eComm 's Coming!

It's April - who saw that coming? April means a lot of things, and one of them is eComm. You haven't heard much from me about Lee Dryburgh's "trillion dollar telecom rethink" lately, but the America 2010 edition is coming to San Francisco this month - April 19-21 to be exact. Last year I was on the Advisory Board for this event, but my circumstances are different this year, and I'm not formally involved, so I've been quiet about eComm.

I wish it was just an April Fool's joke, but I won't be attending this time around. However, I've always loved Lee's energy and passion around building this community, and the least I can do is get this shout-out going to make sure you know it's coming. You can read a bit more here in Lee's post this morning on the eComm blog - hopefully this will get a few more people off the fence to join a pretty impressive group and a pretty unique experience. I've written plenty about eComm on my blog, and I'd be there if circumstances allowed, but such is my lot these days. The main thing is that you know it's coming, and if you can make it, you will not be disappointed!

eComm 2009 - Euro Edition - October 28-30

If you follow my blog, you know I was pretty involved with eComm earlier this year, which was held in San Francisco. Building on the momentum from that show, Lee has developed a European-focused edition, and is coming up later this month in Amsterdam.

I've been meaning to do a shout-out for Lee for a while, and it's fortuitous that I'm doing this now. They've just finalized the speaking program, so you should rush over to the eComm site now to see what's on tap.

As you'll see, it's the same format as before - rapid fire, short presentations/talks by an absurdly long list of very connected people who will give you 100 perspectives on how telecom is evolving. Lee favors eclectic and disruptive over tried and true, so most of the speakers will not be household names. However, you won't find a better mix of leading edge ideas and people anywhere, and that's really the value proposition Lee has carved out for eComm.

It's impossible to absorb everything at eComm, so in a way, it's just like the Internet. However, eComm isn't free, but the quality of experience is infinitely better, and you will absolutely come away with at least a few inspirational big ideas as well as meet some really interesting people from both inside and outside telecom. The show has healthy presence in terms of event and media sponsors, and it's great to see eComm getting continued support in these critical areas. The other critical area, of course, is attendance, and I sure hope it draws well. It's a very Euro-centric lineup, and I'm quite certain it will.

Unfortunately, I won't be attending, but as an eComm alumnus, I will follow the daily updates and share them here. I'd love to be there, but my travels never take me overseas, and hope that the stars line up better for me when eComm returns to the U.S. next year. Until then, here's the next best thing I can do: if you follow this link, you can get a 10% discount on the registration. Am not sure how long the discount is in effect for, but don't wait too long!

eComm News - Ken Camp On Board

While this is really a news item, I'm glad to share this since it has a personal connection on a couple of levels. First is the news that colleague Ken Camp has taken on a formal role to help build and bring together the eComm community. Having been an Advisor to the eComm event earlier this year, I've been particularly close to growth challenges that lie ahead. Defining the eComm community is a fleeting task, so all the more reason to make it a bit more real - especially now that the conference is transitioning from a good idea into a viable business.

Yesterday it was announced that Ken is now the Director of Conversations and Marketing, and I think it's a great fit. Don't ask me what these Web 2.0-style job titles really mean - we're all directors of conversations, right? - but I think we understand the mission. It's much like Carl Ford's Community Developer role in his VON days - be a public advocate for the brand and engage people around the eComm vision. I think Ken is really well suited for this, as you really need to be grounded in the technologies and have a good contact network in the community. He's got these in spades, and of course Ken is a social guy, something you absolutely have to be for the role.

So, congrats to Ken on the posting, and hats off to Lee for formalizing this role for eComm and finding someone to take on the task. I'm sure we'll be hearing lots more from Ken as eComm ramps up for its first Euro event this fall. To learn more about the event, and to read more about Ken's news, check out the eComm blog. Also note that the post about Ken includes a link to a podcast that goes into his role and the broader eComm mission in greater length.

Ecomm Updates/Lee speaks on Skype and telecom

Phil Wolff of Skype Journal posted a thought-provoking interview with Lee Dryburgh, and this as good a time as any to report a few updates around Lee's event, eComm.

First, the interview. It starts from SJ's perspective - Skype - and what its future may hold if it breaks away from eBay. This is a good jumping-off point for Phil to engage Lee about Skype's impact on telecom and where the world goes from here. Lee has some very particular ideas about the future of telcos, and the main takeaway for me was the distinction between attention and intention. Before Skype, telephony was all about attention - getting people's attention - and in Lee's mind, telcos do a very bad job of this. In other words, the phone is not very efficient at getting people's attention when you want it - most calls end up in voice mail, on hold, getting transferred, endless IVR options, etc.

Why? Because the PSTN lacks any form of intelligence - the kind that comes with software-based communications tools like Skype or Google. That's where intention comes along. 2.0-style applications can gather intelligence about end users and make crude deductions about behaviors and preferences. We're still very early stage here, but this is what long tail economics is about, and it's pretty easy to see how even simple Presence features make communications more efficient than conventional telephony.

Lee is basically saying we're at the cusp of "phase two" of telecom's evolution, and it builds on what Skype has started. Android will be a pretty good barometer of Lee's vision, and he foresees a world where some legacy telcos will survive, but many will not. I'm not so sure about that, but there's no doubt we'll be seeing some big time disruption in the next few years, and that of course, is what eComm is all about.

How's that for a clever segue into the rest of this post? Speaking of eComm... there are a couple of timely updates that follow nicely on Lee's ideas. First, as an Advisor to eComm 2009, I've been part of some back and forth about the best URL to use for eComm. Based on what's out there, it was very recently decided to use a new URL going forward: Yes, I know it looks a bit odd, but eComm is a pretty unique type of conference, so why not have an unusual Internet handle? Now you know. So, update your bookmarks - here's the new address for eComm.

As you can see, the logo and event name have been updated, and you can also catch up on how the fall event is coming along. It will be in Amsterdam this Fall, and marks eComm's debut in Europe.

Finally, turning the page back the March eComm in San Jose - believe it or not, but Lee is still posting videos and presentations to the eComm blog. This is definitely worth making noise about, since there were so many good presentations. As recently as this Tuesday, Lee has added content, so if eComm 2009 fell off your radar the day after the event, spend some time on the blog. Whether you missed the event or wanted to revisit some sessions, there's lots there to explore. So, kudos to Lee for investing all this after-the-fact time to keep the content, ideas and spirit of eComm fresh.

eComm 2009 - New Presentations Online Now/Mobivox White Paper

I've got two eComm messages to pass along here. While the conference took place earlier this month, there's a lot of sharing still to be done. Another of Lee's virtues is his commitment to building community and sharing knowledge.
In earlier posts following the conference, I've mentioned that Lee will be adding content from the presentations to the eComm website as time allows. This is a big job, and it's great that Lee is still doing this, long after the main buzz from eComm has run its course.

So, in case you missed it, or want to read transcripts or view videos of the sessions, head over to the eComm blog page for the latest content, such as:

- Smule's Ge Wang - among other head-turners, he'll demonstrate how to turn your iPhone into a bona fide musical instrument

- Asterisk's Mark Spencer talking about how Skype and Askerisk fit together

- Columbia University's Tony Jebara talking about how mobile devices and apps are impacting social behavior

- Skype's Jonathan Christensen talking about their new SILK codec and how improved voice quality makes Skype a better experience

Staying with eComm updates, I wanted to pass on a link for Mobivox, who was on my Voice 2.0 session. They launched a white paper at eComm (which I wrote) on how voice can be used in new ways to add value to CRM. If you didn't pick up on it at eComm, you download a copy of the paper by using this link.