This morning, I found myself in Brooklyn for Widget World Expo.
This is the first US version of the conference (the first was in London) and attendance is at about a solid 60 to 75.
I'll wait till the end of the day to give my full take on the conference, but so far the highlights have been the following:
- No wifi because it was "too expensive" (if this post sees the light of day it will be because I've gone around the corner and paid for it myself)
- Marc Canter felt at home enough in the main room to interrupt the keynote speaker (Hooman Radfar of Clearspring), screeching "F7!" right after Mr. Radfar mentioned Facebook's "F8" platform. I guess he had some sort of point?
Otherwise, the conference seems to be a mix of old and new, advertisers and publishers (some fine folks from TIME, Inc. are sitting next to me -- here to "understand in greater detail the production, distribution, and monetization of widgets," though when pressed on it, they readily admitted they probably knew more about what works for publishers than the upstart, consultant-esque (my words) speaker slate).
As my reporting advances this morning and afternoon, look for more specific reactions to sessions titled, for example, "Media Transformative," "Widgets to Features: Leveraging Widgets and Apps to Provide Cross Domain Functionality," and "Can widgets save display advertising?"
Chris opens by reporting that "We're in the business of making money" and shows a slide of them "bridging the gap between Palo Alto and Madison Avenue." Basically, these guys do for Facebook apps what Blip.tv does for podcasts: match publishers and brands on a more hands-on basis than a basic ad network. Chris seems to think Facebook is where all the action is and will be, despite the fact that MySpace's team is "really smart."
Lastly, Chris reports that Appssavvy will be launching a ComScore-like back-end which tracks app engagement and usage across the various platforms (Facebook / MySpace) and splits the metrics into demographic metrics for buyers to then use to help target their budgets.
My take: Chris knows what he's talking about. Due to my NPM experience, I have a strong bias towards "ad people" who know how the sales process works and are laser focused on monetizing stuff. Watch out for these guys.
Best quote: "God bless the movie studios" (for their budgets). ---break---