Yes! The O'reilly team have finally got it going on in Europe. Last year's Web 2.0 Expo somewhat sucked, but for the wrong reasons. The venue was terrible , I mean worst that anywhere else I've been. They placed the expo in the middle of this huge lifeless exhibition centre and the staff made everyone feel like a alien. Some people say the Excel Centre can feel like that sometimes but honestly you have no idea how lifeless thing really can get till you see this place.
Anyway those days are forgotten now, the BCC is right in the middle of town and a short walk from Alexandplatz which meant more Sbahn riding for me that last time but it was worth it. 3 Levels, lots of space and helpful staff made already good conference really very good. So to get all the moans out of the way first and to be fair to the barcampberlin post I just wrote.
The programme for the conference was a little scatty, so yes there were interesting talks but it seemed like sometimes you had to choose between 3 really good sessions and sometimes settle for one. The quality of the speakers were variable sometimes too, but I think thats mainly down to language that anything. For example I was in the OAuth talk and by the time the presenter had explained a typical Oauth transaction as such, I was getting bored and started falling a sleep. It was about 15mins too long. The transaction could have been explained in less that 5mins I felt, specially because most people in room already knew how permissions and OpenID worked. That certainly reminds me that next time I should put a presentation in about something.
Food wasn't bad, a little basic but filling enough. I found the Wifi actually not bad but they seemed to be blocking ports, so Jabber didn't work which meant no Jaiku, Yammer, etc access while at the conference without going to the webpages. The web access was very slow but twitter perfectly usable. I wouldn't have wanted to upload any pictures while there because that was very slow.
Tim Oreilly came out and gave a keynote pretty much about what he had said in New York a while back. It was all about the downturn and what this means for web 2.0. Tim's been talking about it for a while anyway. This was also picked up by many other speakers so there was a sense of doom and gloom surround the conference but people were also telling us to do something meaningful. Great stuff but then again, there was 2 fireside chats with one Yossi Vardi and second Martin Varsavsky
Both talked about how they started and sold there startups. Which seemed very strange when you got all this doom and gloom happening. I guess it was all planned that way to break up the doom and gloom? Maybe?
Anyway, I attended a lot of sessions and although being pretty tired from overdoing it on the night. What I found interesting was the amount of value you got for the 13 euro expo only pass. The obvious stuff like the talks, parties and food/drink were not included but most other things were fine (even the keynotes were included)
On the Startup Ignite front, I liked aka-aki, Amazee and Soundcloud. But really didn't see the point of the others, specially iDesktopTV in the face of things like Boxee. The Berlin Girl Geekdinner was a blast and really started off the web 2.0 expo in the best of ways. I believe that night I stayed out with a small group of people including Nicole till 4am. I also did get into a conversation with Stephennie Booth about the subject of quotas or as I wanted to call it affirmative action. She had some really interesting things to say about it which I'd hoped to catch at the session Suw and Steph ran later but it didn't quite happen. Actually I have the recording of that session which
need to upload I've uploaded to Blip.tv (mp3) (ogg).
Rather that turn this entry into a massive long one, I'll end it by saying it was a really good conference. Everyone knew it and felt a lot happier about it that last year. I think next year, there should be a attempt to bring back web 2.0 open again (that worked well from last year) but in the same space of the berlin congress centre. Good Work Oreilly and Techweb, see you next year.