After discussing Yahoo's future strategy given Google's recent successes & acquisitions of YouTube & DoubleClick (and Yahoo's non-acquisition of Facebook), John then asked a question about Microsoft. Weiner said nothing specific about a deal or partnership, yet appeared to state a position of greater interest from Yahoo to any future Microsoft approaches.
Amidst all the hubbub of Web 2.0 Expo -- and never afraid to plug, right in the middle of a panel i got him to moderate -- Mike just announced he and Jason Calacanis are launching a new conference called TechCrunch20 (website went live today). The conference is happening September 17-18 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.
20 startup companies will be selected to participate and demo; similar to the Demo conference run by Chris Shipley which typically includes ~60-70 companies. However unlike Demo, which currently charges ~$18K to participate, TC20 will not charge startups to present. Costs of the conference will likely be subsidized by attendees & sponsors (Sequoia Capital is listed as an initial sponsor). Registration is now live: $2K before July 15, $2.5K thereafter.
My guess is this will provide some healthy competition for Demo, however Chris Shipley and folks put on a pretty high-end show that will also be a challenge to duplicate right out of the gate. That said, i would never underestimate Mike or Jason. (also see Mike's earlier post about TechCrunch20 from January).
Facebook has had groups & networks for quite awhile. However, yesterday they [re-]launched something called Network Pages to aggregate related people, groups, events, and other data associated with a regional, college, or work-related network. They also did a slight facelift on the site design, made the inbox UI a bit easier to understand, and got rid of That Guy.
Q: Why is this important?
Well, i'm guessing FB is trying to drive usage among non-college demographics, and one way to do that is to start emphasizing non-college network pages based on regional & workplace networks for old fogies like me to join & checkout. Also, as people graduate and start getting jobs in the real world, regional & workplace networks will gradually become more relevant than college networks. see my previous post on facebook: "big, sticky, & growing..." for stats & other Facebook growth by segment.
side note: this is something i've been suggesting LinkedIn do long ago -- that is, pre-instantiate LinkedIn Groups for every combination of college & workplace affiliations they can think of. new LinkedIn members could then join these networks right away, add links to people they know, and likely become significantly more active users. Currently the LinkedIn Groups experience is rather painful... i'm a huge fan of LinkedIn, so i'm hoping perhaps some tough blog love will get them to do a similar overhaul soon. please reid?