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An Open Invitation to Jeff Pulver

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(Update 8th January 2009: Unfortunately Jeff has decided to decline both help and speaking so that he can concentrate on his shows but I'm glad we reached out to include him)


Dear Jeff,

I read the following today on your blog with great interest:

"While I am looking for others to join the NEW revolution, I am ready and prepared to do what it takes to continue to push for the promise of what IP Communications can offer."

I think that is great Jeff! I am sure others do too in the Emerging Communications (eComm) community. We are always looking for people who are as passionate as you about improving how people connect across space and time and putting them on stage. We want to broadcast that passion and as such, to help act as a catalyst for the telecom/communications industry! The industry has been stagnant in terms of innovation for 10+ years and yet the opportunities in the space have never been greater.

You will find at the 2009 conference a lot of content is focused on "beyond VoIP"; now that voice is on IP, what can we do with it? In other words a focus on voice enabled innovation rather than emulating the PSTN in what it does best - telephony. There are many other equally important topics though and hopefully with forthcoming interviews we will highlight these.

We very much look forward to the potential of your support! Even if that's just the odd blog post and Tweet now and then about the upcoming conference in March! Any additional support would be most appreciated! 

Since the eComm community is focused on the communications innovation that you long for (and more), I am sure you will find it a great platform and suitable community to join! We welcome you and will even carve out a speaking slot for you in a full schedule!

Regards, 

Lee 
(on Behalf of the eComm Community)

eComm - What Others Are Saying

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With the 2009 conference just a little over two months away I thought that we should add a "Why Attend" page for people who have not heard about the conference via word-of-mouth. When it is completed I'll have it added to the site menu.

I figured it would be a good idea to see what others are saying and to highlight it as part of the why-attend-page-yet-to-be. With that in mind I took a quick scan over the feedback comments from the 08 event and searched Technorati to gather some of the blogger comments with regards the forthcoming 2009.

I'm very happy to read all the positive comments, the great enthusiasm and to generally feel the positive energies. I'm glad there is such a positive (and pioneering) community out there and I fully trust that the eComm event in March will well serve that community.

I'm very happy to be an active player in that community and I hope that we all, have a successful 2009. There has never been more opportunity for transformation, innovation nor wealth in the history of communications, so I truly believe we are part of something good, together.

Thankyou to the community for all the great support so far! Lets keep building and driving things forwards because the next few years are going to be terribly exciting and full of great opportunity.

Sample attendee feedback from the debut 08:

"Whilst VON is valuable, I would rate eComm above and beyond in terms of quality and content...The assembled cast and audience were of the highest caliber" - James Body (Truphone)

"Amazing to get all the different participants involved. Really great stuff. Felt like a kid in a candy store. Inspiring. Definitely one of the best events I've been to in a long time" - Ed Lucero (IPEVO)

"Quite revolutionary. The telecommunication industry will undergo a major revolution during the next 5 years" - Daniel Enstrom (Ericsson)

"Great conference" - Luca Filigheddu (Abbeynet)

"eComm 2008 far exceeded my expectations on both ideas presented and the attendees that shared ideas" - Gary Miner (MIR3)

"Kicked VON's butt! Seriously..." - Will Stofega (IDC)

"eComm is for the visionaries" - Jim Van Meggelen (Core Telecom)

"Very interesting and with an impressive speaker list" - Anne Marte Hjemås (Telenor)

"It felt a lot more lively and focused than VON" - Dave Troy (Popvox)

"Great content - too good, really" Jon Arnold (Independent Telecoms Analyst)

"A great conference" - Stanley Chia (Vodafone)

Sample blogger quotes looking ahead to 09 (in chronological order):

"I attend a lot of conferences and trade shows and, as I look back at the past year, the most interesting conference I attended was eComm 2008...If you are at all interested in where communications is going, subscribe to the eComm 2009 blog and think about attending eComm 2009" - (Sep 24, 2008, Brough Turner, Communications)

"This is one event not to miss!" - (Sep 28, 2008, Andy Abramson, VoIP Watch)

"The conference created a lot of excitement this year, and many people have told me what a great time they had at eComm, and what a fantastic calibre of speakers and delegates attended...I'm glad to see that his eComm is becoming a definitive event of our industry.
...eComm had over 70 speakers in 2008, and a lot of them are the royalty of the telecom and Web 2.0 industry. Like 'TED' for the telephony World, perhaps?" - (Oct 9, 2008, Dialogic)

"Yet while I greatly enjoy and find so much value in the large VoiceCon and ITEXPO shows and so many of the others that I attend, one show stands out each year among them all: eComm...it's focused... and it has some amazing speakers who are truly out on the bleeding edge of how the ways in which we communicate are changing. It's a place to learn from those who are out there leading the disruption... it's a place to forge partnerships... it's a place where many startups have found interested investors... it's a place where you can sit and randomly meet those who are creating the 'Post-Telecom Era'" - (Dan York, Oct 6, 2008, Disruptive Telephony)

"The people, The people, The people. Genuinely excellent people, speaking and in the room....If you've never been - then consider eComm 2009 now, and block out your calendar" - (Oct 9, 2008, Dial2Do)

"Next year the conference will return to its spiritual home at the San Francisco Marriott and will consider themes that overlap and criss-cross between the worlds of cellcos and telcos alongside the unfolding ecosphere of social media and hacker culture" - (Nov 17, 2008, Imran Ali,
Mobile Messaging 2.0)

"Perhaps the most informative event I have attended during my two-and-a-half years of writing for Skype Journal was last spring's eComm 2008." - (Nov 20, 2008, Jim Courtney, SkypeJournal)

"eComm is at the epicenter of what's emerging from the developer world...eComm is shaping up as THE conference to be at" - (Nov 23, 2008, Andy Abramson, VoIP Watch)

"eComm is the pre-eminent gathering of thought leaders in the VoIP/telecom/web 2.0 industry" - (Dec 2, 2008, Ted Wallingford, Signal to Noise)

"Best conference bet for 2009" - (Dec 3, 2008, Brough Turner, Communications)

"The next installation of the superb and distinctly unmissable eComm conference is on its way" - (Dec 6, 2008, Martin Geddes, Telepocalypse
)
Sascha Meinrath has pointed out that a cool and free (now there is a good mixture) event will be taking place on the 21st October at the Googleplex.

The event has the title "Pervasive Connectivity: Open Airwaves, Open Networks". Sascha will be speaking at eComm 2009 as well Michael Calabrese.

Note you must RSVP by the 17th, so act quick! Details sent in are below.

---------------

Pervasive Connectivity: Open Airwaves, Open Networks
       Tuesday, October 21, 2008
       10:00 - 1:30 p.m.

       Lunch will be provided.

       Google, Building 43, Tunis Room
       1600 Amphitheater Parkway
       Mountain View, CA
       (Directions: www.newamerica.net/files/google_driving_directions.pdf)

       RSVP online at: www.newamerica.net/events/2008/pervasive_connectivity

       As Internet access moves increasingly to mobile platforms,
       control over access to the public airwaves will determine
       whether wireless broadband networks are closed, costly and
       channelized - or open, affordable and innovative.  The
       conventional wisdom in Washington is that spectrum is scarce and
       must be auctioned as exclusive licenses. The reality is emerging
       technologies and business models that allow shared,
       opportunistic and unlicensed access to an abundance of bandwidth
       for all.

       This forum will review the technologies and policy debates at
       the center of this battle over the airwaves. The FCC will decide
       this fall whether to open the vacant TV channels in each market
       for shared, unlicensed use. But there is far more unused "white
       space" across the spectrum that can be unlocked with 'smart'
       radios and smarter policies.  Among the benefits of open
       spectrum is more open networks - as well as facilitating a
       movement toward community networking that can greatly narrow
       digital divides in rural and disadvantaged areas.

AGENDA

9:30 am - Registration

10:00 am - Welcome

10:15 am - Open Airwaves: Technologies & Policies for Opportunistic Spectrum Sharing

       Michael Calabrese
       Director, Wireless Future Program, New America Foundation

       Paul Kolodzy
       Kolodzy Consulting, Former Chair, FCC Spectrum Policy Task Force

       Mark McHenry
       CEO and Founder, Shared Spectrum Co.

11:00 am - Open Networks: Technologies & Policies for Consumer Choice and Innovation

       Tim Wu
       Professor, Columbia Law School & Chairman, Free Press

       Larry Alder
       Product Manager, Google

       Sascha Meinrath
       Research Director, Wireless Future Program, New America Foundation

11:45 am - Community Networking: Digital Inclusion, Unwired

       Rey Ramsey
       CEO & Co-Founder, One Economy Corp

       Mark Ansboury
       SVP & Chief Technology Officer, OneCommunity

       Sascha Meinrath
       Research Director, Wireless Future Program, New America Foundation

12:30 pm - Implications for 2009 Policy Agenda

       Andrew Jay Schwartzman
       President & CEO, Media Access Project

12:45 pm - Lunch & Tech Demo in No Name Café

       This policy forum is co-sponsored by Google and the New America
       Foundation/Wireless Future Program.

       All RSVPs for this must be received by October 17:
       http://www.newamerica.net/events/2008/pervasive_connectivity

       For questions, contact Liz Wu at (202) 986-2700 x 315 or
       wu@newamerica.net
Andy who along with his PR firm Comunicano played a leading role in helping ensure the success of the inaugural eComm 2008 just pointed me to a post of his were he draws a quick distinction between the eComm conference and the Telco 2.0 conference. I hit comment and began to type a quicky reply to provide my opinion as well as clarification but when I hit around nine hundred words, I figured it was too long for reply and so decided to post it here instead.

The first focus of eComm is innovation because the telecoms innovation landscape has changed with 2007 having been the perfect storm to initiate a new conference on this topic (700 MHz, Android, iPhone Etc.). The telecoms world has changed and there is also a new game underplay. Specifically communications innovation is being democratized and at the same time for the first time ever the mobile handset is opening up in a serious way to edge innovation (plus telecom platforms are moving to being more open like Internet platforms). The combination of the two is terribly exciting and that is largely what we are focusing on. Telecom becomes software, the "phone" becomes the "computer" and the application landscape that flourishes is quite simply mind-blowing. Nothing will be the same again. The opportunities are exceptional. We are just at the start of that and eComm plans to track, promote and highlight this new era in communications. I can't wait.

I greatly respect what the Telco 2.0 lot (STL) are doing. It's a job that needs to be done. They are holding operators (and vendors) by the hand and doing their best such that as many as possible can walk thru the storm instead of fall off the sides along the way. They do a tremendous amount of quality research. They really are world class and the work they have been doing on the double-sided business model is exceptional. But their first focus is business models. This is not surprising as it is what carriers/vendors and their shareholders are having problems with. With current business models their pain will only increase whereas with the types of business models being developed by the Telco 2.0 lot, quite a few will prosper instead. I'm also an avid subscriber to the Telco 2.0 blog and newsletter!

So roughly speaking Telco 2.0 is business model innovation first and eComm is technological innovation first.

Last month at eComm I was honored to have Martin who is a Chief Analyst at Telco 2.0 open up day three with a keynote. I was so impressed with his talk that I've asked ITconversations.com to distribute it (in due course it will be - stay tuned). The reason Martin was invited aside from being loved by the eComm community (he was rated as a top speaker, was on the 2008 advisory board and is very supportive of the community even to the point of helping sell tickets), is that he had something exceptional to say in terms of innovation around telecom business models. My extremely crude take on it was that the current relationship between consumers, telecom operators, over the top providers is not healthy and is set to get worse at the current trajectory. Creative business models, in particular the two-sided model will restore balance to the ecology such that all can prosper together. Their research into how shipping atoms has evolved and using that as a reflection point for moving bits was exceptional material. So it's not that we don't care about business models (we even had Bob Frankston speak on the topic), but it's low priority unless there is something exceptionally innovative that can impact the whole innovation landscape. With the Telco 2.0 lot, I'd guess that technological innovation has a low priority unless there is something exceptional that appears there (for example so disruptive it affects business models).

Martin was also "thrown" onto the "What Will Drive Wireless Innovation?" panel just before it started with no warning! The panel also featured Skype, Vodafone, Google, Nokia/Trolltech and Christopher Allen (who initiated the iPhone Dev Camp). Martin was a great addition and did very well, particularly for someone who got added on the spot without prior warning! Martin helped open up the panel discussion by stating that the iPhone would impact the innovation landscape not because of the touch UI Etc. but because it broke free from the current business model (it reversed the current handset subsidy model, such that the handset manufacturer receives money back rather than the consumer). He also played the provocateur by saying that it was changes in business models that would drive innovation!

So trying to make a dichotomy that Telco 2.0 is about "big company perspective" while eComm is about "emerging start-ups" is untrue. We had Skype, Microsoft and Google keynote and ordinary sessions from the likes of Orange, Vodafone, Intel and British Telecom (i.e. clearly not start-ups). We don't care if a company is an international corporation or two men in a garage; what we care about is whether they are driving forwards communications innovation or reducing the barriers to communications innovation. That is the benchmark.

The distinction as outlined is that Telco 2.0 puts its emphasis on business model innovation whereas eComm puts its emphasis on technological innovation. Any overlap is really at the fringes. Rather there is a great interplay between the two, i.e. the two are complimentary. As one can imagine larger corporations tend to have more interest in business models than smaller companies and smaller companies tend to be the most ahead-of-the-curve in terms of innovation, so from that perspective, I see where Andy is coming from.

The ultimate telecom conference on Earth would be an eComm and a Telco 2.0 co-hosted. Anyway, I hope I clarified things!

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