy, and managed to get on Mike’s flight (we were on standby for this flight). Mike is about five rows behind me right now, looking at some girl in a rather inappropriate way probably, and Rob is next to me. Next to Rob is a nice guy named Jeremy who is also heading to South by Southwest with Morgan Spurlock (of SuperSize Me fame), who I had a chance to meet and have a short chat with.

James Bond: Casino Royale is currently playing on the screen as I am listening to Dan Benjamin interview Cindy Li on the latest Hivelogic Radio. I’m going to finish listening to Hivelogic Radio before I move onto watching the latest episode of Heroes that I downloaded before I left.

4:38pm@ SXSW – 2nd floor: – Just got registered. Going to see if we can fit in a panel here at the convention center. The first panel we wanted to see is at a different place. 🙁

6:14pmFrom the back of Austin Cab 451: – Rob and I are in Best Buy parking lot, in the back of a cab. We just bought some things we needed for the HD camera (since we now have a press pass), and we want to be able to tape some of the panels we’re attending.

I was twittering with Chris Messina and I saw him and Tara sitting at a table. If it wasn’t for them I would have never figured out that there was “big bags” to get full of cool trinkets. Most of them are purely marketing material, but that’s cool. There was piles of papers that people threw out of the bags onto the tables.

I just met up with David Seah just before leaving the convention center. I did an interview with him while he was trying to put together some legos. Video coming soon.

9:21pmAt the Double Tree Room 609: – Just got back to the hotel after eating at The Boiling Pot on 6th. Very cool place, nice and spicey. Alex, Rob, and I ate crawfish, potatoes, corn, and other stuff that was spilled out all over the table. Sound familiar Eliza?

Now we’re trying to get our Internet connections working. Here are some photos that I took today.

Rob Sandie Colin Devroe Taxi SWSX

Rob and I in Taxi

rob-colin-line

Rob and I in Line

davidseah

David Seah

capitalbuilding

The Capital Building

crawfish

pileoffood

Our food
I have some more photos, but I’m only going to do a few a day until I can get home and have the time to go through them all.

Saturday, March 10th

8:43amAt the Double Tree Room 609: – Woke up fairly refreshed this morning. Definitely need some breakfast and a coffee before heading to SXSW. Anyone having breakfast anywhere?

10:15am@ SXSW 2nd floor – Room 12AB: – In the Video is worth more than 1,000 words panel. Going over some of the trends, some of the history, and some of the future of social video.

11:13am@ SXSW 2nd floor – on the floor: – Panel is over. Met Chris from Adobe. Still can just barely get the internet. Port 80 sucks.

11:56am@ SXSW 2nd floor – Room 19AB with Jeremy Keith and Andy Budd: – Just published my interview with David Seah on the Viddler blog.

7:10pm@ Logan’s on the Sixth: – Ate some dinner, talked to my brother-in-law on video chat for the first time. Having a Logan’s Lemonade, very good. More video on Viddler coming soon! Stayed tuned.

8:05pm@ Double Tree, 15th Street, Room 609: – Dumping photos, video to our hard drives. Checking a few things, getting a shower, short nap – then off to see the Ze Frank BuzzFeed party, then to the Virb party till 4am supposedly? Should be fun, we’ll shoot video.

9:15pm@ Double Tree, 15th Street, Room 609: – Just posted our Saturday lunch update, and our Saturday night update to our Viddler blog. Here are some photos from today.

Alex

Chris and Rob

Lunch update

Tag, You’re It

Overlooking Austin

Free beer w/ Zach

Saturday, March 10th, Gallery

4:14am@ Double Tree, 15th Street, Room 609, after the Ze Frank party:Ze Frank, BuzzFeed and another company threw a party at the Molotov Lounge. It was pretty good, Ze did a funny bit on airplane safety (which will be on Viddler later). Then there was free drinks for a few hours. Thanks to all the sponsors, it was a cool place to hang for a bit.

Here are some photos of the people I met at Ze’s little bash.

It was really great to finally meet everyone. It kinda makes me wish we all could do this every month if for no other reason than to bounce ideas off one another and chat about the stuff we love. The world is such a small place, thanks to the Internet, yet it remains so large that I feel as if I am going to lose “contact” with everyone the moment I leave South by Southwest. We’ll see…. I guess I can still Twitter spam for Adam.

Sunday, March 11th

10:58am@ Double Tree, 15th Street, Room 609: – Stayed up until 7am playing around with something “special”. Alex and I will put some polish on it today/tonight and release it. It is the culmination of the brain power of myself, Rob Sandie, Adam Michela, Peter Flaschner, and several other contributors. Should be fun.

Now I have to get over to the conference center so that I can show up fashionably late to the second panel of the day after finding some coffee and a muffin or something.

1:14pm@ PF Chang’s for lunch: – Spent most of the morning getting things prepared for the rest of the day. Had a great discussion with Molly about some of the stuff she’s able to accomplish with Microsoft, I definitely wish her all the best with everything professional and otherwise.

Now we’re eating and planning the rest of our day.

4:50pm@ SXSW Ballroom F: – Waiting for the next panel to start, so I might as well fill you in. (I won’t have time for many links or photos so I will update this from the hotel later). I finally was able to meet up with Irina Slutsky to do The Vloggies Show (which is a new show she is doing so be sure to stay tuned as it will air this week). Spoke to a guy from Microsoft about Expression Web… he said there was a lot of things going on in the pipe and that the initial release is only the beginning. Being an ex-Frontpage 98 user, I hope they are able to build something that is relatively solid for their audience.

Allen Stern of CenterNetworks.com asked what the little black guy was in the big bag you get here at South by Southwest. I figured it out. If you go to the exhibit hall, find Vital Stream’s booth, you can throw it at a dart-like board and win a shirt. I got a bulls-eye on the first try and won a shirt.

We only were able to attend one or two panels so far today, and hopefully tonight we’ll be able to see Morgan Spurlocks doc “What would Jesus Buy”.

11:28pm@ Hilton Lobby: – Just had a nice conversation with Irina and two guys that did not give me their cards because they had run out of them (if you are reading this, email me your contact information). Talking about ad networks and how to display ads based on content within a video on Viddler rather than just the content on the page. Pretty cool stuff.

We’re sending all of our HD video that we’ve captured to a professional video editor, so I am excited to get all of that back and have it up on the Viddler blog soon enough. If anyone would like to do an interview, or has not signed my shirt, please grab me. I’m hoping to have content being published regularly over
the next few weeks.

Monday, March 12th

3:00am@ Double Tree, Room 609: – After hanging in the Hilton’s lobby for a few hours I heard through Twitter that the 9rules crew was hanging out in the bar. I ran over, had a drink with Molly (thanks for the shot Molly), Paul Scrivens, Mike Rundle, and Mike’s fiancé Eleni.

Back to work though as we headed for our hotel and I featured a video that was taken during one of the panels here. Rob and I managed to record many of the panels we went to, and we’re hoping to get that video up slowly over the next few days. We have someone helping us with that too, which is great – because Rob and I are stretched pretty thin.

Even though I am starving, I am going to head to bed and see if I can’t get up on time tomorrow.

10:22am@ Double Tree, Room 609: – Awake. Slept in a little, somehow our wake-up call never happened. Today will be another busy day. I didn’t have the chance, nor the energy, to go through all of my photos from yesterday and get them posted, but I will try to do that if there is any downtime during the day.

Remember, if I “know” you, but I have not met you yet, please make it a point to run over to me. I’d like to meet everyone at this opportunity. I’ll be the blonde guy in the Viddler tshirt.

2:46pm@ SXSW Room 12AB: – Just ate lunch at the Spaghetti Warehouse for a discussion about OpenID. Very interesting stuff and I am definitely going to recommend that Viddler make it part of their development roadmap. For anyone that has not looked into OpenID be sure to do so, especially if you’d like to be prepared for the future of online, cross service, authentication.

On my way back from the lunch, I saw Paul Nixon running and we both said I should have been running with him. Damn him and his Nike package and the motivation to run while in the Texas heat.

Right now I’m in an interesting panel about whether or not User Generated video is considered film or not. Sounds really niche, and it definitely is, but it is also incredibly interesting as a discussion topic – and I never ever thought it would be.

Tuesday, March 13th

10:33am@ Double Tree, Room 609: – Good morning! Sorry that I haven’t updated since early afternoon yesterday but things went a little hectic there. After watching Luke W‘s panel on the various interface libraries (which was absolutely packed and should have been much longer), I needed to be outside in front of the convention center to go to The Salt Lick, which is a BBQ pit about 45 minutes outside of Austin, with Robert Scoble, Chris Aarons, Sarah Beck, and Patrick Nichols of AMD, an extremely nice gentlemen from AT&T’s Web department, and Jim Posner from IBM who was in Apocolpse Now (more on all of this later).

After that I headed to the Great British Booze up, which was just about ending at the time. I hooked up with the entire Forty Media crew (there is a lot of them), and went to the next party where I ended up spending most of my time talking to Larry Halff about all things Ma.gnolia and Ruby on Rails. It was a great discussion and having never used Ma.gnolia – I can say that it seems like a service I should have been using for years. I’m going to give it a try the moment I can find some free time with wifi (aka: when I get home).

So now I gotta hop in the shower because Rob and I are going to do a Lunch Meet.

2:03pm@ In the Hilton Ballroom, 6th Floor, for Will Wright’s keynote: – Our lunch meet got postponed by a few hours. Hard to get everyone in one place at the same time. So Rob and I are recording the Will Wright keynote. I am definitely looking forward to seeing a demo of Spore.

Tuesday, March 14th

10:44am@ Double Tree, Room 609: – The demo of SPORE was really awesome. Will Wright’s keynote alone was very good, but the demo just tops it off that Will actually does what he feels.

I have a ton to more write about. I’ve kept this “live blog” as up-to-date as I could considering the circumstances with time, internet connectivity, etc. So instead of writing a huge wrap up to what is already one of my longest posts ever, I will be writing single entries that highlight very specific panels, discussions, lunches, and parties after I get back home to Pennsylvania.

As a short overview of what happened since yesterday’s keynote – We recorded one or two more panels, went to Logan’s again for dinner, then hit up the VIP at the Media Temple party.

After that it was a bunch of sad goodbyes, as most of us know that we’ll only be in contact virtually for awhile… but overall the experience was good.

Thanks to all that kept up with me over the conference. Those that came over to say hi, those that signed my shirt, those whom I met for the very first time, and those that I will be friends with for a long time to come.

Sorry to any of you that were looking for me, or didn’t have a chance to talk to me for whatever reason… send me an email and maybe we’ll get together sometime.

Stay subscribed, a ton of stuff to come.