The Expo's "Power of Less" theme isn't merely a concession to the reality of tight budgets and lingering economic uncertainty. It also recognizes that realignment presents opportunities and that Web companies benefit from focus.
"A lot of companies are being forced to make do with less right now," said Jennifer Pahlka, Web 2.0 Expo general manager and co-chair. "We realized when the economy started collapsing that we might be in unique position to help companies embrace it rather than fear it."
Pahlka points to Twitter as an example of a business built on a very narrow idea, noting that the company has refused to lard its service with features. Instead, the company has relied on its growing developer ecosystem to fill in the gaps. "Twitter only does one thing," she said. "By choosing to do less, that's how they've really grown. They don't compete with their own ecosystem."
The New York version of the Web 2.0 Expo differs from the show's West Coast incarnation. "In New York, what we're really trying to do is capture the spirit of the entrepreneurial community and Web community there," said Pahlka. "The New York investment community is a little bit more interested in seeing a business plan with revenue from the start."
The Expo also caters to industries with long histories in the region: advertising, design, and finance. The design sessions this year, said Pahlka, are particularly strong, and she expects many graphic and identity designers to attend, seeking to enhance their understanding of interaction design.
For the first time, there will be an East Coast Launch Pad program, where new five start-ups will make their five-minute pitches to the crowd.
The show's lineup of keynote speakers includes Yousef Khalidi, a distinguished engineer on Microsoft's Windows Azure team, IBM research scientist Ching-Yung Lin. Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd, British Telecom's VP of Web services Kevin Marks, Genevieve Bell from Intel's digital home group, Digg CEO Jay Adelson and Digg founder and chief architect Kevin Rose, and Beth Simone Noveck, US deputy CTO for open government, to name a few.
Among the exhibitors are companies such AlertSite, Awareness, Blogtronix, CrowdCampaign, CyberNet Consulting, Geanium, KonoLive, Meetup, mypage.it, Mzinga, Qtask, Universal Mind, Verio, and Website Magazine.
In addition to keynote presentations, the Expo will feature a new Government 2.0 track, intensive Bootcamp workshops, a trade show and networking events. Other sessions are organized around the following Web-oriented themes: Landscape & Strategy, Design & UX (user experience), Social Media, Development, Fundamentals, Web 2.0 at Work, Mobile, Performance, and Analytics.
The Web 2.0 Expo New York runs from November 16 through November 19 at the Javits Convention Center.
TechWeb, which operates the Web 2.0 Expo in conjunction with O'Reilly Media, also owns InformationWeek.
InformationWeek Analytics has published a guide to the Open Government Directive and what it means for federal CIOs. Download the report here (registration required).