It’s July and that must mean it’s time for Tony Perkins’ AlwaysOn Innovation Summit at Stanford University.
I’m here for the third year running and this time – in addition to improved production value and a larger crowd – there’s something new on the scene.
It sounds pretty simple and perhaps a bit new-agey, but the truth of the matter is that a conference is a conference is a conference. The thing that separates one SWAG bag from another is the sizzle.
With Tony Perkins you can be guaranteed that big name pundits will trot across the stage and serious play-ahs will roam the halls networking and drinking coffee.
The first AlwaysOn Innovation Summit had some sizzle because, well, it was the first one. Last year had some pop, probably due more to the fact that Silicon Valley was crawling out of its collective burrow in the aftermath of the bubble burst.
This year the panelists are arguing with each other. Nothing like blood in the water to get things moving.
It didn’t start out that way. Frankly, I started writing this about half way through the first full day of the AlwaysOn Summit, and based on what I saw by that point this year was a snoozer.
Opening night at the AlwaysOn Summit was a yard-sale. After the traditional AlwaysOn 100 awards we were subjected to a panel pitting Republican in Democrat’s clothing Sandy Berger against Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown and neo-con blabbermouth Michael MedVed. BORING. I think it was something about a bunch of white guys talking about abortion that really tipped the scales. It was after that when most folks up and left.
Day one – interesting interview with the CEO of Skype kicked off the day … but I have to say that the panel with Mark Cuban took the cake for most fireworks.
Day two – started off innocently enough. We talked open source. We talked next generation of the Web. Then it was time to talk about technology and whether or not it makes us safe. KA-BOOM.
Next time George Gilder, Jaron Lanier and Bill Joy are in a room together, I’ll take bets on who walks out.