Sunday, May 08, 2005

She Got Stranded with Software at the Seashore

Like all good tech gatherings, the Nantucket Conference is a mix of inspiration, prognostication and libations.

What an electric bunch: Mitchell Kertzman, John Landry, Thornton May, Jeff Taylor, Bob Metcalfe and Eric Schmidt -- that's a lot of wattage for a small island.

It's my first year at the Nantucket Conference, and I've been honored to attend. In the caste system reflected on the attendee badges, I'm a one-dotter, but the six-dotters have been very kind. (They were in on the very first edition of this brilliantly conceived conference.) Kudos to the conference advisory board for assembling such impressive panels.

Somewhat to my disappointment, all conference proceedings are off the record. I thought I'd amass enough material for a month's worth of blogs, but alas, I've been stymied.

Happily, I just ran into futurist Thornton May, who eloquently summarized a few key conference points for me. He said (and my apologies to Thornton if I've mangled this):

We learned that access is the high ground of technology success. Access is built upon thought leadership and trust. The classic definition of trust is consistent behavior over time.

John Leggate, CIO of
BP, talked about being on a quest -- you've got to show that you're a good traveler -- worthy of the journey. It's a little like a tech version of The Wife of Bath's Tale. We're migrating into a participation economy. Success hinges upon breaking down boundaries between buyers and sellers. The informed marketer is looking for problem-solving spaces, versus places to sell, which are decrepit places of value destruction.

It's important to understand that Thornton reeled that off as we all pace the hotel lobby on Mother's Day. Yes, a virulent Nor' Easter has held us captive on Nantucket since Saturday. There's nothing quite like locking down a bunch of type A, high-tech execs and telling them they can't leave. The brave of heart are flying out, but Cape Air isn't flying and the ferries aren't running. (What should that tell you?) From our pals at the weather service:

..SUSTAINED NORTH WINDS UP TO 40 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 60 MPH. GALE WARNINGS HAVE BEEN UPGRADED TO STORM WARNINGS TODAY FOR ALL COASTAL WATERS. THE SIGNIFICANT WAVE ACTION COMBINED WITH A 1 FOOT STORM SURGE WILL RESULT IN SPLASHOVER ALONG EAST COASTAL MASSACHUSETTS AND NANTUCKET DURING THE NEXT TWO HIGH TIDE CYCLES AROUND MIDDAY AND MIDNIGHT TONIGHT.....WINDS ON THE COASTAL WATERS WILL SUBSIDE ON MONDAY BUT HIGH SEAS UP TO 10 FEET WILL CONTINUE ON THE OPEN WATERS.

Luckily, I've got a few hundred emails plus Seabiscuit to read, and the hotel still has wine. But next year, I'll bring an umbrella.

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