Event – Bar Camp (Day 1)

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Today I drove over 300 miles (Los Angeles to Palo Alto) to get to Bar Camp. I believe that was the farthest distance anyone traveled, although I haven’t fact-checked that yet. In fact, I haven’t fact checked anything below, so if there are errors please email me or leave a comment and I’ll fix it.

It was worth the drive.

The event started at 7:00. Everyone had to “sign in” and “take a picture” which consisted of writing your name in a marker pen on a long scrolling paper and drawing your own avatar. People loved it – and there were a lot of people (minus a few stragglers who never made it out of the cafe :-)). There was a working “wiki” literally written up on a whiteboard (real wiki here) and people were free to add discussion topics to the agenda for either of the two meeting rooms.

Pizza was delivered. There was a referigerator full of beer (less full later in the evening). And there was wide open wifi. Paradise.

My notes for the day are below. This is by no means a transcript of what happened (there was just too much). But it is my views and opinions on the stuff I was able to participate in.

“Opening Session”

After introductions (led by Andy Smith and Chris Messina from Flock), Ross Mayfield led a discussion about how to (quickly, easily, informally) create a communication and feedback mechanism for attendees (including those not physically present). Lots of good ideas, mostly centered around the wiki since it’s up and running.

By the way, if you haven’t read it yet, check out Chris’ post on how Bar Camp was created.


Ross also spoke about a new product that Social Text has soft-launched, called WikiWyg. It deserves its own profile (and will get one if I can corner Ross long enough to talk about it a bit more), but it is basically a tool to allow people to edit wiki’s without using wiki code. Try out the demo – you can double click on any text on the page and toggle between a wysiwyg editor, a wikitext editor, and preview. If they add authorization functionality, this would be one great way to edit your own blog, as well.


Mike Prince, the founder of Mobido, gave a brief demo of his company. There wasn’t enough time for me to fully understand Mobido, but it is a network for sharing photos and short content (names, contact info, etc.) around an event. One use of this is for everyone at an event to take a picture of themselves and post in on a Mobido event page, along with their name, etc., and people can see everyone who attended and know who they are. There are RSS capabilities as well. This is another company I’d like to profile.


I walked in to this session a bit late. The official title was “blogging for Profit” and was led by Niall Kennedy (Technorati). The discussion evolved into a general discussion of “what is blogging” and “why do people blog” over time.

Jeff Clavier made an interesting comment in response to a question. Jeff, who is a VC, said he blogs because it helps him network with companies and gives him leads. I agree that few VCs are blogging, and most that do blog mostly about being a VC (with notable exceptions of course). You can tell from Jeff’s blog that he is more than open to getting communications from new companies, and it has served him very, very well.

I also think blogging, if you do it intensely, gives you excellent insight into developing trends way before everyone else sees them. You get this partly from reading blogs, and partly from comments and email from people talking about what they are doing. Interaction, lead generation and early intelligence is (mostly) why I love writing for TechCrunch so much. As a related aside, I hear that a company I profiled a month ago may be getting some more mainstream press in the near future. :-)

The session ended with Dorrian Porter (click…subscribed to feed) suggesting that the group consider attempting to categorize blogs by intent or subject matter. A big task in my opinion.


Jacob Appelbaum gave a presentation of his “motorcycle” project – a sniffer of content on wifi networks. He proved the power of his application by reading out random passwords of people in the audience (who where blogging, checking email, etc., while listening). The occasional “Crap! that’s mine” and “please shut this off” was heard. I simply shut down my computer.

He talked about how easy it is to “own someone” by monitoring their traffic. Because people tend to recycle passwords, he said, once you have one password you likely have access to their entire life. Scary stuff.

Jacob also noted that many new web 2.0 companies, like flickr, are not hashing passwords as they are sent over the net, meaning they can easily be sniffed by anyone monitoring the local network.

He’s launching motorcyle as an open source project “for people to use and enjoy.”

By the way, Jiwire has a product called Spotlock that will encrypt your traffic and help you avoid this type of thing. $5 a month, free to try. I’ll be installing it before tomorrow morning.

New Blogs

I met a number of interesting people tonight and subscribed to their blogs. I’m sure there will be lots more over the weekend.

Andy Smith
Chris Messina
Adam Marsh
Dorrian Porter
Ryan King

I am also looking forward to Tom Conrad‘s presentation on Pandora tomorrow, and Jeff Clavier‘s presentation on venture capital on Sunday. Hell, I may even get up and say something clever myself at some point.

  • http://virtualization.com Robin Wauters

    Stock actually hit 125;5 at some point.

  • http://virtualization.com Robin Wauters

    A commenter on our blog who we believe to be a VMware employee, had this to share:

    “There’s also the possibility that EMC intentionally deflated the value because they couldn’t find a buyer at the stock’s previous price point. It would hardly be the first time “the troops” were sacrificed at the corporate alter to profits.”

    Full comment is here: http://virtualization.com/news/2008/07/08/diane-greene-vmware-paul-maritz/

  • http://monkeyattack.com/ Chris Meredith

    I still don’t see anyone really offering a solution to compete with VMWare in the enterprise market. In the medium scale server, and desktop market, there are plenty of competitors, but no one can really take on an ESX Cluster.

    Microsoft’s previous shots at clustering based on Microsoft standards have been all but dismissed in most markets (dfs not withstanding), and so far I haven’t seen anything that says their new virtualization product will do any better, assuming they ever ship such an animal.

    If VMWare was simply made up of VMWare Workstation/Player, I would dismiss them as dead. Until someone else gets me an auto balancing SAN backed virtualization solution with session level failover, as mature as ESX, I’ll stick with them. Now the second VirtualBox or someone like that gets me a similar solution at an easier to swallow price…

  • http://vcsandangels.com/blog/?p=8209 VMWare Drops 25% Of Market Cap : VCsAndAngels - Venture Capital / VCs, Angel Investors, Startup News, Etc

    […] VMWare: A missed opportunity for EMC? Continue reading at Techcrunch IT >> […]

  • http://www.techcrunchit.com/ Nik Cubrilovic

    @Robin: that doesn’t make sense, because you don’t have the same problems with an acquisition as you would with other public companies because EMC owns 90% of the stock and have control. They can push VMWare out at any price they want.

    I think the acquisition didnt happen simply because VMWare is way overvalued, and will probably drop further.

  • http://www.techcrunchit.com/ Nik Cubrilovic

    @Chris: I am about to do a tech comparison in the medium and high end. I think Sun and Citrix are getting close, and the Msft stuff has potential esp as it is being architected into Server itself – but your right, ESX Cluster is a good product, but it doesn’t mean it will remain that way forever. The markets are looking forward and evaluating if VMWare are going to be capable of protecting/defending their position.

  • sammy

    Few people want to use windows in the datacenter. I don’t believe msft is a viable competitor.

  • http://www.francorp.com Francorp

    This could prove to be a very favorable move for VM, their sales force was completely mismanaged and had virtually no correlation with EMC’s. It was difficult if not impossible to get any level of support from VM corporate people in the field, I would imagine that this move in leadership will greatly benefit VM from a sales perspective, of course this will take some time to see the effects on the stock price. I think VM is a good buying opportunity now though, controlling over 85% of that market gives them a good lead on the competition however you want to rank them.

  • Basil


    Be careful about how you compare those products- most “comparisons” I read seem to be written by people who do not use the technology. The main advantage that VMW has in the enterprise is their interop list. All the other nice features are nice, but the reason people will look into a massive consolidation project with VMW but not sun or microsoft is that their products have a 4 year lag in application interoperability testing.

  • Stephen Kramer


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