06 December 2005

When 2.0 conference

When 2.0 conference
Originally uploaded by ptufts.
I'm at the When 2.0 conference today. In this photo, Esther Dyson is hosting a panel discussion on Time and Functionality. The speakers are Munjal Shah (Riya), Tantek Celik (Technorati), John Arenas (Worktopia), and Ben Cruz (Demand ID Systems).

Riya is doing some interesting work in applying face recognition to auto-tagging photos. Even with inexact algorithms (the best face-recognition software is far from perfect), the problem becomes much easier when you only have to deal with the hundred faces that a particular user might have photos of.

Tantek Celik of Technorati spoke about applying microformats to online organization of information. This is one of those places where a simple solution might work better than the best-designed semantic web system. Microformats are simple enough that you can use them on a web site without having to adopt XML, new publishing software, or in fact, anything beyond what you're already using.

Worktopia has a really interesting business model, providing on-demand meeting and workspace to groups that need it. Their premise is that workforces are increasingly mobile and distributed, and so traditional (fixed) office space does not serve the needs of these new workers. Instead, they occasionally need space (for meetings, kickoffs, and such) and Worktopia is aiming at the heart of this niche.

Finally, Ben Cruz of Demand ID talked about better ways of reaching people who would like to see live events. In the current reality, for many events, including live music, most tickets are not sold, but are given away in the week before the show as the promoter realizes the show isn't going to fill the venue. Promoters do this because news of a half-full venue, if it made it down the line to later tour stops, would be a self-reinforcing failure.

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