The Syndicate conference, which was this week in San Francisco, has a lot of the great energy that I remember from the old days on the Internet, back in 1993-94.Everybody was enthusiastic about the prospects for the future of RSS and syndication. There were lots of small vendors populating the show, each with their own unique angle on RSS. Half of their ideas are insanely brilliant, the other half are just plain stupid. Half the people with insanely brilliant ideas will get insanely rich in a few years and dominate the market. And half the people with insanely stupid ideas will also get rich; they'll pocket the money and run before investors figure out that they're selling worthless service.
Even the big vendors looked small--Yahoo's presence in the exhibitor area was just a row of tables. They had a couple more tables than the little guys, but other than that they're indistinguishable from the small fry.
Nicest of all: The marketing pitches weren't polished, so when I went up to a vendor and said, "What do you do?" they didn't hit me over the head with a PowerPoint presentation so enormous and dense that I collapsed to my knees under its weight. Instead, they just told me what they do. Amazing!