I was at the annual conference of the organization called TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) at the Santa Clara Convention center last Friday and Saturday along with almost 3600 people. This event has grown immensely and draws all the VC’s, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, students, and IT professionals. Due to the focus on entrepreneurs, all kinds of law groups and bankers also flood the event seeking new business. Here are some highlights.
– this year’s theme was “Face of the New Entrepreneur” and appropriately the morning keynote started with Tim O’Reily talking about Web 2.0. Then he moderated a panel of young founders like Ashvin Navin of BitTorrent, Jaideep Singh of Spock, and the founder of Photobucket (being acquired by MySpace from News Corp.). It was a good panel focusing on elements of Web 2.o for their success – harnessing collective intelligence, asymmetric competition, and the science of the Network effect.
– Nobuyuki Idei, former CEO of Sony gave a very insightful talk on Sony’s history and growth. He commented that Japan suffers from the disease of ABC – Aging population, Bureaucracy, and Closed Society.
– Marc Benioff gave the keynote on the usual “end of software” and the wonderful benefits of SaaS – Software as a Service.
– Many parallel sessions saw all kinds of luminaries from the venture and corporate business. Vinod Khosla talked about his investments in clean energy like biofuels, solar. Vinod, as usual, gets very deep and passionate on any thing he takes up.
– Matt Cohler of Facebook gave a rousing talk on how Facebook becomes a real platform for social networking.
– Meg Whitman of eBay gave one of the best talks on eBay’s forward strategy of auction, payment, and communication, thus tying the three pieces – core business, PayPal, and Skype into one holistic entity. She came across as a real leader with a firm grip on her business.
– There was a 13 year old entrepreneur (written up in San Jose Mercury News) Ansu, with a booth to show off his new software game company and product. His goal is to raise $1M dollars before he graduates from middle school.
What was amazing is the number of people who traveled from many parts of the world to attend this event. During a special reception for charter members on Thursday, Laura Tyson (former economic chief adviser to Clinton) , professor at UC Berkeley, gave a great talk on the state of the world economy and the changing equation caused by the rapid rise of India and China into the economic scene.
I introduced and moderated a session for Zia Yousuf, executive VP at SAP in charge of the new partner ecosystem. Zia spoke of how SAP is moving ahead to create future solutions with a well orchestrated partner ecosystem and technology platforms such as SOA.
It was quite an event. What I loved the most was meeting many many friends and colleagues from past years and catching up.