After NEXT: bloggers and their dragons

By Adam Tinworth

25/05/2013 | Conference have a form of second life, as their ideas spread through the published videos, and a new wave of conversation develops. That's really happening to this year's NEXT, as each wave of videos triggers new ideas and posts from people seeing the presentations for the first time. Here's a few reactions I've spotted in recent weeks.

Daniel Christian used Marina Gorbis's talk as a springboard for his ideas about preparing students for the world they'll exit into… Here are a few of his conclusions:

  • Provide content in as many ways as possible — and let the students work with what they prefer to work with
  • Implement story, emotion, creativity, and play as much as possible (providing plenty of chances for them to create what they want to create)
  • Utilize cross-disciplinary assignments and teams
  • Integrate real-world assignments/projects into the mix

Robert Scoble's talk on anticipatory products and Google Glass has one blogger worried:

However, the flip side is that they could strengthen the ‘filter bubble”. Critics are already arguing that, for example, Google’s attempts to offer you the best search results based on what you’ve been interested in previously narrows the information you see to a limited world view that excludes opposing arguments.

The latest incarnation of this is Google Now which presents information to you based on location, information in your calendar and Gmail, and past search results. Combine this with wearable computers like Google Glass and this filter bubble could become ever present.

Scoble himself posted to the Rackspace blog about the reason his employer lets him tour the world speaking at events like NEXT about other people's products:

Topics like Google Glass and the Age of Context are new kinds of conversation starters. They will have huge impacts on Rackspace and its business in coming years. It’s the same reason I go out and talk to small five-person startups. There are new technologies emerging every second powered by companies of all sizes, and these technologies are driving change. It’s my job to get the word out about new advances, whether from small companies like Chartio and Tellagence, or large ones like Google (which often get the most attention). Google Glass is one of these game-changing advances.

Another blogger took home a "platforms not products" message:

Many people are able to offer many different products on the market, and the best chance for a successful business on a large scale lies within providing a platform where entrepreneurs will find their customers and a retail structure at low cost and with a high amount of trust.

And another found hope for a more fulfilling life without neglecting your family:

Technological empowerment is clearly happening all over the place. The emergence of fablabs around the world is just one example of that. The Mothership Hacker Moms created a hackerspace in which they create a very meaningful blend between the social dynamic of family life and the tendency to reclaim what you use/own by motivating people to create things. What this shows to me, is that with a bit of creativity people can overcome organisational struggles in order to participate in the things we like to do without having to sacrifice on, within this context, ‘family time’.

Official blogger Adeline Peltea interviewed Thomas Kiessling of Deutsche Telekom for her blog - you can listen to the whole of it. However, she's thoughtfully provided the key ideas:

In a nutshell, Deustsche Telekom is building the infrastructure for these emerging big data businesses (think of it, for example, as an “App Store” for the standard Smart Home of the future) and is looking for innovators to partner with. Startups tackling big data and machine to machine are invited to approach Deutsche Telekom in order to discuss potential opportunities and see how they can benefit from the developed infrastructure, facilitated access to market and business acceleration. A real Open Innovation, right?

The Berlin Startup Girl found it a productive event:

The conference was packed with dynamic speakers and offered amazing networking opportunities.  The crowd, 30% of whom came from outside of Germany, chatted and even danced during the Tuesday night reception (after watching Bayer Munich triumph over Barcelona). I’ve been to handful of networking events since I arrived in Berlin, and this was by far the most productive.  There were a lot of decision makers present, and they were eager to hire new employees and freelancers.

Here's some final notes from program director Peter Bihr:

There were a few things, though, that I did manage to see, and that I’ll remember as highlights. Harper Reed‘s enthusiasm and experience were fantastic. Bruce Sterling called our peer group out as the brain and nerve center of the machine that erodes the global middle class. I’d have loved to see him speak longer. The moment just a few minutes before, when he tried out Google Glass and just dryly noted: it’s cute, very 80s. The moment Stephen Wolfram answered a question about the difference between Wolfram Alpha and Google and just noted that Sergej Brin was an intern in his company long before founding Google. When candidate for chancellor Peer Steinbrück talked about Germany’s role in the fourth industrial revolution and pushed heavily for 3D printing as a driving force in this. Many moments like that.

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