My EPIC-FAIL virtual panelist experience for Start-Up @ Singapore

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.

Our Web 2.0 panel at Startup@Singapore

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.

Look, I'm virtually at Start-Up@Singapore againLook, I'm virtually at Start-Up@Singapore

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).

7 thoughts on “My EPIC-FAIL virtual panelist experience for Start-Up @ Singapore

  1. What do you do in such a dire situation?
    I realized that I ended up smiling a lot on camera. 😀

    It helped that you were facially expressive. more than just smiling, the exaggerated gestures helped you connect to the audience even though you didn’t know how they were responding. that helped a lot! i think it engaged the young people around me. They laughed. Think they thought you were quirky cool. And of course tickertape helped. But towards the end it got disruptive and I think the timing was excellent when you chose to remove it. Ended off with a bang 🙂 great job in the face of adversity 😉

    monkey’s last blog post..Filmed at Semakau

  2. @Monkey: Thank you for your heartfelt comments. I really had no idea what the audience was like, but thanks to twitter-ers like you, I had a good sense when to be naughty or nice. 😉

  3. dude, i was at this morning’s session and i’m glad you brought some “current” sites into the session i.e. mturk, threadless, twitter, etc. I used to lecture at a local poly and I noticed that our teenagers are somehow not as aware as I had hope them to be, with what’s going on in the internet world, when considering we are very connected. To those who are reading your post, please listen to It’s a fantastic weekly podcast by Leo Laporte and friends and they often have “who’s who” in the tech industry as guests and discuss what’s happening i.e. South By Southwest conference etc.

  4. haha!! cheeky yes! We should have an American Idol style of competition on the WEB. You can definitely sing. NEVER GONNA LIFT YOU UP.

    I see ALOT of resemblance with Melvin.

    Btw, I love that part on monetization or should i say demonetization. It totally made the point that entrepreneurship is not about making money per se. Well said Kevin.

    One final note, it was more a EPIC Experiment instead la!!


    From Sunny Spore

    marcus’s last blog wasnt like that in the past

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