As you might recall, I did not attend last Spring's VON show that grew from a conviction that the venerable conference's best days were now behind it, and for content, it had gone off the tracks. I surely missed seeing all of my friends, and was quite sad about it all. I believed then, as I believe now, that the future of innovation is far from telephony carriers, and far from technologies such as IMS. So, in a fit of whatever, I boycotted the conference.
To his everlasting credit, Carl Ford rang me up and challenged me to help him understand where I thought the market was going, and if I would, help the community learn about the new opportunities provided by Web services architectures and mashups. I committed to him then, as I now share with you, that I would do my best to help bridge the worlds between my 20 year old, Ruby hacking, Adhearsion writing, mashed-out friends and those 50 year old, SS7 and CALEA scarred grey beards. (I'm growing one myself!) You see, my young friends really don't know how to make money with telephones... and my older friends really don't know the tremendous productivity and functionality gains now available because of Web 2.0 architectures, development approach and tools. Thus, I am taking an active part in next Fall's VON. I hope you do, too.
I'm moderating a panel on next-generation mashup applications, and we are running a fifth-track at the show to be run as an un-conference. Carl has assembled an excellent group to help him with this, and I'm so happy to have a chance to work with them. Our goal is to try to make the conference more than a business development show, where partnerships are made. If we do this right, we'll show you how important and revolutionary this new light-weight architecture model is for your career and your business. And maybe you'll say "Damn", just like we used to back in 2000.
It has to start with your participation, though. Call or write to me to tell me what you want to learn about - what you want to see. I have an idea for myself, and I'll share it here. I'm thinking that I am going to assemble two or three other hacks, and we'll make a date to go into a conference room for a few hours to put together an application using only open source or openly available tools that you simply couldn't do a just few years ago with a month and a hundred thousand dollars. You can see it when we're done, (what the hell, you can visit us as we write it, just bring wine, beer or pizza) and we'll show you how we did it. And then, with your imagination, you can go off and do the same. I want to show those unfamiliar that it's real, not just hype, and what better way than to just do it.
And to Jeff, Carl, and all those in his organization : I wish I was the one who picked up the phone and said "I would love to help you out here." Instead, they were the better men, and I'm glad of it.