Got back Friday night from Office 2.0 in San Francisco. The place felt like ground zero for web 2.0 and SaaS companies. The St. Regis was buzzing with people clamoring to find out primarily the impact social media and networking will have on enterprise. Also, product demonstrations from new startups and growing firms like Spanning Sync and Smartsheet. I just installed Spanning Sync on my computer, awesome tool! It syncs my Google calendar with Apple iCal and solves a problem I’ve been having with keeping my laptop up to date. And now that I got the iPhone (yeahhhh!), it is coming in even handier. Robert and I had the opportunity to briefly meet Om Malik of GigaOM up in the terrace. The guy has terrific sense of humor and I’m looking forward to taking him up on his invitation to meet over a beer soon.
On Wednesday, we had dinner with WordPress’s Matt Mullenweg and RevCube’s Dan Simoes at First Crush. Both great, down-to-earth guys who I really enjoyed spending time with. Lots going on in their respective businesses. Matt’s got many exciting things in the works for the WordPress users, so stay tuned. Back to the event, lots of positives with the event. On the downside, the lack of a paper agenda got annoying at times. I know it was an experiment in a ‘paper-less’ conference, hence the iPhones containing an agenda app from Etelos, but what the experiment should have proved is that technology can’t overpower and replace certain human needs in face-to-face settings, the same way an ebook can’t replace the feel of reading a physical one. I had a laugh with Mark Mader of Smartsheet over lunch where he relayed a story from earlier in the day when he asked someone for their business card after a conversation. The guy said he didn’t have any, “It’s a paperless conference”, he added. He tried to instruct Mark on how to use his iPhone to get the contact information, which seemed like much more trouble then it was worth, so no exchange occurred.
Technology is useful as long as it helps individuals bring balance in their life, rather than overpower it. People who use Facebook and Myspace to feel the ‘high’ of being well-connected or popular from their laptop, but still can’t navigate themselves through a real face-to-face, social setting is just one example of where technology can hurt. Just like to old cliche “life is all about balance”, you can modify it to these days to read “life is all about how you balance technology”.