Sticky platformsThis blog post about Leo Laporte's strained relationship with Twitter has me thinking this morning. The post outlines the "dangers" of twitter (using the front men of Laporte and Dave Winer) as a "closed" or "centralized" system. Now, as a twitter user (and fan), I completely get the closed and centralized argument, but I think it's a bit off. Since time immemorial, techies have talked about "lock-in," specifically the dangers of lock-in when it comes to platforms. Microsoft's past predatory behavior probably didn't help much, but I do think a lot of things have changed. These days platforms are expected to have APIs and to allow for some level of data portability. Those that don't are quickly ridiculed and often shamed into changing (at least somewhat). We can argue about whether Twitter is "too closed," but what we can't argue is that Twitter is a modern day version of the "walled garden" (circa AOL). We can't even argue that about Facebook. The old walled gardens were just that -- walled. As in closed. As in, you ain't getting an app in or info out until you have 7 meetings with our biz dev guy. [Later: a friend reminds me that the "7 meetings with a biz dev guy" practice is currently how LinkedIn operates, thus making LinkedIn the new AOL.] That's just not the case anymore. And the debate should change accordingly. It's no longer a matter of open or closed. It's a matter of how open (closed is off the table as an option). And once you enter the realm of "how open," you've now firmly stepped into the topical topography of Glue. Gluecon is really all about how open. Platforms can "get sticky." So can architectures (WOA vs. SOA) and clouds. The question is to what extent and through what mechanisms.The way we talk about these problems matters. Getting stuck in the "open vs. closed" platform debate just keeps us going in circles in 1998. To advance things we need to be hammering away at the "hows and whys" of making platforms, clouds and architectures sticky -- where "sticky" may mean interoperable, integrated, federated, whatever. Returning to the Laporte post, can we put the Twitter pandora back in the box? I doubt it (sorry laconica). But we can begin talking through the glue of platforms.All of which begs the logical question: what platform (and underlying cloud) discussions will we be having at Gluecon? Short answer: plenty (and note to vendors: we will discuss your platforms whether you're there or not - sorry). Long answer: Facebook, Salesforce.com, Azure (and the Geneva toolset), Twitter, Google, and even just the good ole interweb itself. Come help us move the discussion forward.
Some thoughts on valueI confess, I've never set out to be "the low cost leader" of conference producers. My personal sweet spot has always been higher-end events that, frankly, cost more to produce (and therefore cost more to attend). But when I first began to envision Glue, I knew it needed to be something different. Not that Glue wouldn't have all of the "infrastructure" things a good conference needs (wifi, food, A/V), but rather, that we were gonna cut some "frills" and bring the price tag down. My reason for thinking this was simple: I want code junkies, alpha geeks, startup guys to come to Glue. I also want the enterprise developer with no travel budget to be able to afford it. So, I knew (especially because I'm not an idiot, and knew some rough economic times were ahead) I had to get things into a price range that made "sense." Next step: what makes "sense?" Here's what I came to -- if I'm traveling to Glue, I'm figuring I can "do Gluecon" for about $1200. That's all-in -- airfare, hotel, registration and miscellaneous costs [airfare: ~$300; hotel: ~$400; glue registration: ~400 and $100 for cabs, etc]. And by "all-in," I mean all-in. If you sign up for a pre-conference dinner, your food the night before the conference starts is paid for, then your meals are covered through day 1 and 2 (with the exception of dinner day 1), then you're out. Okay - maybe if you have an extra beer or two with dinner, it's $1300 not $1200 -- but still... Then I compared the "Glue value" to --oh, let's say a large IT expo that has a cloud computing focus. What's it cost to walk in the door (minimum)? $1590. That's no airfare, no hotel, no anything -- $1590. Do I mean it when I say that Glue is the best tech conference "value" out there this spring? Hell yes. (Oh by the way, if you're in the Denver-Boulder, then the numbers are even better -- obviously.) So, back to my original point: Was my intent with Glue to be the "low cost leader?" Absolutely not. My intent with Glue was to put on an amazing event with a great agenda and wonderful people. And I think it will be that. The fact that you can "do glue" for the price you can do it for should make it a slam dunk decision for folks. And so far, that seems to be true -- as people keep on registering to come to Glue. I hope you'll join us. P.S. If you're looking to get the registration price down to $400, just follow me on twitter and you'll see codes fly by.
Exploding myths #1: The Cloud is "easy"Partner-in-crime Brad Feld has an interesting post up today entitled, "Cloud Computing Streak Marks." The post's impetus was some communication Brad received talking about how the "cloud" was going to be so easy "his mom could do it." The punchline:
Oh, and my mother is really smart, but I’m betting that “The solution is to override the base64encoder and set the authorization property manually OR potentially use the Apache Http client rather than the built-in JDK client” doesn’t mean much to her.Brad couldn't be more right. As I look at the Glue agenda, I'm struck by just how difficult it is to make all of this stuff be easy. And that's really the point: the goal of the cloud is to be easy, but achieving that goal probably means 5-7 years (YEARS!) of really hard stuff. JDKs, JSON, XMPP, WOA, REST, SAML, OAuth, XRD, and SimpleDB aren't easy (even if you know what the hell that all means)! Fortunately, <registration pitch> we're assembling a bunch of incredibly smart folks for you to talk with, work with, build with and chill with at Glue - so register today </registration pitch>.
Weekend specialIf you're reading this blog on a Friday, we've got a weekend special for you. Just use the code "wknd1" and return the current Gluecon price of $495 down to $395 (or early bird levels). But don't wait too long, as the code is only good for the next 10 registrations.
Why I love twitterWhy do I love twitter? Because by following me on twitter, you can get to know a bunch of my stupid idiosyncrasies (and vice versa). Follow @gluecon for "official updates" and @defrag if you feel like watching jeff nolan tease me about the possibility of spilling margaritas on a kindle 2.
Glue's pre-conference dinnersOne of highlights of last year's Defrag conference was the "pre-conference dinner" that Microsoft put on. Basically, the night before Defrag started, Microsoft took 25 people out for a meal to discuss the topic of "next generation email." By all accounts, it was a great, intimate way to get to know some of your conference mates *prior* to "starting" the conference. It worked so well that we're doing 4 pre-conference dinners for Glue. We're still ironing out exactly what the topics will be, but you can get a sense of that via the sponsors of the dinners: Gist, Microsoft Startup Zone, TripleTree, and Freepository. The format is simple -- dinner and conversation with like-minded folks (though I am, admittedly, pushing 1 of the sponsors to go for some pre-conference bowling). One of the things we try to do with both Glue and Defrag is to facilitate really intimate and in-depth conversations. Forget the passing five minutes in an expo hall (with the din of voices echoing off of the cement floor); let's dig in and really talk about something of importance. You're probably wondering how you can get into this kind of setting, right? Easy: 1) register for Glue and then 2) wait for the email we'll send out prior to the event asking you which dinner you'd like to attend. Please note: we do limit each dinner to 25 people, so you'll want to watch things carefully (last year's Defrag dinner "sold out" faster than a Hannah Montana concert). That said, if you're already registered, and you think you know which dinner you'll roughly be interested in, just drop me a note. Either way, make sure that you register and take advantage of the ability to foster real relationships via in-depth conversations.
The things you can learn at GlueI've been working on an agenda update, and in doing so, I found myself re-discovering all of the things that I can learn about a Glue. Here's a partial list:
How Facebook is opening up their platform Why REST is the foundation for web oriented architecture Where identity is heading, and why it has to NOT be about identity What SAML is How OpenID and OAuth are changing the way you build out services on the web Where I can implement data portability How I can begin thinking about integration in a post-cloud world How I can secure cloud infrastructure Why I should be thinking about web apps in terms of complex event processing How I can build a perimeter-less organization using Microsoft's Geneva beta How I can do the same thing using open source tools What the role of XMPP is when you're building out web apps Why I need to think about relational databases and the cloud What I can use to glue together data across apps and networks What "webhooks" are and why that matters How to manage and leverage my API How to build a "context aware" service Why I'd want to use edge-side includes How I can use XRDS Where I can go to start "gluing together" devices with my data Why I should alter my big picture thinking about innovation