Wrap-Up from Widgets Live


As we unfold and unwind ourselves from being widgetized all day, we wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on GigaOM’s first conference, Widgets Live, a conference co-hosted by GigaOM and Niall Kennedy. The great thing is, no matter how many presentations you see of almost exactly the same product, widgets tend to be really, really pretty.

I jotted down some memorable quotes throughout the day:

Everyone, over and over again: “Keep it simple.”

Alex Russell, SitePen: “The more we respect the users’ ownership of what it is they’re consuming, the more we respect their attention, the better off we’re going to be.”

Sandy Jen, Meebo: “You don’t want to teach the user new behavior.”

Ivan Pope, Snipperoo (this guy was full of catchy quotes that seemed just a tiny bit beyond our grasp): “Widgets are the bumper stickers of the internet.” Fittingly, this came as a bumper sticker. And a t-shirt.

Michael Maia, PortalPlayer: “I woke up at 6 a.m. this morning to read I now work for Nvidia.” (approximate quote; didn’t write this one down.)

Lance Tokuda, RockYou: “30 to 40 percent of everyone who touches our site [set to surpass 10 million uniques in November] creates something on our site.”

Eric Lunt, FeedBurner: “The internet is a series of tubes, and feeds are sort of the trucks that drive through the tubes to the widgets.”

All in all, a good day, with a sold-out crowd (I only saw maybe 10 unclaimed name tags) and some fun announcements from companies like Fox Interactive, Clearspring, and Gigya. The one big hole was the absence of Apple, which Niall Kennedy explained was due to disclosure issues with the upcoming release of OS X. There were also some key discussion topics that came up more than once but didn’t get addressed all that conclusively: widget monetization, widget cooperation, and widget standardization. Food for thought…and maybe another conference?

This week’s San Francisco tech event venue tour continues tomorrow, with Om taking the morning shift at Web 2.0 and Liz the afternoon.



Have to disagree with Sandy Jen: People will learn new behavior if it improves the quality of their life or entertains them—-that is the point of innovation—-text messaging, photosharing, mailing a DVD back in the mail (netflix), RSS, drag & drop. Heck, the internet is one gigantic new behavior.

Jonathan Hill

Thanks a million Om for putting on a great conference. We really enjoyed it and the chance to demo was much appreciated (even if our lollipop licking logo freaked you out).

Looking forward to next year!

Danny Espinoza

Well, of course I have only myself to blame for being out of the loop and not getting into this conference when spaces were still available. Nevertheless, great work Om, on what’s is a nascent and exciting area of mini-application development.

As for standardization, it appears that since standards already exist for dynamic web applications (AJAX, JS, CSS) I think the proprietary API and desktop-centric widget environments are going to have a hard time differentiating themselves and winning future market share.

Yes, Apple has a nice well-defined platform base to build Dashboard upon (and choosing web technologies for widget deployment was wise) but the widget industry as a whole seems to be moving briskly into embeddable web content — where social networks and blog spaces go, the widget business goes. IMHO, Yahoo may want to rethink their XML and desktop engine strategy and Apple may want to broaden their horizons.

And on that note, my company released a new beta of Amnesty Generator, our free “web widget” to Dashboard widget drag-and-drop converter today. It wraps embeddable web content – Google gadgets, Slide animations, Widgetbox widgets, YouTube videos and more – into nice little Dashboard widgets. If you’re a Mac fan, check it out and let us know what you think.

And I’ll definitely be attending next year. ;-)

Om Malik

MIster Widget

thanks for your comments. on the future events, well, we shall keep you posted on that. today it is time for the grind – the web 2.0 conference grind.

Mister Widget

Sounds like it was a great kickoff for Om & Niall – nice recap from Ian Kennedy on his Flashpoint post.

Also, for anyone interested in finding a memorable URL in the space, http://www.misterwidget.com is for sale.

Any news on upcoming GigaOm Conferences? Would like get a head’s up.

Comments are closed.