I spent a couple days at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference down in San Diego. I really enjoy this conference, because it is so geek-oriented. There’s nary a business model in sight. The most obvious example of this was the session on playsh, which was very cool, but completely useless – I love it!
The theme of the conference was The Attention Economy, and I think the idea there is particularly relevant. As Michael Goldhaber said, once people have enough money, the scarce resource that must be optimized is attention. Now, I’m not completely clear on the difference between attention and time, so I’ll have to read his book when it comes out. But, it is increasingly clear that demands on our attention are skyrocketing, and anything that helps manage that flood is a good thing.
There were a couple very cool demos, including Ray Ozzie‘s demo of a cut and paste mechanism for the dynamic web, and a very cool light table with multiple touch inputs. I think this conference is another one that is great for me professionally, not because I see a lot of companies that I can invest in now, but because it keeps me in touch with things that people are working on, and introduces me to entrepreneurs that might be ready for me in a few months or years.