Today we had that Mashup event at the Sun campus with Mike Arrington. There were somewhere between 100 and 200 people there; I had fun and learned things.
Mr. Schwartz showed up to say hello and take a couple of questions; that’s an advantage of doing events right here on our own campus.
To start with, there were a few shows of hands: At least two thirds of the audience had been attracted by Mike via TechCrunch. A huge majority, 80% or more, were doing startups. When asked if they’d describe themselves as “Web 2.0”, only a few of the startups’ hands stayed up. Nobody would admit to being a VC, although it developed that there was at least one in the room, but a handful acknowledged being from larger operators: Google, Yahoo!, and so on. I said “You know, it’s OK to work for a big company.”
Mike and I had a public conversation about Web 2.0 and Venture Capital for a little under an hour, with lots of smart interjections from the people who weren’t sitting on the stage. I say “conversation” rather than “debate” because we agreed at least half the time. One amusing area of contrast (I’m not sure it constitutes disagreement actually) was on the real meaning of “Web 2.0”; my vision centered on Contribution Culture and the central role of the human voice. Mike had a more technology-focused vision, focusing on the rise of a Web Operating System. Remember: I’m the technologist, he’s the entrepreneur. Hmmm.
After the show, a bunch of people wanted to talk to me and I heard about some cool stuff; then I glanced at the other end of the room and there was a line-up stretching across it; people waiting their turn, one by one, to pitch Mike. He’s at the center of the hurricane, no doubt about it.