A panel of prophets?


Last Thursday I participated in a panel at an event entitled “The Future of Digital Media: Predictions for 2008.” The event was recorded and will soon be posted, but in the meantime here is a page about the event with more details and some pictures.

The even was hosted by Ember Media, held at The Armory and featured their CEO Clayton Banks keynoting some predictions for the coming year.

The predictions didn’t contain too many shockers (though I have blogged 1.5 years ago here about where I think the set-top box is headed – hint: straight into your pocket, and Clayton’s legislative prediction about a minimum, symmetrical bandwidth goal is something I find hard to imagine in a country where we can’t get network neutrality, municipal wi-fi, or even rural connectivity right). After the keynote, Clayton asked myself and my fellow panellists – Kay Madati, VP of Community Connect, and Alan Stern, Editor CenterNetworks – a series of smart questions.

It’s been a little while since I’ve hung out with this many entrepreneurs and it was refreshing. I definitely appreciated the opportunities to discuss privacy, the politics of bandwidth, and economics of sharing and test the theoretical chops I have been sharpening in grad school.

Reflecting on the evening, I was a bit frustrated at what seemed like a get-rich-quick entitlement that some of the questions implied. At one point I wanted to shout – 9 out of 10 restaurants in NYC fail – why do you think your digital media company deserves anything different? Micropayments?!? I remember hearing that elusive siren song back in ’99 at MaMaMedia… and smarter folks than I agree that free is a stable strategy… in fact, when copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied. Try concentrating on creating real value in the world, and trust me, the wealth will follow. But, I suppose not all of us have incorporated alchemical wisdom into our daily lives.

Thanks to everyone who was involved in organizing this event – it was a great success!

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