Northern Voice 2009: Stewart Butterfield Keynote

The first keynote of the conference was from Stewart Butterfield, one of the co-founders of Flickr. I really liked his session, mostly because as he said “I don’t need to have a point right?” He started out by sharing his history on the Internet – starting with his schooling at UVic, usenet groups, etc. His first three handles were “ui503”, “sbutterf”, and “dsb26”. Stewart is only ten years older than I am, but that’s enough for many of his first experiences on the net to be unknown to me. Very interesting stuff.

Stewart Butterfield Keynote

Stewart repeated this phrase throughout his presentation: “This is who I am.” He said he didn’t want to talk about identity too much, but he started with that and made his way toward talking about community. Stewart says that community changes the phrase to: “This is who we are.”

Next, he moved on to Flickr and photography. Stewart identified three trends:

  1. Ubiquity of capture devices
  2. Spread of the network
  3. Change in perceptions and attitudes – participation is no longer weird

He said that the desire to participate is becoming widespread. I think I agree with him that one of the most interesting aspects of “Web 2.0” is the drive toward participation.

Stewart’s last point was that we’re in an era of “relationship-based computing”. I think that’s a good way to describe it.

He finished by saying he loves the Internet. Me too!

I think this was a great way to start the conference – entertaining, and not too much thinking required.

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