Well I could not go to the Web 2.0 Summit but, thanks to my Irish connections, I did get to attend one interesting event on the periphery, a panel discussion called “Web 2.0 in Action”.
Tom Foremski moderated the discussion very effectively. Unlike many panel discussions, it did not devolve into just a series of presentations, but rather there was a lot of good back-and-forth discussion.
Jason Devitt, CEO of Skydeck, an interesting start-up, was very impressive in his analysis of the telco and Internet landscape. He thinks that the election results will be good for openness based on his the relative positions of Obama and McCain on net neutrality.
Tom Costello, CEO of Cuil, the insurgent web search start-up, added a lot of spice to the proceedings with digs at Google and Yahoo. He considered Google’s support for net neutrality as just a gambit for transferring a monopoly stranglehold from the telcos to Google. He also was cynical about companies support for open standards as a “scorched earth” policy for areas that they decide not to compete in, denying competitors any profits in those areas.
Richard Alfonsi, in charge of the AdSense program, gamely defended Google against Costello’s sniping.
Jonathon Dillon, in charge of partnerships and acquisitions at Yahoo, admitted that all their acquisition activity had stopped because of their own acquisition battle with Microsoft. But now, they were back in the market, particularly looking for companies that can help them in display advertising.