Keynote Address Highlights From The Last Day of Where 2.0 2011

I was able to cover the last day of the Where 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, California, for Slashgeo. Let me briefly share some highlights from a few of the keynote addresses that morning. DJ Patil gave a short talk that emphasized the “power of proximity”. He explained that consumer's aren't just interested in a particular location, but a location in context. For example: We didn't just care about the Santa Clara Convention Center, but about the convention center during the Where 2.0 Conference. The event was an important part of the “proximity” or context for the concept of “Location =Santa Clara Convention Center”.


Diane Eisnor (Waze) explained how her company is using the concepts from video game mechanics to inspire user contributions. This included providing opportunities for “play” and allow regular contributors to gain authority in the user community. This reminded me of a TED video on the same topic that I viewed recently entitled "7 Ways Games Reward The Brain". She also warned that the power of “play” can detract value it is over done or overpowering. She offered as an example a Waze screen that was so full of reward icons that you couldn't see the underlying routes displayed on the map.


Jack Abraham (ebay) provided predictions of how commerce will change in the near future. In his “bits verus atoms” themed talk he predicted that every product that could be transformed to digital format and delivered via the web would be soon, if it wasn't already. However, there are a a large group of physical products that must still be physically transferred to the consumer. Consumers will begin to use the web in some form before purchasing these physical products. An example would be my use of my cell phone to find a place to eat dinner before the drive home after the conference. This segment of the retail market, which isn't purely online sales and delivery but isn't purely offline either, will be a growing market segment. Location will play a roll in this in-between market because physical goods will need to be provided to the consumer. One example will be linking local store inventory to consumer searches for products on their mobile devices.


Kellan Elliott-McCrea (Etsy) had a short but spunky talk on the need to solve a simple problem simply. The problem being solved: Filtering a location text box on a web form using the submitter's IP address.


The last, and in my opinion, most thought-provoking keynote address on the last day of Where 2.0 was given by the social scientist Genevieve Bell (Intel). She studies how human beings around the world interact with computers and other technology. She shared several examples of how different cultures around the world think about location, including a hilarious example of the internet as a destination in her native Autstralia. If you watch no other keynote address videos from this last day of Where 2.0, watch this one. I found it forcing me to reevaluate how I think about simple concepts related to location. This type of inspiration and intellectual challenge is what makes conference's like Where 2.0 worth the trip.


The Sunburned Surveyor