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glue conference

Weekend special

If 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 twitter

Why 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 dinners

One 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 Glue

I'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
    And that's just a start. Now, is it just me, or...wow? Don't just sit there, come DO SOMETHING.

    Why am I smiling?

    It seems that everywhere we look these days (the stock market, housing, the economy at large), things are rapidly spinning out of control and careening toward chaos. Why, then, am I sitting here on a Friday early morning smiling? Because I know that we'll come out the other side of this, and we'll do so innovating. Howard Lindzon's "too small to fail" phrase rings in my head (like some demented entrepreneurial battle-cry), and my gut just tells me -- in the midst of all of this macro-chaos, there are engineers with their heads down, building something really amazing. We're gathering a bunch of those folks together in May. So, while CNBC, CNN and every other news outlet drowns you in the constant din of "apocalypticism", some of us are quietly going back to work. We won't ask permission. We won't wait for government funds. We certainly don't depend on "the major players" in the tech ecosystem. And we could really care less about 2.0 anything. We do what humans do. We build. We create. We band together and separate apart and get back together in different re-combinations -- all because we're building something. We're acting, not sitting. Moving, not standing still. There's a calm quiet and a sense of joy and playfulness to it all. A little smirk on our faces. A swiftness to our step. You'll know us by our optimism. And in a few years, we'll probably having something really amazing to show you. I hope you'll choose to join us.

    Turning the Titanic

    I spent a few minutes this morning reading Reid Hoffman's piece in the Washington Post. It's kind of what you would expect from a startup/VC editorial - I mean, we're "all" (fred wilson, brad feld, reid hoffman) telling the administration essentially the same thing -- "let's get nimble, remove roadblocks and use incentives" --but Reid's piece also got me thinking. The internet (in the largest sense) really started this giant tsunami of networking together everything; of tying every little piece to every other little piece in some way (weak tie or not). That piece may be data, devices, applications, knowledge, insight, anything -- it doesn't matter -- everything is getting networked. I think in some way that has to account for the "unprecedented" nature of what's happening in our markets.  Things are so "networked" (where things are not only data, but financial instruments) that ripple effects now move across the entire swath of the global economy at a *pace* that has never before been seen. The results are public markets that are unable to process the resulting data (ie, that stop being "predictive" and become almost solely "reactive"), and the near paralysis of private credit and equity mechanisms. All of which begs the question: Is the answer to "un-network" things? To build more "firewalls" into the networking (ie, regulations)? The wisest thing my father ever said to me was: "the only way out is through." And that, I think is the case here as well. We cannot put the networking back in the box. The weird thing is that our networking isn't done yet. In other words, things are networked enough to effect every other thing, but not networked enough to get some of the larger nodes to the place of agility that the smaller nodes live in. Think of it this way: Huge sections of our economy and infrastructure are like the titanic. Even though they can see the iceberg, turning the ship can take a mile. What all of the smart VC-types that I know want to do is turn the economy into a fleet of jet skis that are "loosely coupled" together. Jet skis can resemble a flock of birds in their movement -- that is, they can move as one, in some concerted effort, but they can also adapt far more rapidly than any Titanic could. That idea is what is being advocated for everything form the Big 3 automakers, to banks, to wall street, to spurring innovation and the economy (my favorite phrase is Howard Lindzon's now famous "too small to fail"). And in many ways, that *sense* is what Glue is really about (from a technology/architecture standpoint). Now, to be sure, the ideas of agile programming and iterative models have been around for years. But the reality of moving all applications to the web and achieving the agility of purpose that can bring is still a pipe dream. Glue is focused on that. Forget arguing about whether or not "the cloud will come to pass" -- let the mainstream waste time with that already tired old argument. The real heat of the discussion is about ASSUMING all of that has occurred and moving quickly to talk about interoperability, integration, pervasive context, federated security models, etc. In other words, GET PAST the titanic topics (will cloud succeed?), stop being YACCE (yet another cloud computing event), and start thinking in terms of "loosely coupled jet skis" (yes, I know I've stretched that imagery as far as I can). Am I seeing everything through my own colored glasses? Maybe. But I don't think I'm wrong about the effect of networking everything (on our economy, information, infrastructure), and I don't think I'm wrong about the self-evident nature of the solution (Glue-ish stuff). I hope you'll join us in the discussion.

    The Detroit Tidbit

    For some reason, a link caught my eye this morning that highlighted all of the homes you can buy in Detroit for $1,000.00 (or under). Yep, you read that correctly - a grand for a house. At first I thought, "they must be shacks." I was wrong. They're brick houses. For a grand. WHAT?!?! Set aside what neighborhood they're in, or the fact that, well, Detroit probably isn't on most people's "must live there" list. My brain immediately jumped to - "one house! why don't I buy 10 houses!?!" And then, "wait, do you think I can buy 10 houses right next to each other and own a whole block?" Pretty soon, I had a little twitter conversation going, and ideas were flying around about getting a group of 10-15 people together and purchasing a huge portion of Detroit (like a 12 square block area). Next, I was thinking that if I was the CEO of Tesla Motors, I'd move my whole operation to Detroit, and give every Sr. manager a "10-home" bonus. I mean, seriously, could you "innovate" a whole city just by buying insanely cheap real estate, bringing people with you and starting something cool? If you and 10 other people owned 12 square blocks, what kind of weird wifi networking experiments could you set up? Could you automate your 12 blocks via twitter? Think of the possibilities! Think of the sheer potential! You're probably wondering what this has to do with Glue. I'm glad you asked. Often, in the midst of times like these, we stumble upon what looks like some interesting tidbit. And sometimes, that "tidbit" turns out to be a diamond in the rough. And every now and then, you wake up 5 years from now wondering how you stumbled into such amazing innovation -- and it turns out it came from that tidbit. The point is that while the world is going through it's current collective convulsions, there is still plenty of room for innovation and moving the "glue space" forward. We're going to do just that. Some ideas will be radical. Some crazy. Some brilliant. But there are going to be plenty of them. Make sure you don't miss out on that little tidbit that could end up changing your entire life. Register today.

    Running on full

    As I work through the Glue agenda, I'm finding myself in a position of having WAY too much to cover and not enough room. I don't mean that in a "i've got to cram my sponsor's product pitches onto the agenda" sense; I mean it in a "there is just too much to cover -- purely topically" sense. Here's what I'm looking at (both on the agenda and floating around in my head): 1. This whole area of app development frameworks/environments. I mean everything from Azure to Google App Engine to Tweetapp (a framework for developing twitter apps *on* Google app engine) to Morph Labs to you name it. 2. App hosting, measuring, reporting, governance, etc . Here I mean everything from cloud hosting to things like Engine Yard's vertebra stuff (hey - engine yard - call me back!), to Appistry's stuff to the myriad other cloud offerings out there (SOASTA, New Relic, etc) -- and, by the way, there is virtually NO overlap in offerings. 3. The whole API - REST universe. And, man, is this one big! From leveraging API infrastructure (best buy) to the shifting landscape of SOA to WOA (and REST) to aggregating and standardizing APIs - yikes. 4. Data Portability/Continuity. Coghead anyone? There are *serious* interop issues in the Glue universe that aren't so much about interop-in (interacting) as interop-out (getting your stuff if something dies). 5. Virtualization, Context, Identity, Social Data -- the list seems endless. 6. Did I mention things like webhooks, cloud databases, or evolving client-server models? When I start a new conference, it's always nice to have a big, chunky problem-set, so that you know you'll have something with legs to run. The trick is to put fences down very carefully (if at all) early on. Glue's problem-set revolves around the massive shift happening as all of our applications move to the web as platform -- and I guess I've reached the point where I'm seeing just how BIG big is. The truth is, I've got enough content to go "5-wide" (5 concurrent sessions at a time). That won't happen this year, so some things won't make the cut. But for Glue 2010- watch out. Hey look - I know it's tough out there, and I know the vibe in a lot of places is emphasizing the complete lack of innovation. But if you dig in to what developers are actually working on right now, the innovation is off the charts. Don't sit on your hands at home; don't let 'em get ya down; come join us.

    Getting the worm

    [sidenote: Has it really been weeks since I've posted here? Apologies. Please remember that those of you that care can find me on Twitter -- either @gluecon (the official twitter stream) or @defrag (which contains my random, non-sensical ramblings). ] I was thinking this morning -- when someone says something about "getting the worm," my brain flashes back to one night of particularly bad decision-making with a friend in Georgia that included a bottle of mezcal and the quest for the insect at the bottom --- however, for most people in the conference business, "getting the worm," more likely triggers thoughts of "early bird pricing." This post, then, is not about mezcal, but rather about the early bird discount for Glue. Namely, that it's set to expire on the 28th -- after which the price will go from $395 to $495. Yeah, it's only 100 bucks, and yea, that still makes Glue the best conference deal you'll find this spring (check around) -- but it's still 100 bucks you can save, and so you should. If you're wondering why you should come, just have a look at the agenda. And, then remember that we're not done yet. Register today folks; get the worm.

    A down day leads to an agenda refresh

    I'm a bit under the weather today, so I ended canceling my Monday phone calls (which makes Tueday through Thursday hellish, of course). That left me with some "easy time" to work on the Glue agenda - something which I get more excited about every day. Here are some updates: 1. In case you missed it earlier David Heinemeier Hansson and Mitch Kapor were announced as Keynote speakers. 2. To that I've now added Josh Elman (of the Facebook Platform group) and Bob Frankston (co-creator of VisiCalc). Facebook's recent movements around "openness" should provide a pretty fertile foundation for Josh talking about what "gluing together the web" looks like from Facebook's perspective, and Bob (who is just flat out, scary smart) will be addressing how we need to re-think some of our assumptions around bindings, platforms and achieving the structures of simplicity needed for innovation. 3. Keynotes are always fun to ooh and ahhh over, but when you really start to dig into Glue's agenda, things get truly glorious (hat tip to Will Ferrell). Sidenote: I'm now writing about stuff that, for the most part, hasn't even been updated on the agenda page yet. 4. Pam Dingle, of Nulli Secundus (and one of the smartest "identity people" I know) is going to be leading a workshop session on the "domain-less" enterprise. That is, "how far could a company get today, with the tools and protocols available to them, towards creating a business where employees could access exactly the same work environment from any computer in any location, without any concept of being inside or outside a network perimeter. " The session will take a look at what's available in the way of distributed identity tools, and specifically show how to do this with Microsoft's beta Geneva set of tools, as well as a "how to" with open source tools. [sidenote: those of you that have seen me write about optimism in the past know that I love Pam's blog's name.] 5. A session around Data Portability will feature Daniela Barbosa and Chris Saad from the Data Portability Working Group and Ben Metcalfe with a perspective of what he thinks is right and wrong about data portability. I think this discussion is *vital* to the overall Glue picture, and I'm hoping this talk (in particular) draws a bunch of the cloud computing crowd. 6. There's a session coming together around Cloud database standards. The whole idea actually comes from a post that Albert Wenger wrote, and the session is meant to tease out some of the threads around what I'm finding to be a REALLY important topic to this whole "glue mess" (databases, that is). We've enlisted Alex Iskold of Adaptive Blue so far (Alex made a key design decision around SimpleDB), and I've got invites out to some Google folks, etc. [sidenote: I applaud Alex's product naming choice. ] 7. There are a whole bunch of sessions coming together around web app description languages (needed?), cloud interoperability on a grand scale (possible?), the open social stack, and how RESful APIs play into rich internet applications....and so much more. 8. I'm also adding some key moderators/discussion leaders -- notably, Jeff Nolan and Stewart Alsop (of Alsop Louie Partners). 9. Don't forget all of the already announced stuff around Web Oriented Archiecture (Aaron Fulkerson), Harnessing the Cloud (Mike West of Saugatech Research), Leveraging API infrastructure (Kevin Matheny from Best Buy and Oren Michels from Mashery), Complex event processing across web apps (Mike Clymer), etc etc. 10. And the best part of all? The agenda isn't even CLOSE to finished, so the goodies are just gonna keep on rolling in. Topics yet to come: data integration and mashups, web app integration, glue metrics, gluing together devices and data, social networks and glue, the evolution of the client-server model, etc. I really hope you're gonna choose to join us for Gluecon. If you wanna get lost in the crowds and listen to some non-impactful stuff, go somewhere else. If you want intimacy, connections, and sessions and interactions with impact, come to Glue. Seriously. (last sidenote: don't just take my word for it, ask Pete Warden or Sameer Patel, or Zoli Erdos about the kinds of interactions you can expect.)
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