Photo by Rent-a-moose
Defrag is now only six weeks away, and there’s an amazing lineup of speakers. I wanted to know more about some of them, so I turned to Google. This seems like it could be useful for everyone, so I’ve turned it into an unofficial personal ‘who’s who’ for the speakers at Defrag. This is strictly based on my own research, so let me know if I’ve got anything wrong in the comments, drop me a mail or give me a twit.
If you’re inspired to go by looking through this, use the code ‘pete1’ and you’ll get $200 off!
Daniela Barbosa – Dow Jones Client Solutions
Daniela works within Dow Jones, so she has direct access to lots of lovely premium data, and she’s a pioneer in applying modern semantic technologies to it all.
Mayank Bawa – Aster Data
Aster Data are a company I’ve been very interested in, since the work they do with massive databases to deal with business analytics is also very applicable to analyzing enormous email stores. Mayank is deeply technical, heavily involved in cutting-edge work on Aster’s MapReduce implementation.
Lane Becker – Get Satisfaction
Previously co-founding Adaptive Path, Lane’s now the president of Satisfaction Unlimited. Get Satisfaction is a glorious conglomeration of independent customer service tools, all of which can be adopted as the official forums by the companies involved. I love GetSatisfaction, there’s a big hole in the market where few companies have technically decent forums, and even fewer have the guts to run them without heavy moderation and obscure registration procedures.
Stowe Boyd – /Message
Stowe doesn’t need an introduction to anyone who’s had an interest in the world of social networking. He’s consistently been one of the smartest and most energetic advocates of social tools for more than just socializing. What makes his writing so valuable for me is that he’s got a firm grasp of the technical details as well as the big picture, which avoids a lot of the ‘everyone will have jet-packs’ hyperbole that can sprout once you start extrapolating without limits.
Buzz Bruggeman – Active Words
As the author of GoogleHotKeys, I’m obviously a bit biased, but I love being able to find shortcuts for frequent commands, whether they’re iPhone gestures or keystrokes. ActiveWords is a PC program that gives you hundreds of shortcuts to control almost any program you’re running in windows. Buzz is one of the two folks behind that, and I’ll be fascinated to hear more about the challenges of marketing something so useful but with a geeky perception to a mass audience.
Garrett Camp – StumbleUpon
Garrett was a co-founder and chief architect of StumbleUpon, the most successful company I know based on dealing with implicit data recommendations. It might be better to call it semi-implicit, since there’s an explicit recommendation step, rather than completely relying on passively analyzing the user’s history, but I’d love to see it tied in with something like the social history hack.
Ian Davis – Talis
CTO of Talis, Ian’s done lots of heavy lifting with RDF. Talis is a fascinating company, with decades of experience dealing with semantic data within libraries, but now pushing into the web world with new tools based on that knowledge.
William Duggan – Columbia Business School
William is an expert on strategy and intuition, teaching and consulting for the last 20 years, with several recent books on the subject too. I’ll be fascinated to see what he thinks of what we’re trying to do to turn the Defrag topics into concrete tools.
Esther Dyson – EDventure
One of the big guns in the digital world, Esther’s done everything from running ICANN to venture investing to journalism. She’s one of the folks connecting Defrag to the late lamented PC Forum, which explains part of the spirit of the conference.
Ben Finkel – Fluther
I don’t know much about Ben, but Fluther is a very active question and answer community site. My favorite current query is "Why does Gary, Indiana smell so horrible?"
Aaron Fulkerson – Mindtouch
With MindTouch’s success in the enterprise wiki space, Aaron should have a lot of war stories to share with the rest of us who are interested in moving our innovations into large companies.
Ian Glazer – Burton Group
Ian’s an analyst at the Burton Group research service, with a focus on the techie side of privacy and identity. I’d be curious to know what he thinks of the recent explorations of browser history analysis.
Jon Gosier – Appfrica
I’ve got a few personal connections with Africa, and I love reading through AllAfrica.com, so I’m deeply interested in Jon’s work enabling web development out there. He’s taken some concrete steps to provide the basic tools (web space, code repositories) that local entrepreneurs need to start building applications. There’s now so many ways to build services with almost no capital, and my long-term hope is that will unlock the creativity and energy of geeks all over the world.
Ilya Grigorik – aideRSS
Ilya’s a hardcore Ruby developer, and I can see why he’s such a database expert when I look at the heavy lifting aideRSS does to pull out interesting posts from all the noise of RSS feeds. With their PostRank, they’re one of the companies pioneering the use of implicit data to actually do something useful.
Dick Hardt – Sxipper
Dick gave one of the most entertaining talks at last years Defrag in the same vein as his OSCON classic, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he pulls out of his hat this time. It’s not just showmanship, he’s got some pretty deep thoughts on identity on the web, but his style actually helped my dense brain remember some of his insights.
Deva Hazarika – ClearContext
ClearContext is one of the most interesting tools for email, and Deva’s given a lot of thought to the future of email, so I’m looking forward to some good discussions of how to get people excited about it again.
Bruce Henry – Liquid Planner
As somebody who’s worked at the sharp end of managing, Bruce is well qualified to build the LiquidPlanner online scheduling tool. As another tool being aimed at the business market, it will be good to hear more about what works and what doesn’t when you’re selling online tools to companies.
Jeff Herman – fuser
Fuser’s are working hard to unify all your email-like messages into a single view, pulling in social network communications as well as conventional mail. I will be interested to hear how they’re getting on using a Java applet for their service, I loved the potential of Java for my original SearchMash but the loading times were just too painful for me.
Rich Hoeg – Honeywell
Rich is a true renaissance nerd, with an infectious enthusiasm for everything engineering, from math packages to hardware. At Honeywell he’s drawing on his decades of training and eLearning experience to build collaboration solutions from low-cost components. As one of the people who’s out on the coal-face building tools for users, he’ll be able to tell us a lot about getting technology adopted.
Paul Kedrosky – Infectious Greed
One of the pioneers of internet business coverage, and a well-known blogger and TV commentator, Paul brings a long history of analyzing technology companies to the conference.
John Kembel – hivelive
I’ve spent some time evaluating HiveLive for integration with my own work, and it’s a fantastic off-the-shelf tool for building forums and community pages, with lots of customization possible. As another veteran of the fight to get modern technology into big companies, John will have a lot to offer.
Mark Koenig – Saugatuck Tech
Saugutuck focus on researching and advising companies about the latest technology changes, so Mark should be able to draw on that analysis to help us understand how to make progress in the areas Defrag focuses on.
Steve Larsen – Krugle
I really admire Krugle’s approach to selling their code search tools to large enterprises and enjoyed Steve’s contribution to Defrag last year. They’ve taken what could be quite an obscure offering, and highlighted the concrete benefits of adoption in very simple and compelling terms. It’s a trick I’m hoping to copy with my own services!
Chris Law – Aggregate Knowledge
Chris has spent a lot of time thinking about the implicit web, and put that to work with his Aggregate Knowledge discovery network, Pique. I’m really interested in discovery myself so I enjoy what Pique is up to, and think there’s a lot of mileage in using implicit data to handle recommendations rather than relying on explicit tools like Digg.
Sam Lawrence – jive
Sam is a true phenomenon on Twitter, and his blogs jam-packed with tasty nuggets of business wisdom. Jive Software are pushing social network solutions into big enterprises in a way nobody else is, so he’s got some hard-won insight into the joys and perils of ‘Enterprise 2.0’. Plus I want to meet the Enterprise Octopus, I hope he comes along too.
Charlene Li – Forrester
Charlene is an analyst at Forrester, focused on social software, so she’ll be able to bring her research experience to bear on the Defrag topics we’re all interested in. Don’t forget to check out her personal blog too, she’s got some great practical advice about things like networking.
Kevin Marks – Google
With a deep history in the technical end of the web world with companies like Technorati, Kevin’s most recently been the brains behind OpenSocial at Google. He made a fun unplanned appearance last Defrag to explain more about Google’s attempt to standardize the social networking world, I’m looking forward to seeing what surprises he has in store this time around.
Kevin Merritt – blist
Kevin has a history working with email software, so I hope I get a chance to pick his brains about where he thinks mail can go in the next few years. His current company has an admirably sharp focus on providing the best way of publishing lists online. I wish I could be that disciplined!
I’m very interested to hear more about the company Perry’s working on, he’s spent a lot of time thinking about IM and instant communications.
Derek Murphy – ISYS Software
ISYS have been delivering search tools to large companies for many years, so they obviously know a thing or two about creating something valuable for enterprise customers. They’ve recently begun to dig deeper into email searching, so I hope I get a chance to chat to Derek and learn more about what they’re offering.
Dan Neely – Networked Insights
Dan has spent some serious time working with customer and marketing data. With his company Networked Insights he’s trying to build better tools for connecting businesses with their customers.
Yori Nelken – TimeBridge
I know from talking to business customers that one of their most important tools is a good calendar. Outlook/Exchange works well within an organization, but it’s a nightmare if you want to expose any information outside of that circle of trust (eg so your spouse can see your schedule). TimeBridge does a fine job of offering an online schedule with a heavy focus on integrating different services, and they’re getting a lot of users, so I’ll look forward to hearing the secrets of their success from Yori.
Jeff Nolan – Newsgator
I keep nearly meeting Jeff, I’m hoping this time around we’ll finally see each other face to face! He’s been a driving force behind Newsgator’s success in the enterprise market, and keeps a lively blog going too.
Brian Oberkirch – Like it matters
Brian’s relentless focus on people who actually make tools is so refreshing. He’s got an inbuilt bias towards getting things done that shines through in all his writing, rather than obsessing about the short term hype or the search for The Next Big Thing that pervades a lot of tech commentary. He’s also good at knowing when to stop writing a blog post, so they get right to the point without waffling, something I admire but seldom manage.
Lou Paglia – Snagajob.com
I met Lou at the last Defrag conference where he got me thinking with some of his comments on the future of search and discovery. He’s moved on from Dow Jones, and is now working at SnagAJob, so I’ll be interested to hear how he’s applying what he knows about search to a job site.
JP Rangaswami – BT
I randomly ended up at a lunch table with JP last year, and it was one of the best moments of the conference for me. He’s spent a lot of time thinking about how to make BT work better, often in truly outside-the-box ways like opening up all his email to his reports as a learning tool. In a position where many would kick back and follow trends, he’s genuinely interested in experimenting and finding new tools. I hope I get a chance to talk to him about my own email work, I think it would be right up his street.
Kathleen Reidy – The 451 Group
Some of the most in-depth technology information available is from the 451 group, and Kathleen handles a lot of the enterprise information system analysis for them. With that background she should be bring some real quantitive knowledge to help ground some of our hand-waving speculation.
Deborah Schultz – deboraschultz.com
Deborah’s another deep thinker on how social software will impact businesses, working with P&G to set up their social media lab. Her blog’s byline is "Technology changes, people don’t" which I think is a great antidote to the techno-utopian undercurrent to a lot of web 2.0 evangelism. Not everybody wants to create content and be an active participant, and while technology can open the door to people who were truly blocked from expressing themselves before, things like blogs and wikis aren’t for everyone.
Chris Shipley – Guidewire Group
As the founder of DEMO, Chris has probably evaluated more software products than anyone, so it’ll be fascinating to see how she reacts to some of the new services that will be strutting their stuff at Defrag.
Tom Tague – Thomson Reuters Calais Initiative
I’ve been putting OpenCalais through its paces and I’ve been impressed. I’m looking forward to seeing Tom in person and talking some more.
Andraz Tori – Zemanta
Zemanta are another of the small band of companies building real-world tools using semantic technologies. They’ve got an easily understandable, focused and useful purpose, finding related content as you’re preparing a blog post, so I can understand why they won seedcamp, and look forward to seeing their progress.
Pete Warden – Mailana
I’ve already talked about how much I got out of last years Defrag and I’m even more excited to be speaking this year.
David Vanheukelom – IGLOO Software
Working in a similar market to Jive, David should have some good war stories about what it takes to sell social tools to big companies.
Jonathan Yarmis – AMR Research
AMR cater primarily to large, fairly staid companies, so it’s a sign of hope to see them so interested in social software. I’ll be very interested to find out what Jonathan’s hearing from their clients about what they want from the new technology.
Tim Young – Socialcast
SocialCast are reinventing enterprise messaging, and since my focus is on doing cool things with business email, it’ll be great to hear more about what they’re up to. They’re also fellow SoCal entrepreneurs, though Orange County so they’re on the other side of LA to me.