I attended and spoke at a technology entrepreneur conference in California this week — aside from the group witnessing the unique event of the Toronto Maple Leafs winning an away game (I admit they played well), i also had the pleasure of listening to some young companies on the path of excellence.
What was clear from this event is new avenues of innovation have opened up around social networking — in particular, how it can be leveraged to either enhance the community using a product, or itself be used to augment the effectiveness of something else.
In fact, some of the ideas shown were a bit scary in terms of how they realize the full potential of the information on the internet. If you focus on the 15-30 crowd, there is so much personal (and public) information available on-line, you could auto-write a biography of everyone in that demographic. This public information can be used to dramatically improve targeted advertising, help tell you what’s going on around where you are located, help identify any friends in the area and more. All real products actively generating revenue and ready to scale if they can virally reach the market first (many companies are targeting the same set of ideas).
Data is king, it was king at this event with probably 1/3rd of the companies using data to provide their value proposition, and the other companies pursuing more traditional market spaces. The only thing I missed from this event was more in-depth interaction with the leaders of the companies, they were too caught up in business pitches to take advantage of what this particular event had to offer — expertize to help them succeed.