TechCrunch leads Silicon Valley Web renaissance

I went to the TechCrunch event Friday night, celebrating the publication of Naked Conversations by Shel Israel and Robert Scoble. Many friends, acquaintances and new faces (pictures here).

I went to the TechCrunch event Friday night, celebrating the publication of Naked Conversations by Shel Israel and Robert Scoble.


Many friends, acquaintances and new faces (pictures here). The party atmosphere reminded me of the good old Internet days, overflowing with new ideas, optimism, and enthusiasm.


However, this time around the enthusiasm is more bridled and the exuberance is somewhat more rational (except in the case of Google). Many of startups flush with VC money have a semblance of a business model (mostly contextual ads), but few of them will make the cut.

Thanks to chief TechCruncher Mike Arrington and friends for providing the stimulus for this tech rennaisance, Web 2.0, read/write Web or whatever you want to call it.


The most prestigious guest was Doug Engelbart, the inventor of the mouse and progenitor of many of the ideas that ushered in the personal computer era.


Also in attendence, younger pioneer Dave Winer of outliners, XML-RPC/SOAP, RSS, OPML and blogging fame.


Besides the shmoozing, I was given a personal tour of Edgeio, the startup founded by TechCrunch Mike and Keith Teare (at left below). It was written up recently by Rob Hof and has been hyped in the blogosphere, but my tour--led by Matt Kaufman (right), Edgeio product manager, and Vidar Hokstad, director of engineering--of the beta site left me with the impression that they have come up with a simple and elegant twist on the listings/classified business. The service aggregates listings from RSS-based Web pages--post listings on your blog and Edgeio indexes and organizes them on its site.



Photo: Mike Arrington

Edgeio is targeting gearly adopters out of the gate, bloggers who have some familiarity with ping servers, claiming blogs, RSS and tagging, Kaufman told me. Users who register can also add more metadata to their listings and the company is building tagging plug-ins/widgets for adding more structure (Edgeio will support structured blogging standards as they emerge). Later on Edgeio will provide some tools and Web forms to help less sophisticated users take advantage of the system, Kaufman said. Edgeio doesn't plan to participate in transactions, Kaufman said, and will generate revenue via contextual ads, listing enhancement (bolding) fees and paid placement (a publisher/lister pays 25 cents to stay at the top of the heap) and auctions in the future as the service ramps up the number of listings.

Keith and Mike plan to launch the service at PC Forum next month. Will Edgeio be one of the Web 2.0 survivors? That's difficult to say, but at least Edgeio has a simple and clear proposition, which is far more than many of the Web 2.0 companies still fumbling for a definition, differentiation and a business model.