Posts about davos07

Davos07: Gates, Wolfowitz, and the world

Next session is on scaling innovation in foreign aid with Bill Gates, Paul Wolfowitz, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman president elected in Africa, Bill Easterly ex of the World Bank, and Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek, as moderator.

Gates says that the amount spent on invested in foreign aid over the last n years is equivalent to the amount invested by venture capital: about $500 billion. He talks about aid and charity from the perspective of investment. He says that that saved about 100 million lives and that works out to $23,000 per life. Is that a lot? We spend a lot more to save lives in the West, he says. He also says that revolutions save lives.

Wolfowitz says the VC model works in some areas but not others. He says a small percentage of that U.S. aid went to Mobutu in Zaire and did more than just failed as an investment; it destroyed the country. But education is an example of strong investment; he points to South Korea. He also says the best-practices of good use of aid is consistent with the VC model. Wolfowitz says there is good news in Africa that doesn’t make news: a third of countries with a third of the population growing economically at 4 percent a year, a rate Europe would envy. Zakaria adds that that’s because in part of of high commodity prices.

Easterly says that when VC companies screw up, they die. Aid agencies don’t die. He goes on to criticize aid effort.

Gates gives a wonderfully passionate screed against that, arguing that it is wrong to judge aid based on GDP. Saving lives may not raise GDP but Gates says that saving lives in itself is of value. Asked about a Foreign Affairs story that warned of attention going heavily to sexy diseases, Gates says he is delighted that these diseases have become sexy.

Davos07: Chad Hurley on YouTube… on YouTube

Here’s Chad Hurley, founder of YouTube, in a session on — cough — user-generated content (see my post below) at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He talks about what YouTube is doing on copyright, installing the means to find violations and to help holders earn money (I think of this as ringtones gone mad… the fees to license just wedding-video music would be huge). He also says that he does intend to share money with video producers; he says he did not do that at first because he wanted to build a community of people who wanted to be there to be there and who would not just leave to the next best offer.

Davos07: User-generated content, aka our stuff

A session called “The user takes charage of content” begins with moderator Steve Adler, editor of Business Week, acknowledging the controversy over the session’s title. He shares my suggested alternative: “stuff from us.” Liveblogging….

Tom Glocer of Reuters said he doesn’t buy the professional/amateur line. (We’ll be left with no labels and no borders. And maybe that’s the point.) He says Reuters invented user-generated content 50 years ago aggregating trader information and then selling it back. Adler asks him whether professional journalists will lose their jobs as a result of this. “I think there’s only one type of journalism, which is good journalism…. I know some professional journalists who write crappy text and I know amateurs who write beautiful prose.” Asked whether there willl be fewer professional journalists, once again, Glocer says there will be fewer newspapers and that there will be other opportunities for people who want to do journalism to get paid for it.

Michael Wolf, ex-McKinsey and soon ex-MTV Networks, says that mashups work: “Clips make hits.” Online makes entertainment into something you can share. He says a deal with Google to put MTV video onto smaller sites creates a great deal more interest’ this “will only enhance your core business rather than hurting it.”

Rey Ramsey of One Economy, which tries to bring more people online, says he’s not hearing enough here about how to spread digital to more people.

Adler has been thinking a lot about the value of brands in various sessions and he asks Shelly Lazarus of Ogilvy & Mather about what happens to brands. She cautions about having a core to the brand but she also says that if your customers are making commercials for your products, “you got ’em.” She says there is a “confidence gap” in online, ugc in the ad industry because advertisers do not spend proprotionally to the audience. I would call this a “vision gap.” Or a “balls gap.”

Adler asks Yoo Huhn0Oh, CEO of Cyworld in Korea, about its unique business model: not subscription fees or mostly advertising but selling virtual products in its MySpace/Second-Life-hybrid service. It is spreading to a handful of more large countries.

Asked whether a network sould have started YouTube, Chad Hurley says he didn’t look at it that way: They saw a problem with video online and the difficulty in dealing with it. “We saw the power of simplifying a problem because we came from PayPal… In the video space, we saw a similar opportunity.”

Called upon and asked whether big media companies will be able to make this work, I say that we are in the third phase of what we have called interactivity:
1. Big media lets you talk here.
2. Big media asks you to give us stuff to enrich its sites.
3. Screw you, we people say, we own our stuff; send traffic and even money to us.
I give my standing illustration that Yahoo is the last old media company — because it’s centralized — while Google is distributed everywhere, enriching anyone. I say media companies must turn from owning content to enabling networks. So I turn the question around ask the guys on the platform whether big media companies can open up and enable networks.
Wolf says yes but in truth, he goes only halfway, enbracing getting his content out there distributed and remixed. And good for that. Call that 3a.
3b is having a relationship with the stuff we create and make and enriching us with attention, praise, promotion, money.

Asked by Jim Spanefeller of Forbes what he thinks of GoogleNews, Tom Glocer of Reuters says, “We like GoogleNews.” It gives them “ad revenue and page views we’d otherwise not have gotten.” Take that, Agence France Presse.

Someone in the room formerly known as the audience notes that one of the top-viewed clips on YouTube today is a film shown here in Davos yesterday with Israelis and Palestinians calling for peace now. Someone else complains that it takes too long to find the good stuff on YouTube. Hurley replies: “Now that we’re part of Google, finding videos will be a lot easier, that’s for sure.”

Jeff Clarke from Travelport says his attitude to people taking his stuff and putting it on their sites is, “the more the merrier.” He’s asked from the floor about a competitor taking all his stuff and making a business out of it. Clarke replies that he has made deals with just those scrapers. Information is commodified, he says, and so you have to find your differentiation elsewhere.

I’ll put up Chad Hurley video shortly with him saying that they will move to paying producers.

Meeting Mr. Dell

I was at the party at Davos, thrown by the German newsmagazine Focus and Hubert Burda (video soon) and whom should I meet but Michael Dell. I thought I’d need to try to corner him at the session on web 2.0 but he approached me.

Of course, it was all cordial. This is Davos. And it should have been cordial. I told Dell that I have seen his people improve impressively on the blog front, reaching out to bloggers with service problems and blogging openly.

He apologized for my bad computer. I brushed that off; old news. I told him that I never intended to start a riot. When I hit a wall with my computer, I just blew of steam on my blog. But once I did, I, too, learned how amazing the internet is at allowing people to coalesce.

He said that they have a lot of work to do and I agreed. Improving communication doesn’t necessary solve the underlying problems. But listening to your customers can only help and I said that blogs are amazing, for they are a new way to hear your customers. I started into my spiel about handing over control to your customers and pointed him to Treonauts as a place where customers sell the product, create the marketing message, provide customer service, and even help design the product. I didn’t start sermonizing, though. Nor did I dispute what he said about this case at CES. This is Davos. This was a party. And Steve Case came up at that moment.

I have a bigger bone to pick with Case, since I still own my damned Time Warner stock. Moments later, a writer for one of Time’s magazines walked by, saw Case, and growled, “There’s the guy who tanked my company.” But we didn’t say this to him. This is Davos. It was a party.

By the way, I told Dell that I have since bought a new Dell monitor for my son.

Davos07: Voices of the future

Next session: a panel of six of 60 young people from around the world who gathered in Greenwich to come up with a message from the future for the machers here. They set their priorities as education and “active global citizens.” They push the leaders to start a global fund for education, saying that the global funds to fight AIDS and malaria have made great impact. The fund would be focused on quality teacher training, decreasing absenteeism, and class size. I wonder how large such a fund would need to be to have an impact. Gordon Brown says the total cost of educating all the world’s children is about $10 billion — not much (because we pay teachers so poorly), so he argues that a fund can make a difference. The fund’s second focus would be on creating curriculum to nuture global citizens, arguing that this will save lives lost not to disease but to ignorance. Brown argues that if we do not support education, others may and we will see more extremist madrases teaching hatred and terrorism.

At Web 2.0, John Battelle brings in a panel of young people every year to talk about their media usage; it’s a feature that other confabs, such as the Online News Association, has added and it’s educational and eye-opening to hear directly from them. Unfortunately, this is not what WEF has done with this panel; once the young people are done reading their prepared spiels, we end up hearing only from the old guys on the panel. Next time, I hope they hand over the control of the stage to the young.