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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Panel on 'What's Next?' at Sun Microsystems, with Vint Cerf, Dan Scheinman, and others

Dropped in briefly on a panel discussion held at Sun Microsystems yesterday, as part of an executive conference organized by the Paley Center for Media (known until recently as the Museum of Television and Radio.) The panel was titled, 'What’s Next?' The whole event was closed to the media, save for this one panel.

The description read:

    What is the next killer app and where will it come from? This discussion will explore the innovative culture of Silicon Valley and how new technologies are nurtured and developed into new business ecosystems.

The cast of characters:

    Moderator: Greg Papadopoulos, CTO & EVP of Research and Development, Sun Microsystems
    Catalysts: Vinton Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist, Google
    Bradley Horowitz, VP of Advanced Development, Yahoo!
    Philip Rosedale, Founder and CEO, Linden Lab (Second Life)
    Daniel Scheinman, SVP and General Manager, Cisco Media Solutions Group

Some of the remarks that caught my ear...

Scheinman: "In the media business, the consumer is moving to the center of the world. We're moving from a Ptolmeic conception of the world to a Copernican conception -- and the sun is the user." Scheinman also suggested that we're moving toward an Internet where content that you're interested in "can find you," rather than requiring you to hunt for it.

Rosedale said Linden Labs is "building the most flexible and open platform that we can," allowing users to create great stuff.

Papadopoulos: "You've got to let people innovate on these platforms, sometimes in ways that may make you uncomfortable."

Cerf: "In the media world, when cost structures collapse, it's scary. Take peer-to-peer exchange. The music industry and movie industries got distressed. Then BitTorrent's technology got licensed by the studios, because it made it cheaper to distribute content. ...You have only two choices, as Darwin dictates: adapt or die. Adapting is really important."

Cerf: "There is a new participatory flavor to entertainment that we never really had before. I can't tell you how to take advantage of that. But people are going to want to have more involvement in the way they're entertained."

Cerf: "Technology won't render irreleavnt classical television, radio, movies, newspapers, or magazines -- but the environment in which they're going to be used will change -- and you'll have to adapt to that."

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