Northern Voice 2009 Friday Keynote with Stewart Butterfield


Friday, February 20th, 2009 — 9:20am PST
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As I took my seat at the very front of the auditorium (like a keener) for Northern Voice 2009 I realized I forgot my card-reader as well as my camera cable. The result of this being none of my photos will be uploaded until the evening so in the meantime I’m going to grab a bunch from John Biehler (who is uploading his pics on the fly). That in itself is not a terrible thing, it’s actually a fantastic system since John’s photos from last night’s dinner are pretty spectacular, here’s a sampling:


Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

Update: The fact that I’m sharing John’s photos from Flickr is fitting seeing as how our morning keynote is none other than Stewart Butterfield — one of the founders of Flickr.


Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

Update: Stewart’s keynote begins as a photo story, from an image of a shack in the woods to illustrate his home town of Lund, to black and white hippie photos of him and his parents, and a young Stewart in a “Radio Shack Computer Camp” trucker-style hat.

“Back then, in 1992, the internet was a way to keep in touch with people going to university in other places,” mentions Stewart while sharing some of his old usernames and email addresses (that, at the time, were at least 20 characters long). He’s also showing some postings he’s made to groups online (circa 1993) including his first online community rec.music.phish.

“There was a web when I first got online but it was such a small thing, there was so little content there that it didn’t pop on my radar til about 1994.” His first real expressions on the web was Sylloge, and he shows us an example of its activity using the Wayback Machine.

Update: “When I first got online, Howard Rheingold had already written a book, The Virtual Community.”


Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

Update: Stewart moves on to “this is who I am” and shows images of various ways people express themselves and who they are, from bumper stickers to hairstyles and clothing. “People tend to pick up more adhoc bits of culture,” while a photo of a crowded auditorium pops up with Apple notebook symbols glowing (and a little red arrows points out the single PC user).

Update: “In the early days, photography was about memory preservation,” notes Stewart as the Flickr logo spins up on to the screen. Trends Stewart highlights include: Ubiquity of capture devices, Spread of the network, Change in perception and attitudes — participating is no longer weird.

“Obese man in underwear hunched over computer in basement,” pops up on a slide as Stewart addresses some of the stereotypes of internet users and mentions another trend: The desire to participate became very wide spread. Stewart shows an image of Obama and the crowd before him, each person with their own camera. “You can see a whole wall of LCDs.”

“There was a time when you wanted to make music, you would head into the parlour and friends and family members joined you,” moving on to a brief discussion about Web 2.0. “This will probably be the last time I have to do this presentation because I think we’re going to stop calling it web 2.0.” It’s about creating and sharing rather than consuming.

A graph representing internet usage pops up on screen, “when you look at this graph you must know it’s totally made up — but it’s super positive!”

Stewart address the changing role of computing over the years including, ‘Relationship-based computing’ which replaces document-based computing which replaced application-based computing (from Stewart’s slide).

Update: The presentation ends with “Anyway, this is why I love the internet.”


Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

The keynote has ended so it’s time to pick up the schedule and see where I should head next. There are so many tracks and presentations today (including an unconference track that will have sessions added in a few minutes). Ill continue my coverage today in another post but so far, NV09 is off to a great start.

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Northern Voice 2009 The Death of Advertising with Chris Heuer
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Northern Voice Dinner 2009 and Last Minute Notes
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