I first got involved in online business around 1995, when I first bought a copy of .net magazine, after I got curious about a startup company in the next room of our business centre, who said they were hosting websites.
Back in 1995, most business people I spoke to didn't know what a website was, let alone what a good one would look like, so I started to learn how to code HTML using a highly sophisticated tool called 'Notepad
', and registered some domain names where a committee of actual people decided on whether or not I could own a particular domain name...
By 1998, I was designing and managing sites for companies like The Alba Centre
(a Silicon Glen incubator) Scottish Financial Enterprise
, The British Blood Transfusion Society
, and for dozens of conferences a year.
Of course, the dot com bubble burst around 2000-2001, with so much money following ridiculously optimistic business plans, but many survivors from that period are still strong and active today.
Here comes something new...
But around about 2003, a new type of web site started to appear, as what I considered to be a natural evolution coinciding with the high penetration of broadband internet connections into homes and businesses: sites with features that broadly are known as Web 2.0...
These sites allowed the addition of comment, collaboration, and content from those that use the sites. Blogs
began to break news ahead of mainstream media, comments about a book by readers offered more credibility than publishers' puff, and people began to use video sharing, file sharing, mobile access... and social networks.
Where we stand today, site concepts and names that did not exist a few short years ago are massively successful, and the numbers in monetary terms, and this time around, also in end user terms, are massive. YouTube
. And the older companies (hardly business veterans, any of them) still have some smart moves and serious revenue - Amazon
New entities like Twitter
are growing rapidly in online areas that simply could not be conceived a few years ago. The barriers to entry for sites that can grow virally are lower than they ever have been before, and a new breed of VC is eager to find and fund the next big success - and these VCs are not just in the Valley. They are in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Zurich, Milan, Tel Aviv, Stockholm, Dublin, and beyond...
The Next Web HotSpot
This combination of factors forms the business and intellectual hot spot where The Next Web
has grown since its inaugural conference in Amsterdam in 2006. This is the showcase for the best of the new web, debating the next moves, providing a forum for the key thinkers, best commentators and important players to meet, and creating a momentum in its own right that has led to thenextweb blog
becoming a highly regarded source of news and critical commentary for entrepreneurial startups, VCs and industry commentators in Europe and beyond.
Last year's Next Web conference included speakers such as Scott Rafer, CEO of MyBlogLog
(acquired by Yahoo), Rod Beckström
, author of the #4 best business book of 2006 (Amazon Editors’ Picks). Deborah Schultz
, former Marketing Director for Six Apart
, Dick Hardt
, Founder and CEO of Sxip Identity
, Michael Arrington
, one of the most influential individuals and investors in the Web 2.0 sphere, Marc Canter
, founder of MacroMind and Broadband Mechanics
, Tariq Krim
, founder and CEO of Netvibes
, Felix Petersen
, founder and CEO of Plazes.com
, Saul Klein
, Venture Partner at Index Ventures, VP of Skype and a Founding Partner of the OpenCoffee Club
, Tapan Bhat
, Yahoo!’s vice president of Front Doors, driving strategy, product management and programming for the primary starting points to Yahoo!, Jeff Clavier
, one of Silicon Valleys finest, most respected and leading investors.
This year... more than 700 delegates are anticipated from over 20 countries, and confirmed speakersRobert Scoble
, Tech Geek Blogger & Author of ‘Naked Conversations‘, Werner Vogels
, CTO at Amazon, and Gil Penchina
, CEO at Wikia
, and Leah Culver
, Co-founder and Lead Developer of Pownce
, a social messaging application.
's ease of access from all over Europe, its cosmopolitan charm and essential cool also add to the list of very good reasons to attend this compelling conference.
Those on the organisers' wish-list (to be confirmed) include Meg Whitman
, President and CEO, eBay; Marissa Mayer
- Vice President, Search Products & User Experience at Google; John Battelle
- Author ‘The Search’; Esther Dyson
; Loïc Le Meur
- Executive Vice President and General Manager Six Apart Europe, Marc Andreessen
- Serial Entrepreneur, founder of Netscape; Kathy Sierra
- co-creator of the bestselling Head First series; Nicolas Negroponte
- co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of the MIT Media Laboratory; Eric Meyer
- Standards Evangelist; Jason Fried
- co-founder, 37signals.com; Kevin Rose
- Founder and Chief Architect Digg; Dave Sifry
- CEO, technorati; Jon Udell
- Web/Internet consultant and author; Jeff Jarvis
- Blogger, journalist, publisher and columnist; Chris Anderson
- Author ‘The Long Tail’ Jim Clark
- Serial Entrepreneur (Silicon Graphics, Netscape, Healtheon, etc); Dave Winer
- Software developer, author, blogger.
The time is now...
I'm going to be there, because I can't think of a more interesting and exciting time for developments in the online sphere. Everything is in flux, and the recent aggressive takeover bid for Yahoo! from Microsoft just goes to show that change, evolution and revolution have become 'business as usual'.
The inexorable rise in online commerce (97% of those online in the UK bought online in 2007) lets everyone know that the new business battlegrounds are almost all digital, and this conference focuses on who's going to be providing the tactics, the new weapons, and where the battle lines will be drawn.
Two years ago, around 10 percent of the world’s population (627 million) had shopped online. Today, this figure is up 40 percent to 875 million. Source: The Neilsen Company
See you at The Next Web.
to register - Early Bird Registrants save €200 on registration for this 2-day event.