The kind folks (Marcus & Ridza) at Start-up @ Singapore wanted to have me (in Buffalo, NY) as a virtual panelist for their Web 2.0 session held at the National University of Singapore. I was game, and while we did several trials over the week, on the day itself I had such a hard time making out what was going on.
What do you do in such a dire situation?
I realized that I ended up smiling a lot on camera. 😀
Oops, did I appear too communist on the topic of monetizing the web?
Instead of simply denouncing the term “monetization” (aka a bad word), I should have said “monetization is bad because it makes the fans feel used”. You’ll want to let fans give on their own accord, through means such as professional-level subscriptions (e.g. Flickr). This makes the pro users feel good as they are supporting both the web company as well as the entry level users who might not be able to afford to pay for the service. I tend to support transactions that are fulfilling in nature, rather than through artificial means such as intrusive forms of web advertising.
How does it feel to be a virtual panelist?
The big attraction about conferences is to mingle with all kinds of folks. I didn’t get a chance to do that. Instead it felt like I was trapped in a prison (i.e. the laptop), trying to turn to look around, to speak and to listen, but restricted in communicating with only those who came to visit me at the machine. Which reminds me… I need to get a web controlled robot with VoIP built-in, like the Rovio by WowWee Robots for future telepresence sessions.
UPDATE 1: Vantan has shared a seriously detailed post-conference report, while Chin Yong delves deeper into alternate modes of currency I mentioned over video. Renhao also recently contributed his pictorial POV as an active audience member at the talk.
UPDATE 2: Apparently the crowd went wild when I said that “monetization is a dirty word”, and I’m just glad that my stunt got some light bulbs glowing. I’ve received emails from interesting folks in the audience, following up on how we could produce more relevant forms of currency for the web. Since the early Internet days, forums and news commentary sites have been issuing Karma points as a way of recognizing reputation. A lot of the services and tools we use today (e.g. open source) wouldn’t have existed if not for these ideas. I’ll try to compile what I’ve been reading as a blog entry soon, perhaps we could help build web services that are sustainable through direct human relations / labor rather than mediated through cash (e.g. user generated / moderated content).