Why you should attend Internet Week New York 2010

David-Michel Davies thinks you should come to this year's Internet Week NY. With more than 150 events, from the semantic web to social media, he might be right.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

If you're in the New York City metropolitan area, David-Michel Davies wants you to come to Internet Week NY.

The chairman of the event, Davies says the week's more than 150 events have a little something for everyone, from news conferences by tech big shots like Hewlett Packard to panels on interactive advertising to the in-demand, sold-out Webutante Ball.

I spoke to Davies this afternoon about why he thinks ZDNet readers should, in the words of Bob Barker, "Come on down!"

ZDNet: For only being in its third year, this year's event schedule is pretty massive.

DMD: We're super excited. It's really shaping up to be a great week. There's more than 150 events happening throughout the city.

ZDNet: How did Internet Week come to be?

DMD: It came about because there's been a great Internet, tech and media community in New York for a long time. We wanted to celebrate it and promote it and let people know what a great place this is for Internet businesses.

When we first started, we knew that it would need to be a model that appealed to Internet professionals. So we made a completely open festival...that's really a big part of why it's taken off so quickly.

The first year, we had 50 or 60 events. Now we have almost 200, and the people attending has more than tripled.

ZDNet: Is Silicon Alley back?

DMD: New York has always been a great place for entrepreneurs. It started 500 years ago for people to come from all over the world to try something new. It's still a great place. This is a scene that's been percolating for a number of years. I'm proud we've had the opportunity to shine a bigger light on it all.

There are so many different industries here, and the Internet is such an important part of all of them. Here, it's part of fashion, advertising, real estate....all the businesses that make New York City the greatest city in the world.

ZDNet: The Internet is now ubiquitous. How do you curate a festival that applies to, well, everything?

DMD: The good thing about what we're doing is that it's an organic festival. Anyone can join.

If you're a company and you want to get involved, you have to do something. You have to go and get a community and market yourself. All the companies, they're all really participating. It's actually a great self-selection, in that way.

It's Yahoo and Google and IAC and Microsoft and HP, but also the grassroots organizations and universities.

There's really something for everybody. There's a food blogger conference. Yahoo's doing a PROVOKE conference focused on creative expression.

ZDNet: What about IT professionals? What's in it for them?

DMD: It's not all about Web 2.0 and social media. It's about all the things that go into this city.

It's a great time to get out of your shell and go check out that stuff. Seeing those faces behind the screens is a lot of fun. The Internet does a great job connecting people, but the world has never been connected more than it is today.

I think it's a great opportunity. For example, I'm super-interested in this food blogging conference. The PROVOKE summit will be really fun -- Yahoo basically assembled a bunch of different organizations that are doing really cool things with apps and art and what could be done in the future, such as an augmented reality shopping app. It's free, you just need to sign up to get into it.

The New York Tech Meetup is pretty geeky. Whether you're an IT guy or not, it's a great place to find out stuff.

ZDNet: Are there any other cities for which you've thought about doing this?

Well, we didn't start it because we were interested in 'Week,' we started it because we were interested in New York City.

But other cities with great tech communities: Singapore. London. Berlin.

Stateside? Los Angeles and San Francisco, of course. Austin.

ZDNet: As chairman, what's your role as the week unfolds?

DMD: I essentially try and enjoy the week like everybody else does. The only downside -- or upside -- is that we still have the Webby Awards [at the end]. So I still have quite a lot of work to do.

Internet Week NY 2010 kicks off on June 7 and runs until the 14th.

Highlighted events include: the Webby Awards, the Webutante Ball, the Future of Media conference, Mashable's Media Summit, IAB Innovation Days, GCA Savvian Digital Media Summit, Yahoo's Provoke Summit (with keynote by Ze Frank), the NY Tech Meetup, VC and Angel Investing Bootcamp, Nerd Nite, Microsoft's Expressions Studio 4 launch and several seminars on mastering social media.

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