I had the luck to be one of the participants of the DLD 2009 conference. It was my first time there and I can definitely say that the conference was amazing, so I would like to share with you what happened there.
After a short opening, the first panel (Global Challenges) came on stage and it was consisted mostly of CEO of very big companies: Nani Beccalli-Falco (CEO, GE), Stefan Oschmann (CEO, Merck & Co. Inc), James S. Turley (CEO, Ernst & Young), Kasper Rorsted (CEO, Henkel), Thierry Antinori (Executive Vice President, Lufthansa), Hermann Ude (CEO, DHL / Board member @ Deutsche Post), Patricia Szarvas as moderator of the panel (CNBC). I would say that this panel was the least interested since I didn’t feel I heard something new. But anyway it was really good to see all these people together!
The next panel (From ideas to reality) was very interesting since the was Philippe Pouletty on stage who is Founder and General Partner of Truffle Capital and he presented his company that develops an artificial heart which instead of what we have seen so far this heart mimics the movements of a real heart. He has still some way to go but he believes that in two years from now the first hearts will be used on the first 20 patients. Philippe has a view that people will be getting spare bio-parts in the near future and this is something that I also believe it will happen sooner or later. I will be blogging about this on a separate post soon. The panel was moderated by Jennifer Schenker who is a journalist covering technology for quite a long time (30 years!) and has now started a website called Informilo.
Just next, Dan Ariely came on stage and gave one of the most amazing speeches I have ever seen. He presented some illusions and some stats of how some really major decisions in our life are affected by simple and very minor things. You have to see the video of this presentation. Moreover I was very emotional touched by his story and how he created a whole new science due to his stay in hospital for 3 years. I will be definitelly following him from now on. You can check his website at (www.predictablyirrational.com).
Then Chris Weeks was on stage. Chris is the Director of Humanitarian Affairs for DHL/DPWN. He talked about how difficult is to get to help people in 3rd world countries and how complicated is to just be able to send them goods and medicine. It was pretty fascinating that one of the greatest technology that is being used to drop supplies from helicopters is the well known and commonly used red postal bag. He described us how it is stuffed and why it is so important.
The last panel for that day was “Philanthrocapitalish”. The panel consisted of Abigail Disney (Daphne Foundation), Sean Parker (Facebook Causes, co-Founder of Facebook, Plaxo, Napster), Matthew Bishop (The Economist), Arend Oetker (HERO), Edwin Moses (Laureus World Sports Academy). I was totally amazed with what Abigail told the audience. Abigail has made a documentary titled “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” about women in Liberia and their efforts to bring peace to their broken nation after decades of destructive civil war. The fact is that even is there have been already 3 years of such efforts, no media has ever covered these efforts. This can be a great example of how some very important facts of our world are very well hidden behind the scenes. I am really looking forward watching the documentary.
The first day ended with a blogging meet up at a Bavarian restaurant and we enjoyed some very good traditional food and lots of beers:)
The second day of DLD started very early (8:00) with the Social Networking Breakfast hosted by Jeff Pulver. While I arrived a little late, it was very fun since you had some stickers and after talking with anyone you would stick them a tag. A great networking idea:)
The first panel “On Leadership” was one of the most interesting panels I attended. The speakers were Peter Hirshberg (Technorati.com), Brad Anderson (CEO & Vice President, Best Buy), Michele Azar (Internet Growth Group, Best Buy), Don Tapscott (Author, moderator of the panel). Brad and Michele showed how they turned best buy to become a company that’s is totally driven by their employees. The presented their company wiki and showed how the employees are involved into daily operations and even advertisements of the company. I think that many companies should take this as an example and try to build up a similar business culture. After all it’s all about people who run the company to make it a success. Same time was the Internet Politics panel which I didn’t attend.
Afterward there were two panels. The one was called “100 Million uniques” and it was consisted of some of the most successful web entrepreneurs in the world: Chad Hurley (YouTube), Samir Arora (Glam Media), Mitchell Baker (Mozilla Foundation), Moderation: Yossi Vardi. Unfortunately I wanted to attend the other panel for Eastern Europe markets so I will be watching this one on video. The Eastern Europe panel was very interesting especially in terms of the numbers mentions. The speakers were Vuslat Dogan (CEO, Dogan Group), Zoltan Kovacs (Co-founder, ISOBAR), Andrew Paulson (co-founder, SUP / Livejournal), Lukasz Gadowski (Spreadshirt.com) and the moderator was a very good friend of mine, Andrej Nabergoj who runs Noovo.com. It was great to hear how big these companies got and the large number of acquisitions they did to grow faster.
I then enjoyed a pretty cool session about robots before attending the “Fashion Business” panel. During that panel it was great to hear Marc Ecko telling his story of how he rented a plane and painted like the Airforce one before getting to shoot a home made like video with people spraying the plane and writing “Still free” on it. Amazing how viral this video got and how this serves as a new way to advertise your company. I was also very amazed to hear Xavier Court from Vente-privee.com saying that the very same morning he sold about 70 apartments in Germany through his website. The panel was moderated by Susann Remke (Focus Magazine).
I then watched the hot deep earth session which has been very inspiring especially when I saw the world record man Herbert Nitsch describing how he managed to dive to more than 200 meters deep. It was also a pleasure to meet Fabien Cousteau who is the grandson of the very famous Jacques Cousteau. The photographs of Sebastian Copeland were fantastic and I wish I will get a chance in my life to visit Antarctica. The panel finished with the presentation of Pangaea which offers a chance for young people to discover the unseen world of Antarctica. The man behind this is Mike Horn.
NextI did some networking and then attended the Software session which was quite fun since Marissa Mayer is was a great moderator. The speakers were Max Levchin (Slide.com), Joel Spolsky (Fog Creek Software), Daniel Ek (Spotify), Suhas Gopinath (Globals Inc) and Hendrik Speck (University of Applied Sciences Kaiserslautern). There was a good discussion on which software can move to web.
Some networking following again and I left to get prepared for the great party. I was told that the DLD party is one of the biggest events in Germany since Hubert Burda is a big publisher in Germany with several magazines and newspapers. And so it was; the party was amazing. Maybe this is what happens when you combine people from social magazines like woman fashion or Playboy with people from the internet industry:) There were many German celebrities which I unfortunately didn’t know and lots of media coverage. Everyone had really great time there!
On the third day of the conference I focused more on networking so I only attended two sessions. The first one was the most enjoyable session since among the speaker were Julia Allison which is a very popular blogger in the US through her website nonsociety.com and has a great style of describing facts but also Loic Le Meur who has a great sense of humour. The session was called “Telling stories” and there were also Ora-Ito (Designer) and documentary maker Fernando Sulichin. It was moderated by Constantin Bjerke. The last session I watched was the best of the conference. The speakers were Daniel Kahneman and Nassim Taleb and it was moderated by John Brockman. The subject was “Reflection on a crisis” and I won’t write anything more about this because I strongly recommend to view the video on the DLD website.
The surprise of the day was Mark Zuckerberg, who came to DLD and spoke about facebook and its plans on expansion. He mentioned that his focus is on creating a platform that will eventually reach everyone in the world and also to build a very good product which I believe his already does. Facebook is growing like crazy and Mark preferred not to reveal any income statistics since he said that is not the top priority for the company (of course it’s a private company so he had no obligation to tell everybody the revenue insights). There was a part of the conversation were privacy issues were discussed, especially the fact that people can upload photos of others without their permission and without them being able to remove them. Of course facebook reflects the real world so practically everything that happens inside is quite similar with the real world. On the other hand, it was highly suggested that users should play around with their privacy settings and also create friend relationships only with trusted people who already know. This use of facebook makes it a great and possibly “safe” tool for social networking.
During the event, Ester Dyson was awarded the “Aenne Burda Award” Ester is now training to become a cosmonaut and travel to space. I really admire her.
Finally the last day I had the chance to meet with people Hyve.de which is a great company behind many innovative product designs and has also created a web innovation platform were people can submit their ideas to companies for evaluation or for the purpose of an innovation contest.
There is a huge number of photos from DLD on flickr and a dedicated area on the DLD conference website for video sessions.