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March 15, 2005
ETech Day 1: Web Services and Car Hacks

This morning I attended the Web Services Mashup hosted by Alan Taylor (Amazon Light), Cal Henderson (Flickr), and Erik Benson (43Things).

It was a good, broad overview of the technologies, business reasons, and future direction of web services. There was not tons new that I learned here--mostly because I've been paying attention to the space recently--and I regret not ditching to attend the Creating Passionate Users session. It was held by Kathy Sierra, one of the contributors to the Creating Passionate Users blog.

Fortunately I got notes on the CPU session from Ron, who works on Microsoft TV. One takeaway from Ron's notes that resonated:

The user must have an "I Rule" experience. It only matters what they think about themselves as a result of using your product – it doesn’t matter what they think of you. They will become passionate about you because you made them feel like they "kick ass", ie. you’ve improved their life.

In the afternoon, I attended Damien Stolarz' Hack Sci-Fi Features into your Car session. Stolarz runs CarBotPC, a company that integrates computers, LCDs, wireless networking technology, etc. into cars.

There were two takeaways I had from this session: first, who the hell needs HD TV in their car?! And second, if I were ever to install HD in my car, Stolarz would be the guy to do it.

He is incredibly passionate about the future of computers in cars, has thought a lot about the barriers that are keeping his industry from rapid growth, and clearly has a lot of experience getting his hands dirty doing the installs. At one point, we went outside to look at his handywork, and Stolarz was a like a little kid, talking a mile a minute and running between the cars, proud to show off his fine handywork. I was swept away by his obvious passion and depth of knowledge for the topic.

Robert Kaye has more technical details of the talk on the O'Reilly site.

Tomorrow should be good: short, focused talks from Stewart Butterfield and Cal from Flickr, Jeff Bezos, Peter Norvig (Director of Search Quality at Google), and Richard Rashid (head of Microsoft Research).

>> reemer @ 1:11 AM

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