“Moderation is a fatal thing,” Oscar Wilde once quipped. I’m not sure if the Irish witticist was talking about conference panels in particular, but I do know this: The moderators we’ve recruited for MobileBeat 2010, VentureBeat’s conference on the mobile ecosystem, are killer.
It’s the year of the superphone, and who will profit is far from clear. So we’ve gotten journalists, analysts, and experienced industry hands to poke and prod our speakers and panelists. They’ll ask tough questions and bring out the industry’s debates while making sure everyone gets a turn to share their viewpoints.
Rich Wong of Accel Partners, who has helped supply the intellectual underpinnings of the MobileBeat conference since its beginning in 2008, kicks off the conference on Monday by quizzing Hewlett-Packard CTO Phil McKinney on that company’s plans to spread the superphone vision to all kinds of connected devices. RealNetworks chairman Rob Glaser, who first articulated the vision of post-smartphone superphones that serves as this year’s theme, will quiz investors about how they plan to profit from the movement.
Throughout the day, Rackspace celebrity blogger Robert Scoble and I will host the MobileBeat 2010 Startup Competition, an event which has launched companies like AdMob.
A host of great journalists are joining us as interviewers and moderators: AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher, the ultra-argumentative doyenne of the Silicon Valley press corps; the always-clever Brad Stone from the New York Times; Fortune’s Jon Fortt, the smoothest-talking gadgethead this side of the Mississippi; VentureBeat alumnus MG Siegler, now at TechCrunch; and digital pioneer Brian Morrissey of AdWeek. We recruited some for their depth on specific subjects, like Siegler’s obsession with location-based services and Morrissey’s insights into the mobile-advertising ecosystem, and others like Stone, Fortt, and Swisher for their wide view of the technology space and how it intersects with media.
VentureBeat editor-in-chief Matt Marshall and MobileBeat co-chair Matthäus Krzykowski are hosting the conference as well as interviewing key speakers and moderating panels, as are my VentureBeat colleagues Dean Takahashi and Anthony Ha. (Check the MobileBeat website for the complete agenda.)
The moderator’s role is a modest one: We’re not trying to be the stars of the show. That style is indeed fatal. But I know the ones we’ve recruited will help the speakers shine by making sure their message reaches the audience. That’s why my enthusiasm for watching this group in action next week is entirely unmoderated.