Web 2.0 Summit, co-hosted by O’Reilly Media and CMP, kicks off this Wednesday at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel. A who’s who list of Web 2.0 digerati will converge for three days of deal making, partying and more deal making.
If you didn’t have the budget to nab one of the $3,595 tickets for the event, fret not – VentureBeat reporters will be on hand to bring you frontline dispatches.
In preparation for the event, here’s a quick preview of what’s expected during the week, which includes some product launches by MadeIt, Userplane, Radar and Nokia.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Marissa Mayer and Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer will all be speaking — and ears will be perked for the latest on reported acquisition talks between Microsoft and Facebook, and Google’s response to this.
EBay’s Meg Whitman will be speaking Thursday, right before her company’s Q3 earnings announcement the same day. Friday’s Wall Street Journal had an article about eBay’s struggle to juice its slowing growth rates. We also hope the moderator asks her questions about the departure of Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom, and about eBay’s associated $900 million write down. Speaking of Mr. Zennstrom, the Skype founder curiously disappeared from Web 2.0 Summit’s list of speakers sometime over the last few days. As recently as last Wednesday according to the Google cache, Zennstrom was listed as a speaker at the conference, where he was to participate in a session entitled, “Show Me.” Oops. Today, all references to Zennstrom are removed from O’Reilly’s conference agenda.
Wednesday evening, MySpace will host a dinner with News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdock and MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe. We hope he speaks about his pending acquisition of the Wall Street Journal, and how he sees his new media properties meshing with his old media properties.
Several companies are expected to show off their latest Web 2.0 wares.
Thursday night, at a party promoted here, MadeIt.com, a new Web 2.0 online invitations site, will make its public beta debut. MadeIt.com plans to take on market leader Evite.com by adding social networking features to “keep the party going” after the party’s over, such as online photo sharing, video sharing, slideshows, story sharing, message boards and widgets. The company was founded by CEO Stephen Weir and his advisor, Jonny Hendriksen. Weir tells VentureBeat the company has been self-funded to date with about $80,000 in capital. The company is looking to do a seed round of up to $300,000 in the next three months to get to proof of concept stage, at which point it may seek a Series A. However, it enters a very crowded sector, filled with the likes of Socializr, Renkoo, Skobee, MingleNow and the related events sites such as Going.com.
On Wednesday morning at an invitation-only breakfast, cell phone maker Nokia says it will introduce a new N series handheld computer that promises to marry the mobility of a multimedia device with the Internet (yes, this is frustratingly vague, but we don’t know anything else). Other handheld computers in N Series family combine many of the features of an Apple iPhone – such as Internet browsing, photos, videos, games and maps, without the phone part.
Userplane, which provides hosted communications applications such as chat, messaging and voice recording for online communities, plans to announce Userplane Feeds, a collection of free APIs so that developers can build the applications into their own sites.
On Friday, Radar Networks’ CEO Nova Spivack, who in a previous life founded EarthWeb, will unveil and name the company’s first Semantic Web application, most likely an online personal data organizer, according to a July feature in the recently shuttered Business 2.0 magazine. The San Francisco company, which is backed by Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital, Leapfrog Ventures and angel investors, has been in stealth for a few years, yet has been been aggressively promoting its business, technology and ideas for the Semantic Web for quite a while (this is one of those “pseudo stealth” companies, promoting itself in public relations pitches to media outlets, even as it feigns secrecy). Friday’s anticipated announcement will also mark the start of the private beta for the not-so-secret service. In addition to naming its first product, the company says it will announce a strategic partnership. Stay tuned for later this week when VentureBeat’s Chris Morrison reports on Radar Networks’ product launch and tells us if the company’s first Semantic Web application is ready for prime time.
We’ve noticed a couple passes listed for sale on Craigslist here and here, or you can always crash the conference and join the unofficial Web 2.0 Summit LobbyCon unconference in the lobby of the Palace hotel.
Mark Coker is a contributing writer for VentureBeat. He’s founder of Dovetail Public Relations, a Silicon Valley technology marketing firm. He has no clients among the companies mentioned in the story, nor among their competitors. More on Mark at http://www.linkedin.com/in/markcoker