Here Are 22 Tech Visionaries You Missed At Web 2.0

batelle o'reilly web 2.0 summit

With the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco finally over, it’s time to review just what happened.

Among the highlights of the show were 22 — yes, that’s right, 22 — of technology’s most influential and innovative leaders going on stage to break news, reveal new products, give out advice or flail their arms around (in the case of Steve Ballmer).

Former Facebook alumnus Adam D'Angelo started Quora, a question-and-answer site, with Charlie Cheever in 2009.

Since then the site hasn't quite established a monetization strategy, but D'Angelo said he isn't concerned with that just yet. He's all about 'focusing on growth and quality,' he said on stage.

Quora has raised $11 million from a single round of funding.

Anne Wojcicki might have found a cure for Parkinson's

23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki is wife to Sergey Brin -- who also has carries a gene that increases his risk of developing Parkinson's disease, a brain disorder.

Luckily her genetic testing startup has discovered a gene that can block the effects of LRRK 2, which increases the risk of Parkinson's disease in carriers.

Ben Horowitz said Facebook is the best run company in technology

Never mind his specialty in enterprise software -- Andreessen-Horowitz co-founder Ben Horowitz has a serious crush on Facebook.

He also said the following about other top tech companies and leaders:

'Groupon is the fastest growing company in the history of business.'

'Twitter is changing the world.'

'Rockmelt has a great team, a great idea and excellent execution.'

'Zynga, I love it.'

'Steve Jobs, one of the most magical things about him was how many people he proved wrong over and over again.'

Marc Benioff said HP is in serious trouble CEO Marc Benioff made an appearance on the first day and said Hewlett-Packard, which recently appointed Meg Whitman as CEO, was 'in serious trouble.'

He also said he was a big fan of Spotify on Facebook, and said Oracle -- a major competitor for -- was a strong company thanks to all its acquisitions.

Yahoo executive vice president Ross Levinsohn is certainly a believer in his own company.

'It's very rare you have a chance to touch as many people as yahoo does each and every day,' he said. 'It certainly has been an interesting ride, I wouldn't trade it for anything.'

That's despite the company ousting Carol Bartz as CEO earlier this year. Could he be in line as Yahoo's next chief executive officer?

Sergey Brin says he's working too hard at Google

On top of working on Google's autonomous self-driving car project, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said he is working on a number of other advanced research projects four days a week.

'I fear I've taken on too much,' he said.

It turns out Brin is also responsible for Hangouts, a group video chat feature, on the company's social networking site Google+.

Charlie Cheever didn't say a damn thing – again

Quora co-founder Charlie Cheever was his silent, stoic self as always on stage at the Web 2.0 summit this year.


Dennis Crowley isn't too interested in an IPO

Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley said he wants to spend all his time working on the product.

Whether that's within a larger company or while Foursquare is still an independent company doesn't really matter, though.

Still, he said he expects Foursquare to be an independent company for another year. Foursquare now has more than 10 million users.

eBay's John Donahoe said PayPal will live on

Even as other transaction services start their onslaught against eBay's PayPal payments service, eBay CEO John Donahoe isn't losing any sleep.

That's because PayPal can survive and prosper with even a single-digit share of the transaction market, he said on stage at the Web 2.0 summit.

'I'd say is that retail is an enormous market and it's not gonna be a zero-sum market,' Donahoe said. 'I think about retail in the offline world, Walmart is a huge company and they have single-digits market share.'

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee wants to help tech CEOs

San Francisco, Calif., is now the number-one city in terms of growth for high-tech jobs, and Mayor Ed Lee said he plans to do whatever it takes to make sure that growth sticks around.

'We've reached out extensively to tech CEOs to understand what more we can do to help,' he said. 'There are 40 technology companies all currently looking for 2m square feet of office space in San Francisco.'

But San Francisco is still a pretty congested city, so Lee asked the crowd to find someone that can develop an application that will alert someone when their car is about to be towed. The city will release data that will help developers build an app like that in the near future, he said.

'We'll work on that data in the next few months and then you can go at it,' he said. 'I'm confident that our city will continue to be the place where entrepreneurs and innovators flock to us.'

Jack Tretton unveiled a Playstation Vita release date for some reason

File this one under the 'strange timing' category -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America chief executive Jack Tretton unveiled a release date for the company's next handheld gaming device at the Web 2.0 summit.

It's an unusual place to drop an announcement like that, which a company would typically save for a high-profile gaming trade show like the Electronic Entertainment Expo or the Game Developers Conference.

But given how many features from smartphones have inspired the PlayStation Vita, it's not that much of a stretch, Tretton said. The Vita, for example, is now a 3G-enabled device and has a touchscreen and a touchpad on the back of the device.

Kevin Rose unveiled Milk's first project

Kevin Rose left Digg, a news aggregator he founded, earlier this year after a tumultuous time with the company -- where he could not decide whether he wanted a leadership or advisory role.

Since then he went on to start Milk, a mobile app development lab that's designed to rapidly churn out several ideas each year. He revealed Oink, the lab's first project, at the Web 2.0 Summit.

Oink is a review app for the beer in a bar, or the pizza in a restaurant or any other number of 'things' instead of places -- which sites like Yelp review.

Mary Meeker had a lot to say about the Internet

Each year at Web 2.0, Mary Meeker has a presentation about the 'State of the Internet' -- it's incredibly in depth and explains most of the trends emerging for the next year.

This year was no exception as her epic 66-slide, 12-minute presentation explained just how many mobile devices and just how connected the world has become thanks to the smartphone and tablet revolution.

'The world is more connected than it's ever been, 24% of the world is connected on the web and we're more codependent than ever,' she said. 'When you think about the superpowers around the world the co-dependence is actually good for all of us, it's part of the connectivity we're focused on, perhaps the world is safer than ever.'

Meeker said that the world is in a 'once in every 10 or 20 years' period of technological advancement, despite recently going through one of the worst recessions since the great depression.

So much for Android tablets -- Dell chief executive Michael Dell said that Apple has more or less sown up the tablet market at this point.

But he said Windows 8 tablets, which were revealed earlier this year, have the best shot at competing with the iPad.

Mitchell Baker: said we're trapped in the 20th century

'We have essentially created giant data factories with automated processes,' Mozilla Foundation chair Mitchell Baker said.

Companies are just finding ways to more quickly process data instead of using it in smarter ways, which is a very '20th century view of the world,' she said. That's thanks to companies that are just churning out more and more powerful hardware and servers instead of smarter computing algorithms.

Identity is prismatic, and that's a part of being human -- something Facebook and Google have seemingly forgotten, 4chan and founder Christopher Poole said at the Web 2.0 Summit.

'Facebook is consolidating our identity and making us simpler than we truly are,' he said. 'We're about to sacrifice something that's valuable and special, and the complexity of identity is something that defines our humanity.'

Reid Hoffman says the 40-somethings on LinkedIn are the ones handing out jobs

Those youngsters on LinkedIn? It's not like they're handing out jobs on the site anyway.

LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman said the older population on LinkedIn was the user base that was actually using the service to recruit and distribute jobs today at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Calif., today.

He responded to comments about LinkedIn not attracting many young users and criticism that it was largely an older population on the site that was getting the most use out of it.

'You mean people that will give you a job?' he said in reference to older users on LinkedIn.

That being said, the site is still attracting a large number of young users just out of college looking for jobs for the first time. But it's likely small compared to something like Facebook, which attracts more than 750 million users each day and serves as the primary channel of communication for many of its users. Facebook started on college campuses and inherently has a legacy of being built for young people.

Salman Khan is a class act and the crowd loved it

'If this doesn't blow your mind, then you have no emotion,' Khan Academy founder Salman Khan famously said in one of his mathematical education videos.

Well Khan Academy, an online repository of education videos, has seemingly blown the minds of everyone in the tech world thus far. From the moment Khan stood on stage to the moment he left, he was greeted with tremendous praise and applause.

Khan is trying his hand at reshaping education, and it seems to be working so far. After several pilot programs using the Khan Academy method of teaching, one school was able to bring all its students up above the 'far below average' threshold in testing and actually produce several advanced students.

Khan Academy lets students work at their own pace under the impression that a student needs a solid foundation before continuing to the next step. Not all students work and grow at the same pace, he said, but they all will eventually master a subject.

'In the traditional education system, what is fixed is how long you have to learn something and what is variable is how well you learned something,' he said. 'What we're saying is don't rush the foundation, spend as much time on the foundation and then build the first floor.'

Sean Parker's new startup is called Airtime

Sean Parker trotted on stage at the Web 2.0 Summit sporting a leather jacket in place of Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, who had to bow out after his company entered its quiet period on Friday.

On stage he revealed that he was splitting his time between Spotify and his newest startup, Airtime. rumours suggest Airtime will be a real-time random video chat service like Chatroulette.

Microsoft was in a position to buy Yahoo! just before one of the worst recessions in recent history began in 2008.

Luckily, the company passed on that opportunity, and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the company is counting its blessings right about now that it decided against purchasing the company.

Vic Gundotra said Google+ would not have existed without Sergey Brin

Google senior vice president Vic Gundotra joined surprise guest Google co-founder Sergey Brin on stage at the Web 2.0 Summit, and had nothing but praise for his colleague.

'Sergey was intimately involved, Google+ would not have existed without him,' he said.

Google+ now has more than 40 million users, but it's still missing a few key features -- particularly strong support for developers. But despite criticism for the company's lack of support, Gundotra said the company was going to make sure it 'gets it right' when it comes to third-party app development.

He also said several of the most requested features, like brand pages, were coming 'imminently.'

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said his company is worth $8 billion

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo headlined the first day of the Web 2.0 Summit and ended the night with a bang when he disclosed just how much his company was worth -- $8 billion.

'Let's just call it an even $8 billion,' he said on stage when asked about the company's valuation.

Twitter has more than 100 million users, around half of which log in each day to fire off 140-character-long messages called Tweets. Users send out around 250 million Tweets each day.

The highlight of the conference was Mary Meeker's presentation.

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