Technology, Mobile, Internet Business, Digital Design and Web 2.0 Conferences

Got the itch to travel? And the desire to meet colleagues from other states? And perhaps catch an interesting talk or two? How about an industry conference?

Within the world of web startups and internet businesses, there are a dizzying number of conferences. I’ve attempted to list all of the major ones here. Upcoming dates are included if they’ve been announced. Many of these conferences have already had their 2010 events, so perhaps I’ll have to create this list again early next year to catch the 2011 events before they happen. If I’ve missed anything, please let me know.

General Conferences in the United States

South by Southwest Interactive

Next date: March 11-15, 2011 in Austin, TX

This event started as an Austin, Texas-based music festival in 1987 that added the film and interactive conferences in 1994, all of which have become some of the world’s largest industry events in their respective fields.

TechCrunch Disrupt

Next date: September 27-29, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

This was created in 2010 from the ashes of Michael Arrington and Jason Calacanis’ disbanded TechCrunch50 conference, to continue the vision of TC50 as a way to demo emerging Web 2.0 startups.

D: All Things Digital

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This was created by Walter Mossberg and Kara Swisher in 2003, and is held in Carlsbad, CA annually.


Next date: September 13-15, 2010 in Santa Clara, CA

Venture capitalist Stewart Alsop created this conference in 1991 as a launchpad for emerging technologies. It has since changed hands, from Chris Shipley to Matt Marshall.

Voices That Matter

Next date: June 28-29, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

Created by the educational publishing company Pearson Education in 2007, these events emphasize opportunities for learning and networking from industry leaders.


Next date: August 19-21, 2010 in Seattle, WA

This was created by former TechTV personality Chris Pirillo in 2001 as a single-track technology conference.


Next date: July 29-30, 2010 in Philadelphia, PA

Created by Wharton professor Kevin Werbach in 2002, this event explores the transformation of computing, communications, business, and society.

ReadWriteWeb Summits

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

Created by the team at the ReadWriteWeb blog, these events cover a variety of topics, from the real-time web to mobile technologies.

Social Developer Summit

Next date: June 29, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

Started this year and All Facebook founder Nick O’Neill, this event aims to unite social app developers to discuss solutions and best practices for building applications in the rapidly expanding social web economy.

Inside Social Apps

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

Created by the social media & gaming market research agency Inside Network, this event covers issues around the social app and gaming industry.

Virtual Goods Summit

Next date: October 12-13, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

Created by Charles Hudson of, this event focuses on the emerging market opportunity for virtual goods and economies.

Startup Lessons Learned

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This event is designed to unite those interested in what it takes to succeed in building a lean startup.


Next date: August 4-6, 2010 in Amelia Island, FL

This event is aimed at entrepreneurs, thought leaders, startup founders, and consultants.

The Founder Conference

Next date: August 17, 2010 in Mountain View, CA

This event was created to allow participants to network with other startup founders, find co-founders, improve their ideas and learn how to bootstrap.


Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This event covers topics ranging from startups to design to marketing to business.

Big Omaha

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This event was created by Silicon Prairie News (SPN) in 2009 and is held in Omaha, NE for entrepreneurs, innovators and creatives.


Next date: October 25, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

This conference focuses on start-up failures and how to prepare & recover from them.


Next date: September 18, 2010 in Seattle, WA

Next date: September 24, 2010 in New York, NY

Next date: October 23, 2010 in San Francisco

This event was started in 2008 by Edith Yeung after a conversation she had with Gary Marshall from the Small Business Administration, and aims to be a conference that inspires entrepreneurs to create and grow their business with the help of technology.

SF New Tech

Next date: July 20, 2010 in San Francisco

These are a series of regular events for startup entrepreneurs, VCs, journalists, recruiters, and others in the industry.

Startup Weekend

Next date: June 25-27, 2010 in Chicago, IL

Next date: September 17-19, 2010 in Edmonton, Canada

Created by Andrew Hyde, this event became a non-profit when Marc Nager and Clint Nelsen took over all operations. Ticket prices are typically much lower than other conferences.

Startup School

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This was created by Paul Graham in 2004 for technical entrepreneurs to learn about building startups.


Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

Founded by Dave McClure & Dan Martell, this exclusive, invitation-only event is dedicated to educating and helping the next generation of internet startups around issues of fund raising, option pools, and term sheets.

Maker Faire

Next date: July 10, 2010 in Aspen, CO (mini event)

Next date: September 25-26, 2010 in New York, NY

This was created by Make Magazine to celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset.


Next date: June 15-17, 2010 in Los Angeles, CA

Created in 1995 by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) covers the video game industry.


Next date: July 30-August 1, 2010 in Las Vegas, NV

Created in 1993, this is one of the largest and oldest continuously-running conferences for the hacker community.

SF MusicTech Summit

Next date: December 6, 2010 in San Francisco

This event covers the music and technology space.

Hacks/Hackers Unite

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This was created by Rich Gordon, Burt Herman & Aron Pilhofer as a hands-on workshop to build storytelling applications on tablet devices. This past 2010 event was the first.

Lunch 2.0

Next date: Varies; there are lots of them

These events are informal gatherings organized by various companies who hold a short presentation, then break off for lunch and networking.

General Conferences in Europe


Next date: December 8-9, 201 in Paris, France

This was created by Loïc Le Meur in 2005 as a conference covering technology, the Internet, and entrepreneurism.

The Next Web

Next date: April 27-29, 2011 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

This was created by Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, Arjen Schat & Patrick de Laive as a means to bring the professional web industry together in Europe.

O’Reilly Conferences

Web 2.0 Summit

Next date: November 15-17, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

This is an invitation-only conference where Internet executives gather to debate and determine business strategy.

Web 2.0 Expo

Next date: September 27-30, 2010 in New York, NY

Next date: March 28-31, 2011 in San Francisco, CA

This is a spin-off of the Web 2.0 Summit and has open registration.


Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This is run by local volunteers and gives presenters 5 minutes each to present their ideas to the audience.


Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This covers web performance and operations.


Next date: July 19-23, 2010 in Portland, OR

This covers the vast open source industry.

Gov 2.0 Summit

Next date: September 7-8, 2010 in Washington, DC

This is an invitation-only conference that covers the intersection of web technologies and the US government.

Tools of Change for Publishing

Next date: February 14-16, 2011 in New York, NY

This covers technologies in the publishing space.


Next date: No new dates announced yet

This was originally created in 2004 as a joke by Tim O’Reilly and Sara Winge. More recently, topical Foo Camps have been held at various locations and by various organizers.


Next date: Varies; there are lots of them

This started in 2005 as a spin-off of Foo Camp and has evolved into a series of user-organized conferences and unconferences all around the world.

GigaOM Events


Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This event covers green technologies and businesses.


Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This event covers the cloud computing industry.


Next date: September 30, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

This event covers the mobile computing industry.

NewTeeVee Live

Next date: November 10, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

This event covers the online video industry.


Next date: December 9, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

This event covers the tools, technologies and practices shaping the future of work.

The Bunker Summit

Next date: No new dates announced yet

This is an invitation-only retreat for 150 selected executives to confer about creating new opportunities across industries.

Bunker Sessions

Next date: July 28, 2010 in San Francisco, CA (open source software in enterprise)

Next date: August 25, 2010 in San Francisco, CA (e-books and publishing)

Next date: September 29, 2010 in San Francisco, CA (mobile technologies in healthcare)

Next date: October 27, 2010 in San Francisco, CA (app marketplaces and TV)

These are a series of town hall meetings covering a wide variety of topics.

Carsonfied Events

Future of Web Apps Conference

Next date: October 4-6, 2010 in London, United Kingdom

This is a conference on the web development industry.

Future of Web Design Conference

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This is a conference on the web design industry.

ThinkVitamin Online Conferences

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

These are a series of online video tutorials covering a variety of topics.

UBM TechWeb Events


Next date: September 28-30, 2010 in Mumbai, India

Next date: October 18-22, 2010 in New York, NY

Next date: May 8-12, 2011 in Las Vegas, NV

This series of events covers a spectrum of IT and mobile technologies.

Enterprise 2.0

Next date: November 8-11, 2010 in Santa Clara, CA

This event covers technology and software in the enterprise space.

Cloud Connect Conference

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This event focuses on cloud computing and the cloud eco-system.

Environments for Humans Events

In Control Web Design Workshop Conference

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This event covers web design practices, trends and technologies.

CSS Summit

Next date: July 28, 2010 online

This virtual event consists of a series of videos covering CSS development techniques.

Web Optimization Summit

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This event covers web performance optimization techniques.

Mobile Technology Conferences

Mobile World Congress

Next date: November 17-18, 2010 in Hong Kong, China

Next date: February 14-17, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain

This event covers the mobile industry with an international audience.

Mobile 2.0 Conference

Next date: September 20-21, 2010 in Mountain View, CA & San Francisco, CA

Created by five entrepreneurs in the mobile space, this event covers on mobile applications, services, ecosystems, and disruptive innovations.

MobiSys Conference

Next date: June 15-18, 2010 in San Francisco, CA

This event is held by the ACM Special Interest Group on mobile technologies (SIGMOBILE).


Next date: August 24-26, 2010 in Las Vegas, NV

This event focuses specifically on mobile applications.

Web Design Conferences

An Event Apart

Next date: September 16-18, 2010 in Washington, DC

Next date: November 1-2, 2010 in San Diego, CA

This was created by Eric Meyer and Jeffrey Zeldman in 2005 for passionate practitioners of standards-based web design.


Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This was created by Brad Smith as an event to explore the future of web design, content creation, user experience and business strategy.


Next date: June 22, 2010 in Santa Clara, CA (eye tracking)

Next date: July 13, 2010 in Palo Alto, CA

These events are held by the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI).

AIGA Design Conference

Next date: October 13-16, 2011 in Phoenix, AZ

These events are held by AIGA, a professional association for the design industry.

Computer Hardware Conferences


Next date: November 16-17, 2010 online

This long-running computer expo has been in operation since 1979. It is now operated by UBM TechWeb. The next event will be entirely online.


Next date: March 1-5, 2011 in Hanover, Germany

This is the world’s largest computer expo. It was created as a spin-off of the Hanover Fair in 1986.

Computex Taipei

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

This is the world’s second-largest computer expo. It was created by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) and the Taipei Computer Association (TCA) in 1981.

Company-specific Conferences

Google I/O Conference

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

Google hosts this conference as a platform to present their latest products and technologies.

Facebook f8 conference

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

Facebook hosts this conference as a platform to present their latest features and technologies.

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

Apple hosts this conference as a platform to present their latest products and technologies.

Microsoft MIX Conference

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

Microsoft hosts this conference as a platform to present their latest products and technologies.

Twitter Chirp Conference

Next date: Already past, no new dates announced yet

Twitter hosts this conference as a platform to present their latest features and technologies.

Adobe MAX

Next date: October 23-27, 2010 in Los Angeles, CA

Adobe hosts this conference as a platform to present their latest features and technologies.

Props to: Casey Allen

Like Fraud: Don’t Like This Post

Whatever you do, don’t Like this post.

Seriously, don’t. Otherwise, you’ll end up Liking a very different site other than this one.

This is an example of possible Like fraud. If you know HTML, this is surprisingly easy to do. Just grab the code from Facebook and modify the “href” parameter, like this:

<iframe src="" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" style="border:none; overflow:hidden; width:450px; height:px"></iframe>

That means you can take this part of the code (in bold):

and swap in whatever URL you’d like. The poor unsuspecting user who clicks on that Like button is now a fan of whatever URL you placed in there, like

Furthermore, you can include some metadata to change the text of what appears in the activity stream of the PUU. Facebook gives developers two ways to do this: one with their XFBML tag & JavaScript SDK, and one using meta tags (shown below):

<meta property="og:title" content="Title of Content"/>
<meta property="og:site_name" content="Name of Site"/>
<meta property="og:image" content=""/>

Though I haven’t tested it enough to confirm this, I believe the image you can associate with the Like button (which must be 50×50 px in size) can appear in the PUU’s list of Fan Pages.

Pretty easy, huh?

I have a bad feeling Facebook’s Like buttons will be abused like this. It’s just too easy to do. Since their code is embedded within the sandboxed environment of an iframe, it won’t be easy to protect users from Like Fraud either. But hopefully the developers at Facebook are aware & looking into this.

P.S. I originally embedded a rather risque URL in that test Like button. But I’ve replaced it with a URL to my web development agency, WebMocha, so I don’t get anyone in trouble and have something like, “John likes Naughty Nurses” appear in their activity stream, hilarious as that would be.

So if you want to test this hack out, feel free to safely click on the Like button. What you’ll see on your Facebook wall is something like “John likes WebMocha: Web Development Done Right.” I promise we won’t do anything malicious with your endorsement of our agency. Or will we? Muhaha. Just kidding!

Map of Technology Competitors

Know what is totally awesome? The game Civilization IV.

There’s this feature in Civ4, called the Foreign Advisor, that displays a map of all the known civilizations. Between each civilization is a color-coded line to show the relationship between each civilization. White means they’re neutral, red means they’re at war, etc.

Looking at that screen, I thought it would be interesting to map out how some of the more prominent technology companies would compare. Here is what I came up with:

Color key:

  • Red – In direct & aggressive competition
  • Green – In some form of alliance
  • Gray – Neutral with each other

It’s interesting to see how many red lines come out of Google (GOOG). Looks like they’ve put themselves against just about everyone. The only one they don’t seem to be overtly competing against, and may be collaborating with, is Twitter.

AOL (AOL) also has quite a few red lines, though I doubt anyone considers them much of a competitive threat anymore. With their rumored Bebo sale, the lines between them and Facebook & MySpace (NWS) will probably turn gray.

Twitter, as far as I can tell, only seems to have one competitor in this diagram: Facebook. Both Google and bing (MSFT) / Yahoo! (YHOO) are indexing tweets in their search engines, so I assume their relationships are friendly. I wasn’t sure how competitive their relationship with MySpace is, so I assumed it was just neutral.

What do you think of this diagram? How would you color these lines & relationships?

How to Rob a House with Google Buzz focused on Foursquare. It highlighted random people checking into public locations, implying that they weren’t home and thus, their belongings could be robbed.

However, it’s not a realistic scenario. All you know is that Random_Joe is at some restaurant or cafe. You don’t know where Random_Joe lives. So how can you rob him?

Enter Google Buzz (GOOG). And this is scary.

Every once in a while, I’ll check out nearby buzzes on Google Buzz Mobile. Usually it’s some harmless comment or random conversation. Sometimes it’s a helpful tip or review on a restaurant. On a few occasions however, I’ve seen people buzz from a residential location, presumably their home.

It’s not difficult to guess what you can do from there, especially if they haven’t limited their privacy options on their Google Profile. Yup, you can monitor their buzzes, learn about their habits, and even know where they are (and when they’re not home).

Methinks should switch their Foursquare feed with Google Buzz.

Fortunately, it looks like only a few people are doing this right now. I imagine using your mobile phone to buzz from home isn’t a common use case, though it clearly happens. Perhaps this should be a new best practice: Don’t do anything online that can share your personal address and your current whereabouts to strangers.

P.S. I also once saw a guy buzz about how much he hated dealing with customers. And he did this from his work location, a car repair shop. Guess which shop I’ll never go to.

An Unidentified User is Following Me on Google Buzz

This is odd. In my list of followers on Google Buzz (GOOG), there is an unidentified user. How mysterious.

I didn’t know Google’s accounts allowed you to create an account anonymously, much less follow someone anonymously. Aren’t names required?

I’m flattered an unidentified user is following me. It’s not like they can’t follow me on Twitter anonymously already. Perhaps this is part of the new privacy features Google Buzz is rolling out.

Anyone know anything about how this?

The Twitterverse

Now for some Friday fun.

Here’s a neat visual of most (maybe all?) the apps that, in some way, aid your usage & experience of Twitter. The Twitterverse, as authors Jesse Thomas & Brian Solis call it.

The Twitterverse

This is just version 0.9. They’re still working on the final version.

It’s a tough job for sure. I tried to visit a bunch of the apps listed in this chart and a few did not seem to exist anymore. And new ones seem to be cropping up every day. Makes me kind of wonder how this chart could look as a living, breathing animation that is constantly updated – and perhaps done in AJAX or Flash.

Now there’s a fun project if you have some time on your hands. You could even extrapolate it into charts for other ecosystems, so to speak. Like Twitter celebrities, or popular blogs, or start-ups within a certain industry, etc.

Great work by Jesse and Brian though! I’m eager to see the final version.

The Audacity to Lie for Your Career

I’m not here to join the controversy. Apparently Clay Shirky stirred some up with his post, “A Rant About Women.” I’m here because something he wrote gave rise to a memory. Here’s what he wrote:

When I was 19 and three days into my freshman year, I went to see Bill Warfel, the head of grad theater design (my chosen profession, back in the day), to ask if I could enroll in a design course. He asked me two questions. The first was “How’s your drawing?” Not so good, I replied. (I could barely draw in those days.) “OK, how’s your drafting?” I realized this was it. I could either go for a set design or lighting design course, and since I couldn’t draw or draft well, I couldn’t take either.

“My drafting’s fine”, I said.

That’s the kind of behavior I mean. I sat in the office of someone I admired and feared, someone who was the gatekeeper for something I wanted, and I lied to his face.

His post, as I read it, is basically how few women have the audacity to lie their way into a job like he did. I see truth in that, though there are also cultural considerations he doesn’t address. But that’s not what I’m here to write about.

After reading his passage, it sparked this memory:

My First Internet Internship

Way back in 1996, when the World Wide Web was leaving academia for the commercial world, I lied my way into an Internet internship. It was with a small shop in Greenwich Village. The owner was a laid-back, pot-smoking guy who said the phrase, “Let’s touch base” way too much. His dream was to create the first online resource for all of Manhattan’s artists. Ambitious, for sure, but so were many of the Internet’s early visionaries. Sadly, he closed shop a few years later.

I first learned about the Web from my sophomore roommate. He showed me the Mosaic web browser and the few pages he could visit. “Isn’t this better than Gopher or Archie?” he asked. Indeed it was, though I didn’t explore it further until a year later.

I’m not sure what motivated me to apply to this internship. Was it because it was an art-related position and I had an interest in graphic design? Was it because it was close to my dorm? It didn’t pay. And I wasn’t exactly qualified.

“Do you know HTML?” asked the owner during my interview.

“Yes,” I lied.

He offered me the job the next day. Then I ran out and got a book on HTML.

The lead (and only other) technical guy on the staff turned out not to know HTML either (did he lie too?). So we both dove into the book and learned as much as we could. I still remember trying to figure out how to build an HTML table. Before it became a widespread practice, the other technical guy said, “How about we place different images into each table cell, so it forms a big, single picture, except that you can click on certain parts of that picture as links?” I didn’t realize it back then, but I was building a layout with a table.

From this experience, I built my first homepage with increasingly complexity. In between graphic design assignments, I would try to construct complex layouts and build them. Yea, I’m a geek. Fortunately, my geekhood paid off as I turned this experience into a career.

And that’s how I had the audacity to lie my way into an Internet internship and jumpstart my career on the Web.

P.S. I don’t believe you should ever outright lie for your career. I knew some HTML before I started that internship and was confident I could learn it quickly, so this incident is more of an aspiring exaggeration than an outright lie. Feel free to disagree though. Have you ever done something like this, for better or worse?

Photo by: Collin Anderson

Biz Idea: Social Media Market Research App

Classic OPTE Project Map of the Internet 2005 Want to see a list of links that will boggle your eyes? Last week, I listed a number of online services that could be used to perform market research. After seeing that list, I wondered:

How about a single online app that helps you do all of that? A social media market research app. Here’s what I think such an app could offer.

The Dashboard

It could have a dashboard that provides a snapshot of your market, ideally updated in real-time. There could be search results from the blogosphere, forums, Facebook (Groups and Fan Pages), LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Yahoo! Answers (YHOO), and other social media sites. Perhaps this information could be displayed through different filters:

  • By relevance
  • By publication date as a stream of news
  • By publication date on a timeline
  • By type of source
  • By source
  • By discussion in a threaded format
  • By tag (more on this later)
  • etc.


My previous post listed a number of services that searched social media sites, allowed you to post questions, displayed search trends, and offered a wealth of company information. I’ll discuss those features first.

Keyword-Based Search Results of Social Media Sites

All of this information could be obtained through APIs and RSS feeds, some from the sources directly, some from the search services I listed. There would have to be some research done to see how real-time updates could be handled, however. Push or pull? Do they ping us or do we have to constantly ping them?

Asking Questions and Retrieving Answers

A mechanism to post questions & messages on forums, mailing lists, and answer boards could be really helpful. It should also harvest any subsequent answers & replies. This would be a tricky technical problem to solve though. Automatically posting on forums and mailing lists could be seen as spam.

Displaying Trend Data

The trend data could be presented in a timeline similar to Google Trends (GOOG) and Dipity, with items such as news articles, company events, and social media posts aligned with it. There could also be filtering options to control what is displayed. I don’t believe any of the trend tracking services offers APIs, however, so this may require a custom technical solution.

Displaying Rich Company Information

Every time a company is mentioned, it could link to a detailed company page that fetches financial & stock data from Yahoo! Finance and places it alongside rich information from sites like LinkedIn, Jigsaw, Crunchbase, etc. In the case of the paid service Jigsaw, they won’t have any APIs. But perhaps a partnership could be brokered.

Additional Features

In addition to the four features above, there are other cool things this app could do. A neat feature could be a Google (GOOG) map with real-time updates, a la DailyBooth or HashParty’s reach map. Each time a new piece of content is published, it could appear right away.

Another could be related keywords, similar to those seen on search engine results pages. I wonder if any search engines offer up related keywords in their web services.

This could also be a really useful feature: How about the ability to tag, rank, and annotate any piece of content the app finds? This is how you could maintain order when deluged with content. Filtering options could include tagged items as well, like displaying only the events tagged with “positive news” or “negative news” on the timeline. Ranking a piece of content could be a way to prioritize its visibility and/or subjective relevance to your research. Perhaps items could be flagged so customer service or public relations representatives can respond right away. And it’s always helpful to take notes against important pieces of content.


The technical challenges are tricky. They are not impossible, but it would take a sharp technical team to think through these issues, such as:

  • How do we fetch the appropriate data reliably and quickly?
  • How do we deal with content that requires authentication?
  • How do we post on mailing lists and forums without triggering spam filters?
  • How do we get, display, and/or build trend data?
  • How do we attach metadata to each piece of content we’ve fetched?
  • How do we display the updates in real-time?
  • How do we design an easy-to-use user interface that allows non-technical business owners to use this app?
  • etc.

I’m sure there are a lot of social media consultancies that offer market research services. But as competitors, service firms rarely hold up to self-service packages. In such situations, self service firms tend to focus on the high-end of a market and offer highly specialized & customized services at premium prices. Going for low-end customers puts their profit margins at risk. Meanwhile, self-service packages like this app can afford to focus on the low-end as a cost-effective solution for them, while still maintaining fair profit margins. And who knows, maybe social media consultancies could become customers of this app.

There might even be such an app in existence already, though I haven’t heard of one. If you have, please let me know.

What do you think?

Photo by: curiouslee