NY Times Open

Here is a post on the morning session of the NY Times Open.  Janet Robinson, the NY Times President (?) gave the opening based on getting people to remember both the heritage of the paper (Pulitzers) and the future by leveraging the creativity of the developer world to make the content better: interactivity, global comment/feedback, openness. 

Derek Gottfrid, Sr. Software Architect, talked about really getting this whole thing working.  They want their APIs to be mashable (in fact, hooking into Mashable), and to get that data out there. 

Now, for the main event.  The big man is out, Tim O'Reilly.  He's wearing the standard cargo pants - black this time.  His first point is that companies and organizations have to breed innovation by having conferences, bringing people together, etc...  Here are his points:
  1. Harnessing Collective Intelligence - Wikipedia of course - but there's more to it.  Digg is another obvious one.  The heart is still Google.  Google simply does a great job with PageRank.  PageRank introduced aggregated social analysis with link network density.  Links matter!  And they still do.  Wesabe gives tips on personal finance based on aggregate data that the credit card companies had for years.  
  2. Real Time is critical - Just to go back to Google, they are fast and time sensitive.  Wal Mart is a great example of accomplishing this time with real time data modeling that allows for better inventory/pricing management.  On the Obama call lists, if it was found that somebody had voted, they were taken off the get out the vote list in real time.
  3. Network effect allows companies to stay ahead if they can harness their network.  What assets do you have in your network?  What are people telling you that is just being dropped on the floor?  Does the accumulated history help in any way?  And .... don't forget to make it faster.
  4. Social Networking is a breakthrough - namely with the social graph from Facebook.  For NYTimes though, they have a slice that they're working with.  They are writing "All the news that is fit to print".  The Times has a long history of interacting with readers through the opinion section.  For instance, on NY Times People, nobody really uses it.  Twitter and FB should be integrated - that's what the users want.
  5. Programming as Journalism - USASpending.gov which is really a clone of FedSpending.org.  This is programmer driven reportage.  Programmers really need to be leveraged for story creation.  StimulusWatch.org is another site that really shows how the money is being spent.  InSTEDD.org is also another example of reporting by programmer.  GVFI.org also.
  6. Instrumenting the world: Keyboards are not the ideal input for collaboration.  Cameras, motion sensors, GPS, etc...
  7. Internet as Platform.  The goal of becoming a platform is not to get everybody onto your controlled network.  You have to link to the context of the news.  O'Reilly Radar uses mouseover previews that allow people to see context rather than clicking off a page.  Google Maps is the model where Google is following the hacks.  Partners and random hackers may create new features before you do.
O'Reilly's main point is that we're on a road, we don't know where we'll end up.  We have to keep gas in the tank but it's also important not to just make the trip into a tour of gas stations.  Think of what you do, and make it happen.