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3/11/2009
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Venkatesh Rao
Venkatesh Rao
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Three Trend Questions We Find Foggy

So, I am in San Francisco for a few days, and met up with Steve Wylie and Paige Finkelman. That's the "Us" in the title.

We had a great conversation, where we figured out world hunger and other such small issues, inspired by some great coffee from the Blue Bottle Cafe in the SoMA part of downtown.

"No, we aren't in the picture""No, we aren't in the picture"

And we touched upon a few Enterprise 2.0 related questions that even our combined brilliance couldn't seriously illuminate. Care to weigh in? Here they are:

Question 1: What will Social Media do to TV?

Print publishing, we know, is being hammered, but TV is a far more complex case. There are big HD screens vs. tiny iPod screens. TiVO and other appliances versus consumption on generic devices. Hulus and YouTubes versus big-studio programming. American Idol style SMS strategies and Lostpedia style Internet-fueled mainstream cults, as well as weird online-dominant shows. TV-and-social-media is also a litmus test for the whole SaaS+Appliance=END OF THE INTERNET fears of Jonathan Zittrain.

So how will it all play out? Define sides, pick one and weigh in!

Question 2: Conferences and UnConferences, how will they play?

Barcamps, co-working and meetups are creating a whole alternative culture around informal face-time. Regular conferences on the other hand, have a better business model and offer unique "scale" features, all the way from celebrity focused events like TED to industrial events like E2.0 and vendor-specific shows to academic meetings. Then there are the more alternative kinds like SXSW.

When and if the dust settles, how will the two play? Will large conferences provide an umbrella ecosystem for a concentrated burst of barcamp like activities? Will two cultures distinct cultures emerge?

Question 3: Google Docs vs. Zoho?

Or to make it more abstract, an office-in-a-box offering from a giant that offers a lot else, versus one from a focused small player that may be able to give the product/service better attention, but doesn't have the deep ecosystem reserves of a large company. What would you bet on?

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