The Next Web New York

I’ve just returned from TNW (The Next Web) in New York. Despite being in a freezing building (-1 degree!) that was under construction with portaloos, I heard stories and opinions from some great speakers including the technologist David Weinberger, co-founder of Behance Scott Belsky, Neil Blumenthal of Warby Parker and data scientist Hilary Mason.

Here are some key takeouts:

Minimum Viable Products

  • MVPs are so hot right now. There is a great trend to get something out there and let the people tell you what needs to happen next (Weinberger)
  • An MVP doesn’t give you an excuse to produce crap – “the threshold for viability is higher than you think” (Blumenthal).
  • The startup mentality: ship it. Get it out the door. It doesn’t matter if it is amazing, it matters that you can deliver. Be focused, do one thing – one important thing – incredibly well (Kathryn Minshaw, The Muse).
  • Good and done is better than perfect and not done.

Collaboration

form Scott Belsky

  • Host the overlap to prompt innovation – this is the only way to produce ‘new’ things. “Foster the intersection!”
  • Behance is about facilitating a space, a meeting.
  • Think from a different perspective: enable a service rather than provide it.
  • “The credible mass is the best route to mediocrity” – on how mass freelance sites are destroying creative industry – you get what you pay for.
  • Attribution is key to creative industry. New [collaborative, social] business models are powered by attribution. With attribution, discover is greater than referral.

Data

from Hilary Mason

  • There are lots of “data people” but you need to be creative with it. Numbers on their own aren’t enough.
  • Hilary’s process:
    • What is the problem I am trying to solve?
    • How will I know when I have won?
    • Assuming we’ve done this perfectly, what is the first thing we will build/do?
    • If everyone in the world uses this thing that we build, how will it change their behaviour?
    • What is the most evil thing that can be done with this? (this point is more about innovation over risk)
  • Gut feel is often right, it’s just usually incomplete

Random

  • Think platform over product and opportunities are limitless. How do we build the future? Enable engagement. (Weinberger)
  • We [digital peoples] need to be more accountable and thoughtful of consequence. We are idealizing disruption. (Andrew Keen)
  • Good advice: “Be insanely persistent and insanely polite”. (Minshaw)
  • Did you know that 70% of IKEA catalog photographs are digitally generated?
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