interesting conversation

My notes from the before lunch sessions of BarCampHelsinki2

Originally posted here

Once again, the sessions were a single stream, with the titles written on the big board.
As was the case last time, it was quite a slow process to get the titles on the board. As there was no better suggestion we took the sessions in the order they were written down in.
I will link the title of each session to the relevant Jaiku thread, where i have already posted my “rough notes”, so i don’t plan to duplicate those here, but expand on them slightly.

Does Silicon Valley culture work in EU? by Myles Byrne
This was an interesting session as Myles was on a flying visit to Finland, i think around his stealth startup that was doing something with Neuroplasticity.
Myles started off by quoting some “stupid big numbers” such as 170 guadrillion transistors, 55 trillion links, 2mhz freqency of email, 31khz freqency of txts, etc
In Silicon valley this adds up to 1 big machine, this is referred to as “The singularity” (the idea that this 1 machine will soon be equal a single human brain)

There was then an interesting discussion that seemed to conclude that in Finland, generally, people are practical and direct but in the “Valley” there is an environment where dreamers and big ideas can exist. @Pe3 pointed out that it is quite funny to be talking about Finns as all the same.

Myles then talked about the clock of the long now apparently it is featured in the latest Neal Stephenson novel

The discussion then morphed into how the two places viewed risk (mostly with regard to starting your own business.
The conclusion of this seemed to be that the EU was more about Social risk whereas the US was more about financial risk.

Doing one thing properly by Henry Lehto
Presentation available here
An interesting presentation on the idea that it is better to do only one thing really well, rather than multiple things to a good standard.
This lead to a number of interesting discussions, around each of the points raised.
For me one of the eye opening discussions was sparked off by the example of the Disco app, which only does CD (DVD?) burning, costs approximately 20$ to buy, however it duplicates the functionality of the built in OS X burning app, but does not come close to the functionality of Toast. The interesting thing was that Mac users are willing to pay 20$ for an application that is prettier than the inbuilt application. I knew this on some level, but had not realised that the hard core Mac faithful regarded this as normal.

Bridging the gap: explaining RSS to grandma by Tina Aspiala
Tina went back to basics (presentation wise), with a whiteboard based discussion/presentation
She started off with a couple of lists; Two basic platforms that exist today (and hence you should consider when developing a solution) are Computers (Mac’s, PC’s Desktops, laptops etc) and cell phones.
Changing and/or enabling technologies; RSS, Wiki’s, Social media, CMS & blogs. these are things that are obvious to everyone in the room, but hard to explain to non-tech literate people (example of email now used by virtually everybody)
Tina then asked that if there is all this cool stuff “out there” why is it not more used. The discussion came up with a number of reasons, and tina gave an example of how she tried to get the market stalls in Töölöntori to make use of modern technology, but was not able to make them change.
All this was leading to the point that had just launched an updated version of the site, and how best to get Restaurant owners to update their own information. There was a good flow of ideas supplied by everyone present (be aware that free advice is worth everything you paid for it!).
Future expansion plans for is that no matter where you are in Finland, you will be able to find an eating place near by and have information about that place (average price, quality, opening times, food types etc)

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