There's not a single business model, and there's not a single type of electronic content. There are really a lot of opportunities and a lot of options and we just have to discover all of them.
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Conferences are really like parties, and an A-list party is one where A-list people are in attendance. You figure out who are the really important people to invite and get them to show up as speakers or as guests. Then everybody wants to be there. If you don't know who the important people are, you shouldn't be doing a conference.
Everybody who goes into government gets somewhat chewed up in the process. Being a senior appointee is like being at a startup, only more so: You run into opposition from the entrenched oligopoly of contractors whose business model is to extract as much money from government as possible for doing as little as possible.
I find that creative streak I think often leads in programmers to be good predictors of where culture as a whole is going to go. And that is where I think I've tried over the years to in some ways use my customers as a filter or a predictor of where technology as a whole is going to go. Or where the world as a whole is going to go.
I guess I would just say that in general, one of my weaknesses is that I love everything. There's too much of everything to keep up with it all. I get bored with Silicon Valley technology a lot. I've always had much more of a draw to the people who are doing things for love than the people who are doing things for money.
One of the big changes at the heart of Web 2.0 is the shift from the creation of software artifacts, which is what the PC revolution was about, to the creation of software services. These are services that ultimately, if they are successful, will require competencies of operation, of scale, and the like.
The thing we should all be looking for are people who want to make a difference. I'm a big believer in the Silicon Valley religion of the power of markets. But I also believe in our obligation to give back, and to give back in the way we do business, to create more value than we capture for ourselves.
There are a lot of lousy conferences that pander to sponsors. They end up creating an opportunity for boring speakers who are paid shills for their companies. We still get a few of those, but we really try to police it. Think about who the audience is and what works for them, and deliver high-quality content.
We want to show how technology can be applied to fix our problems. We need to celebrate not just success but to celebrate people who make a difference. It starts with people who do things for love, with no expectation of return. Some of that turns into enormous financial success, and then some of it goes back into doing it for love.