Posts about dld08

DLD: Creativity

A good session on creativity is underway, starting with author Paulo Coelho, who is also optimistic about the impact of the internet on writing. He talks about how the internet is changing language: we write “4” for “for.” “Aren’t you afraid the internet is going to destroy the langauge?” he asks himself. “Well, no, a language is a living thing.”

Then he talks about copyright and says the horse is long out of the barn. He put up a book on the internet that has passed 100 million downloads. Yes, I got the number right. He loves alledged pirates who spread his books because it gives him readers and, he says, improves sales.

But the most important impact of the internet on his creation is social. “For the first time in my life i can interact with my readers,” he gloats.

He blogs and Flickrs and Facebooks — more than Martha Stewart, I’ll wager — and is working on a collaborative movie made with the public with Burda.

He tells a story about the party he throws once a year in an out-of-the-way place in Spain and how he decided to invite 10 blog readers, the first 10 to respond to his blogged invitation. They responded from all around the world. He got nervous that they’d think he was supposed to fly them in. No, they wanted to fly themselves in, one from Japan, another an American soldier in Iraq. He had a great time and is doing it again.

You see, he explains, 100 million readers are a mere abstraction when you sit and write and create. The internet lets him meet and speak with these people eye-to-eye. That makes any change in language or fear of copyright well worth it.

DLD: Martha sells

Martha Stewart just got the Aenne Burda award (previously won by Marissa Meyer of Google and Caterina Fake of Flickr) and now she’s doing her favorite shtick: She opens up her gadget bag, a large gadget bag, with poor Tyler Brûlé playing her Vanna White. Bizarre. Everything is in plastic bags. Is Martha going Tupperware in her advanced years?

Now she talks about her blog. “The blog is a really, really important part of my business. People think of me as their friend. And I am their friend…. I will be blogging about this trip and I have a lot to tell my friends.”

She says, however, that she doesn’t respond to her friends who are on Facebook. “I’m sorry,” she snips.

“I’m as plugged in about as many executive in America… I’ve been in Bill Gates’ bedroom and I see how he’s plugged-in.”

It’s fairly apparent that Martha hijacked the agenda. She was scheduled for a half-hour conversation with Brûlé but went on for longer on her own and then Brûlé got to ask his own questions, whichi included a bizarre beginning about people’s pictures in magazines looking like crap.

LATER: Finally got a video snippet up:

DLD: Change

The first panel is filled with old titans — Hubert Burda, Joseph Vardi, Martin Sorrell, Richard Wurman, Joe Schoendorf with moderator David Kirkpatrick — and it is good to hear them embrace change and optimism about its impact.

Schoendorf says that soon there will be more video cameras on earth than people. Burda talks about all the ways people have to broadcast that video. At this moment, Jason Calacanis is here trying to do so from his cell phone.
Right now, Jason Ca

Sorrell is worried. He’s not worried about recession; he says we shouldn’t fret about that until at least 2009. He is worried about the fate of Western Europe (though he’s rooting for the conservative leaders Merkel and Sarkozy to succeed); this is why he’s betting WPP’s fate on Asia. If he were 25 and from Western Europe, he says, he’d leave. He’s worried about some clever PhD inventing the next company, the next Google, but he’s worried that won’t be in Palo Alto but will be in Bangalore. Burda adds that media is not just content but is also software — “We still believe that a website with 40 editors is better than a web site with 20 editors” and we don’t pay enough attention to the software, he says. So he worried that European PhDs don’t invent algorithms. (It’s refreshing for me, an American, to hear so much discussion of Europe; American conferences are always so American-centric.)

Asked, though about the U.S. — and whether we’re headed down — Sorrell says it is always a mistake to underestimate Americans. He says that years ago, we thought Japan would dominate but “post-Reagan” America rose. We know what kind of leaders he likes. “Don’t underestimate the resourcefulness of Americans and their entrepreneurial culture,” he says.

Sorrell talks about the N11, the next countries after China, India, and the usual crowd. I agree: I wonder whether we’ll see a China bubble because everybody but everybody is betting futures on it and I doubt — given their amoral economy that poisons their people, American customers and pets, and their environment — whether they are ready for the investment.

Is Google too powerful? Burda responds that he was on a ski lift and asked the trainer how his business is. Great, the long-haired guy says. Why? Google. Right: more optimism about change. Google enables businesses. “Google has discovered millions and millions of new customers.” Amen. “If you sell ad pages two years from now you will make a long face. But you have to sell around the brand and around the brand will be very interesting opportunities for platforming.” Schoendorf says Google does not have a commanding market share of global advertising (a bit of a red herring; you can’t say that about the US and UK and Europe) so it is not a threat.

The social corporation

Burda is the most social corporation I know. That’s no doubt because its chairman, Huburt Burda, loves people and playing host to them. I’ve been to dinners and parties from New York to Davos where he and his lieutenants bring together incredibly diverse and interesting bunches of people. They’ve just brought 1,000 people to Munich for their conference. I’ve seen that being a gracious host pay dividends to Burda. They bring in new ideas and talent and relationships. Most companies I know are not at all social. They live in their own buildings and worlds. Not just people are becoming more social. Companies must become social.


I’m at the DLD (Digital Life Design) conference in Munich and it is packed, packed, packed, so I came downstairs to an overflow room to watch the opening sessions as if on TV. I’ll be blogging bits.