web 2.0 expo – Stay N Alive

Utah Startup Series: Bungee Labs

logo_bungeelabs-flat_md.png(Sorry it’s been awhile since my last blog – it took me several days to figure out how to get my Flip video imported and exported to and from iMovie. To make a long story short, if you want to export from iMovie and have both picture and sound, you must import your source as something other than MP4 or AVI.)

This is the first article in my “Utah Startup Series“. Starting today I will be circling Utah to find the best and most innovative startups in Utah, and featuring them here on Stay N’ Alive. If you have a hot startup (early to even late stage) and would like to demo for me what your product can do, please contact me – if I have the time and like your idea I’d love to come out and take a look at it!

While at Web 2.0 Expo I had the opportunity to meet with Bungee Labs, a local, well funded Utah company who had “Platform as a Service” down before Google even started thinking about their App Engine. In our meeting they demoed their Bungee Connect “IDE” (written entirely on the web). You can see the video below.

My thoughts – you have to see this stuff in person to understand the full ramifications of what they’re doing. One of the cool things about their service vs. Google’s is they actually integrate with Amazon’s EC2 service (which was announced during Web 2.0 Expo), so you can actually host your other stuff on Amazon’s EC2 platform with the same licensing as your Bungee Connect account. Their licensing structure is very appealing as well – Bungee only charges based on the number of registered user sessions using their platform, not traffic, not bandwidth. If I understand correctly, it’s all based on the number of users actively using your application on their platform. For Facebook and Social Media developers this is appealing, as most Applications are rated based on Application use, not number of users or traffic. With Bungee you only pay for the users that actively use your system.

Overall, the guys at Bungee were Rockstars at Web 2.0 Expo. With their announcements about EC2 integration, flexible licensing terms, features on TechCrunch, EWeek magazine, and a dozen other publications, you can bet Google has a watchful eye on them. Ironically, it was interesting seeing Kevin Marx, head guy over the OpenSocial (and other) efforts at their party on Thursday evening.

Bungee will be presenting at our Social Media Developers meeting this coming Tuesday, showing us a simple “Hello World” example on how to build a Facebook App using their platform. Follow me on Twitter and if we can stream it live you can watch it via my Ustream channel. After demo I may just write my own Facebook App to try out their system – it should be interesting.

Bungee Connect Demo – Web 2.0 Expo from Jesse Stay on Vimeo.

Live Blogging the Web 2.0 Expo: Matt Mullenweg of WordPress

wordpress.pngMatt Mullenweg, a fellow Houstonian and all around cool guy spoke to us today at Web 2.0 Expo about WordPress’s present and future. Some features from the talk:

WordPress has 2 main products, Akismet, and WordPress.com. Akismet is solving many of the Spam problems Matt Cutts from Google talked about earlier, and WordPress.com handles much of the “Software as a Service” suggestion Matt Cutts gave.

WordPress.com has had a tremendous Growth. At their start, they had just 2 million uniques. This year, WordPress.com is at 168 million unique visitors, all with only 20 employees.

Some featured WordPress.com blogs that Matt Mullenweg likes:

  • NY Times
  • Flickr Blog
  • Fail blog
  • I can haz cheeseburger

99.999% of WordPress.com blogs get less than 10k pages/day. They are all on a different model.

Matt had some great announcements. He mentioned that 40-45% of their traffic is going to permalink pages. Therefore they are introducing a new feature they call “(Possibly) Related Posts”. With this, WordPress.com lists relevent links below each blog post, the first being links from your blog. Secondly, posts from the 300 million blogs hosted on WordPress.com are displayed, then mainstream news sites are displayed – these are all opt-out. Matt mentioned they partnered and worked with the company Sphere to do this.

The coolest announcement of Matt’s was the announcement of a new theme called Monotone. Monotone automatically adapts its color scheme to the photos uploaded to to WordPress. The idea is to adapt changes to the look and feel of your website based on what you’re doing, and every page changes as you move through the site – it was actually quite beautiful, and knowing that Matt is a very good Photographer I expect to see some cool things from that theme. I’m told Monotone will be released some time soon.

Live Blogging the Web 2.0 Expo: Mark Andreeson #web20expo

Picture 8.pngMark Andreesen, creator of Mosaic and founder of Ning.com, spoke to us in an interview today at the Web 2.0 Expo, and shared with us some of his thoughts on the growing up of the web, and what he thinks of the future. As I mentioned earlier, one interesting thing he mentioned was plans for Facebook Platform Integration, something I am very excited for. Here are the highlights.

What were your expectations when you released Mosaic?: “Hype at the time was interactive TV. Mosaic and internet technologies were kind of the renegade of the time – no one believed it could make money.”

At what point did you think this was going to change the game?: “It wasn’t until after Netscape was started that Mark started thinking it was going to be a phenomenon.”

Many of the TV and media companies mentioned are now extremely important players in this space. What do you make of those guys now?: “By and large most of the major media companies are still unprepared for the shift. Many of the newspaper companies are in an absolute free-fall. There is still a story that has yet to be written. These companies are uneasy about a commodotized future. That said, things are still developing and are still unknown.”

In 1995 Microsoft realized what you were doing was competitive and decided to launch Internet Explorer for Free – what is your thought of that?: “Well, in fact they used my code. If you go into the credits you’ll see the name of Mosaic from University of Illinois in there.”

Looking at the legacy of the browser, what is it you like and what do you wish evolved differently?: “It has turned out far better than anyone ever thought. The big surprise has been how many of the ideas that we had that we thought were experiments have lasted. One example being javascript – we created something that looked like Java because it was familiar to people at the time. Another example was cookies – we were writing an E-Commerce site for MCI, and needed a way to do it, so created the “cookie thing”. People are now seeing that as a threat to privacy, and I find that amusing. The other expiriment was the back and forward buttons – we were looking for a better way to navigate the internet, and it’s interesting to see that that method has stuck around.”

You said, “It’s nice to have this kind of money for the ‘coming of the nuclear winter'”. Can you tell me how to “build our bunkers”?: “There’s a huge irony for the industry where after the crash of the stock market in 2001 all the money got put into Real Estate, and now that’s crashing. On one hand all of this is happening in a remote area and doesn’t have a lot to do with us, but on the other hand, it all comes back around, and effects us in the end.”

What are the advertising models that might work?: “Your company has a strong advertising model to it – Ning is a social network play, but different – why is it not Facebook?: Ning is a company for people to create their own social networks. On average those networks are growing very quickly. Adding 1500 networks a day, and people are discovering that social networking is a central part of their lives.”

How do you feel about the idea of Data Portability?: “In general, pro. You can import data in and out of Ning as you want. There is not a lot of consumer demand for that type of thing however. The majority of supporters of Data Portability are early adopters.”

Google has laid out OpenSocial and you have ascribed to it. What does that matter to the users of Ning?: “It matters by default. Facebook did an amazing thing with rolling out the idea of a Social Networking Platform that users can take applications and apply them to their profiles, a powerful idea. The Facebook platform was specific to Facebook though, so a standard was needed which we joined.”

“Facebook is starting to get more open about the Platform – directionally that is the trend. I think a lot of people like us will be implementing both OpenSocial and Facebook.”

Me at Web 2.0 Expo

Picture 8.pngI’ll be at Web 2.0 Expo starting tomorrow, April 22 through Friday, April 25. This, in my opinion, is one of the conferences to be at this year, as I really feel we’re getting to a tipping point towards the evolution of Social Networks. Expect to hear a lot about Enterprise 2.0, Future of Mobile, and of course, the future of Social Networks. I’ll do my best to live-blog what I can on the Stay N’ Alive blog, OpensocialNow.com, and FacebookAdvice.com. I’ll be bringing along my wife’s Flip digital video camera so maybe I’ll even get some good video while I’m out there.

I’ll be bringing several signed copies (by both me and Jason) of “I’m on Facebook–Now What???” with me, which, if you’re a blogger and can convince me why I should give you a free copy (I love giveaways to your audience if you have a good audience) come see me. Or, if you already have a copy of the book I’m happy to sign copies while I’m there. I’ll be posting my whereabouts on Twitter so you should be able to find me. Also, look for me at the O’Reilly booth on Wednesday around 3pm. I’ll be also promoting my upcoming book, FBML Essentials and would love to meet you!

If you want to follow where I am, again, there’s Twitter, or feel free to check out my schedule here. Also, add me on Crowdvine!