Web 2.0 Summit Starts Today

Last year at Web 2.0 Summit, one prominent tech executive responded to our focus on “Web meets World” — the way web technology is being used to attack the world’s problems — by saying “I don’t come to this conference to learn how to do good. I come to learn about trends that are going to affect my business.”

As it turns out, the “Web meets World” theme was in fact exactly on point with the trends that were going to affect his business. What Fred Wilson calls “the golden triangle” of Web meets World trends — mobile, social, and real-time — are at the heart of many of the cutting edge non-profit activities we showed last year, and they are very much at the heart of the for-profit companies following hard on their heels.

I’ve written a much longer paper on this subject – Web Squared: Web 2.0 Five Years On, and I won’t repeat that there. But that’s the theory. The practice is how entrepreneurs are taking advantage of these disruptive trends, how big companies are responding, and what kind of infrastructure changes we’ll need to support the future that is coming at us.

This year at the Web 2.0 Summit, we’ll be hearing how real-time, social, and mobile play out in the strategy of Google, Microsoft, Intel, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo!, News Corp, AOL, Comcast, Nokia, and even GE, but we’ll also be hearing from entrepreneurs, and yes, even some more innovative hackers who are helping birth the future away from the commercial limelight.

The official sessions are great, but it’s the hallway conversations that can really set your mind off in a new direction. For example, at a pre-Summit event last night, I had a fascinating conversation with Marc Pincus of Zynga last night about his belief that the third great internet business model has arrived. Fortunately, you don’t need to bump into Marc to hear what he thinks: he’s speaking this afternoon at 4:15. He’s put his ideas about social selling into practice, with 129 million users playing Zynga games each month, spending millions of dollars on virtual goods. But what’s most fascinating is how Marc sees the potential to apply social gaming principles to all of e-commerce. His riff on how what’s he’s learned applies to Amazon (and anyone else selling on the web) is worth the price of admission to the Summit.

I hope to see you at the Summit. John Battelle and I kick off the show with opening remarks at 2 pm at the Westin Market Street in San Francisco.

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