I enjoyed it more than any other so far. More APIs, less hardware. More sessions, each shorter. One keynote.
Scale · IO has been at Moscone West, its attendance thus capped at five-thousand-and-change people, for a while now. I predict it stays that way. Yeah, it sells out instantly and we could probably draw five times that number. All this is true of Apple’s WWDC too; In Unknowable, Rands says smart things about the advantages of smaller size.
But there’s another factor; it’s really hard to grow much over 5-6K because then you don’t fit in Moscone West, which is a reasonably light, airy, pleasant space; see above. The only alternative that I know of is Moscone North/South, which is sort of a grungy basement shithole, and an insanely bigger investment of cash and work for whoever’s putting the show on.
If someone came along and built a nice venue that could handle say, 10K, without turning attendees into troglodytes, I bet we and Apple would both give it a serious look. For now though, I’d be surprised if things change much.
What Larry Said · The keynote surprise was a walk-on from Larry Page, which by the way takes a certain amount of courage for a guy with voice problems. His speech drew some eye-rolling, but I can testify that it wasn’t put on for the occasion; that’s just what he sounds like when he’s speaking internally to Googlers.
I think John Gruber’s pushback mostly misses the mark. First off, Larry is obviously right that the Net biz isn’t zero-sum. Look, for example, at iOS and Android clawing each other ferociously for market share; who’s winning depends on what measures you use, but the key thing is that no matter how you measure, both sides are growing and growing fast. And I’ll totally unsurprised if one of Microsoft or BlackBerry or Mozilla or someone nobody’s watching yet gets a spot on that mobile-software growth curve.
Also, more or less all growth is by accretion. There were tablets from Microsoft five years before the iPad; MapQuest was on the Web a decade before Google Maps got interesting; the list of examples is endless.
Great things that didn’t previously exist don’t burst like Athena from some deity’s forehead, but grow by relentless layering-on of improvements and additions; eventually this produces something so much better and different that it’s in effect qualitatively new.
What I Said · My speech, an overview of Identity tech, was pretty rough. Literally 10 minutes before showtime, my Keynote preso corrupted itself and wouldn’t play. I managed to export it as PDF so the audience could see it, minus the nifty animations and transitions, but I couldn’t see my speaker notes. Fortunately I remembered most of the 50 minutes’ worth of material, but there’s a whole lot of hemming and hawing and I am totally unrelaxed.
The talk is up on YouTube, but I don’t recommend it for anyone who reads this space, because I’ll eventually work through all the material here in a probably-more-coherent form.
The Girl/Boy Thing · IO, like every other tech gathering, suffers from horrible gender imbalance. I don’t know what to do about it but I don’t think it’s appropriate to ignore, and I’ll keep highlighting it as long as I keep seeing it.
By the way, I had sort of thought there was not much new to be said about high-tech gender tension, but I was wrong; I recommend The Hawkeye Initiative IRL! by “K2” and Open Source Is Not A Warzone. Not Every Man Is A Dick by a girl-Perl-geek collective. I don’t 100% agree with everything they say, but any new contribution to this conversation is obviously A Good Thing.
My Tribe · That gender problem aside, IO left me proud to be a Net nerd. The people at IO are eclectic, open-hearted, loud-voiced; they are Burning-Man hippies, calculating entrepreneurs, concurrency obsessives, amateur opera singers; they come from everywhere, in all colors. (Those that are American include more or less no Republicans, because one thing that’s not cool among us is the celebration of ignorance.) I love them. There’s nothing I’d rather do.
Comment feed for ongoing:
From: Chris (May 19 2013, at 13:03)
<blockquote>Those that are American include more or less no Republicans</blockquote>
I bet you get pushback on that, believe it or not, but I salute you for saying it.
From: Joshua (May 19 2013, at 16:36)
<blockquote>Those that are American include more or less no Republicans</blockquote>
Not to get into political view, but as a Republican, this is a definitely ignorant comment. Based on reading your blog for over a year, I'm sure we would have some disagreements politically, but I suspect we would get along based on our tech interests.
From: Dan Scott (May 19 2013, at 17:04)
About the Keynote corruption... it's terrible that happened to you, but I wonder if that's a bit more incentive to go with one of the HTML5 solutions, or Google Docs, in the future?
Otherwise, as an attendee of the last four I/Os, I agree with you on the size of I/O, the relief I felt with the renewed focus on software development instead of hardware, and Larry's sincerity (which was echoed in a number of the Chrome sessions I attended, where standards and the desire to maintain actual working compatibility with other browsers was given more than lip service).
From: Barnes (May 19 2013, at 17:43)
So how do you feel about Google moving away from open standards and increasingly going proprietary? Such as dropping XMPP if this post (that Gruber pointed to) is truthful:
From: John Cowan (May 19 2013, at 18:31)
Always have multiple backups of your presentations. Always have multiple backups of your presentations. Always have multiple backups of your presentations.
Got it yet?
Carry them around on a flash drive, with multiple copies (that's multiple copies) on the flash drive. Just in case of corruption. Hang the flash drive around your neck before you leave home. Tell everyone it's jewelry.
From: Curtis (May 20 2013, at 05:33)
I'm surprised that all your files aren't instinctively in git including pseudo-binary ones such as presentations. That might have solved the corrupted file issue for you.
Thanks for the synopsis. I tried for tickets and didn't win despite all my efforts. :-/
From: Bud Gibson (May 20 2013, at 06:15)
I attended I/O in 2010 and liked it a lot for the people I met. However, I did feel it was way too glitzy. After that, it became too hard to get a ticket (I came on the academic rate, but even the commercial is all but impossible now). I think Google's solution to this, getting everything online in a well organized archive is working well this year. I attended many of the I/O sessions via live remote and have a number that I missed bookmarked for later consumption. I know one or two of the presenters fairly well from online interaction, and I have followed up with them.
So, you effectively moved to a format that is easier to digest as an archive on the web. Bravo. It mainly works and serves as a showcase for some of Google's larger commercial partners. This is how to do a modern tradeshow/ corporate event.
Praise for web consumability aside, I do have the desire to make it back to I/O, mainly to press the flesh. I'll have to figure out how to win the lottery (or wrangle an invite).
From: len (May 20 2013, at 10:33)
The one spoiler blog I've read about the new Star Trek complains that there are no "strong women" in it. Maybe this is a cultural trend that has some basis we aren't admitting or aren't aware of or aren't admitting we are aware of. Considering that Roddenberry was a supporter of "strong women" being a part of the future, perhaps some hidden coupler is at work in the present.
If the topic devolves to "men bad; women good", then there is no hope for change. There is a reason women don't take up the trades in this market ecosystem in numbers representative of their demographic because in the XML sub-niche, they are well-represented these days. With some exceptions and it may be a locale perception, they are not well-trained and with more exceptions, not looking for training.
And that leads me to think there is a cultural status coupler at work because the money and the opportunities are better by orders of magnitude for anyone who gets training if opportunities afforded by training are wanted.
From: Curtis Pew (May 20 2013, at 15:06)
There are some similarities between the way Republicans are treated in tech (and academia, and Hollywood, and other elite communities) and the way women are treated: they are ignored, marginalized, insulted, demonized, and so on by people who don’t feel any need to consider their point of view. There is one difference, though: in person, for example at Google IO, it’s hard to hide that you’re a woman, but unless you start talking about politics, people may not realize you’re a Republican. Considering that, on the one hand, you’re actually there to share information about technology and not discuss politics, and on the other hand, bringing up conservative viewpoints could cause a lot of social friction and possibly affect your career opportunities, why would you say anything? I would suggest, Mr. Bray, that there may be more Republicans around than you realize, but if you feel the need to make gratuitous insults you may never see the evidence.
From: len (May 22 2013, at 10:38)
That's interesting, Curtis. From where I sit the Republicans brought it on themselves. Just saying.
In my experience, as for women, it's not true. It varies by age group given the mating time and so on, but really, while there are always exceptions, no. At least in XML, I can think of too many exceptions and in my career, too many women who were managers.
Tell you what I have seen: women who absorb the majority of the home care of children and spouses who work very long hours, the social requirements of people with business careers, and so on, who are in fact, the managers of our lives. These women do have a hard time in an industry that churns technology like butter, that has a learning curve that never slows down or gets less steep. And that makes it hard to compete in a business where competition has only grown more intense and yes, mean as hell.
Why do they stay away? Because it isn't worth it and there are better things to do with one's life. And in my experience a good life is what most women will not give up for any kind of money.
From: Matěj Cepl (May 23 2013, at 03:06)
> From where I sit the Republicans brought it on themselves. Just saying.
Just say it about any other mistreated group (women, blacks, homosexuals) to see how incredibly stupid your sentence sounds.
“I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.” (Alexis de Tocqueville)
I was very much surprised how can anybody say such things with all those brouhaha about the First Amendment and tolerance. And then I lived for six years in USA myself. Mr. de Tocqueville was very much right.
From: Ian Rae (May 23 2013, at 09:52)
>more or less no Republicans, because one thing that’s not cool among us is the celebration of ignorance.
The intolerance in that statement makes me sad. Not unlike my rural tory friends who say NDPers are all hopelessly naive. Both are wrong.
From: Martin (May 26 2013, at 05:29)
"Those that are American include more or less no Republicans, because one thing that’s not cool among us is the celebration of ignorance."
As an European citizen, this is disturbing if not totally unexpected - I want to think that a party that get half the votes of a country like the USA can't be totally committed to the "celebration of ignorance", but experiences like make me feel sad.
Nice article on a nice community, still.
From: len (May 27 2013, at 13:09)
"Just say it about any other mistreated group (women, blacks, homosexuals) to see how incredibly stupid your sentence sounds."
Just substitute gasoline for butter in an omelette and it can be experience based as well.
Stupid is as stupid does.
The Republicans are marginalizing themselves because they've forgotten the point of government is to make an omelette a one can actually eat rather than one where the ingredients are picked to burn the waiter without caring what that does to the customer.
If they intend to stay in business, they should stop doing that.
From: Matěj Cepl (May 28 2013, at 01:04)
> The Republicans are marginalizing themselves because they've forgotten the point of government is to make an omelette a one can actually eat rather than one where the ingredients are picked to burn the waiter without caring what that does to the customer.
The point of every racism (or homophobia, or sexism, etc.) is that the characteristics of few are attributed to all.
I.e., I am quite sure that there was sometime one black man who raped a white woman, but the conclusion that all black men are rapists is the racist one.
And yes, there are some people who call themselves Republicans (or conservatives for that matter), and who made incredibly stupid decisions when they were in power. But to suggest that all Republicans celebrate ignorance is as stupid as to say that all black men are rapists.
From: len (May 28 2013, at 17:10)
"...there are some people who call themselves Republicans (or conservatives for that matter), and who made incredibly stupid decisions when they were in power."
Have a chat with Olympia Snow.
Republicans who believe they have a credible political future need to think long and hard about the party's recent (say last twenty years) positions and most public members. This is simple, obvious political realism, not an attempt to tar individuals. You are begging a case I am not trying to make nor is Tim.