Conferences (continued)

I don't like to go to conferences. I explained why in this post.

But every once in a while I do attend one. Ideally it's a smallish gathering on a specific topic that I am interested in.

I'm doing that over the next couple days in Denver at Defrag.

Defrag is a conference about mining data for insight, with a focus on social data and semantic analysis. You need to look no further than our portfolio to see that is something I am quite interested in.

So I am flying out there this afternoon and will be in attendance for most of tomorrow's sessions. And I'll be doing a panel with my friends Brad Feld, Roger Ehrenberg, Howard Lindzon, and Jim Tybur on Social Leverage in the venture capital business. That should be fun.

While I am on the subject of conferences, I will also be at New Business Models For News at CUNY School of Journalism today. I am also doing two keynotes in one day next monday. I'll be opening the Social Recruiting Summit and closing the Business of APIs Conference.

All four of these events are the kind of thing I like to attend. They are small, not that well known, focused on a specific issue, and in the case of three of them, in NYC. I hope I'll see some of you at one or more of them.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Rich C

    See you at the API conference on Monday – I’m looking forward to this one – big fan of Oren and his team at Mashery.

    1. fredwilson

      Me too

      1. omichels

        Thanks to both of you! Consider it mutual!

  2. Harry DeMott

    Dude: you’re flying all the way out to Denver to have the same conversation you have with the same folks at Pastis! the food and drink won’t be better – but the surroundings will be great. Have fun!

    1. fredwilson

      True. But its on my way to a board meeting in SF on friday

      1. ShanaC

        So go to the board meeting a little earlier?

  3. nicheVC

    Fred: I, too, do my best to avoid the mile wide and inch deep set (of conferences). Wishing I could attend the Social Recruiting Summit – have seen some good ideas there. I do inhabit certain education or other niche conferences and will endeavor to post about them. Thanks for the continued focus, moreover guiding light.

  4. Nick Giglia

    Fred, interesting perspective. Do you think they hold value for the up-and-comers, or is the exclusionary nature (from the high cost) enough of a reason to avoid conferences?

    1. reece

      I think New York Entrepreneur Week has a great job for this – staggering their pricing depending on your level within the industry: entrepreneur vs. investor and early stage vs. later stage.It’s not perfect but it’s a start, and with a discount code I can attend a couple interesting panels for $12.50. Well worth it to hear guys like Brad Feld and Albert Wenger.

    2. fredwilson

      The niche ones are cheap or even free. The cost of attendance/exclusionary nature is a good way to determine what to avoid

      1. daryn

        I agree. For up & comers, I’d attend things like StartupDay/StartupWeekend, and the various “camps” to network and learn from peers, and for specific niches I’d seek out the really focused/relevant local events before forking out $$ to attend the big conferences.That said, I did enjoy web2.0 expo both times I attended, because I love all things web, all the verticals, and the breadth of content within each — and a free pass didn’t hurt.Also, I’m going to SXSW in March (interactive-only, sadly can’t stay for music), because I’ve heard great things, there’s so much going on, and every year I alway say “next year”.

      2. ShanaC

        Now that is excellent advice. Go to niche things because they are cheap and/or free. Question- do you learn a lot there? More so than big stuff? Are they friendlier? More fun? More interesting? How do you hear about the niche stuff as opposed to the big stuff?Where do you get lists of niche?

  5. ShanaC

    Homebodyness, and like learning about stuff rather than having a meeting? And if you are going to have a meeting, you want to have something to say? I prefer that too. I don’t like going places unless it is a vacation or unless I’m learning something.(or preferably both at the same time)

  6. Mark Essel

    Defrag looks like a great group, and a particularly compelling topic. I can get a grip on some obscure topic by labeling it with a semantic tag, and software (Zemanta, Calais, Orchestr8) is getting better at doing this in an automated fashion. Pulling the data together, aggregating the information streams most relevant to each person is probably the most exciting trend I see coming. But as we drill down into the nuances of specific content we see other trends that are more subtle correlations. Emergence properties of swarm entities, optimal information flow networks, and the evolving social web all have fundamental commonalities. High level tools that help empower the average web user to customize their information portal, and share their constructs will tap into the latent creative value we possess as a species. Tools like WordPress and Squidoo which are shaking up the web publishing world, are living examples of this shift.

  7. Pete

    These look good… no Web 2.0, I notice.There’s a lot of untapped potential in social recruiting. I recently wrote a post about the democratization of recruiting, I’d love to hear others’ thoughts:…Pete

    1. fredwilson

      Big horizontal gatherings don’t interest me very much

  8. Scott Scheper

    Conferences are only worth it when you attend with a goal in mind. I rarely attend conferences; but when I do, it’s either to (i) Find more monetization networks/firms (by meeting ad networks) like those affiliate summits, or (ii) find some strategic partnerships for distro opps (bundling products/apps).Everything else can be found by reading or talking to customers/partners.I also make it a point to stay away from any conference that centers around twitter. Like tweetups or 140 conferences. Unless I’m missing something big, those seem like a complete waste of time.

  9. harpos_blues

    Fred,One conference I would suggest is DARPATech (formerly the DARPA Symposium). DARPATech is/was only held every 18-24 months, the last in Aug. 2009. DARPATech allows all participant in defense and/or military research programs to get together, showcase projects, socialize and network. It’s a lot of fun, and very affordable.It’s an wonderful opportunity for members of the commercial sector to identify technologies appropriate for commercialization and “dual-use”, and it’s an excellent opportunity to recruit extraordinary scientific and engineering talent.DARPA has an upcoming contest called the “DARPA Network Network Challenge” that could be interesting for a couple of USV portfolio companies: Bug Labs, FourSquare, and perhaps Zemanta.More detail here:DARPA Network Challengehttp://networkchallenge.dar…In particular Bug Labs may be of interest to DARPA, for use as command & control modules in autonomous light ground or air vehicles, the type you see developed for the DARPA Grand Challenge(s):… .Sun Microsystems “Sun Spot” ( has gained quite following as a command & control device for autonomous vehicles in the commercial and academic sectors as well as defense.

    1. fredwilson

      I’ll let Bug know. Very interesting. Thanks

      1. harpos_blues

        I can see Bug being used in any type of robotics, as a portable, removeable, programmable command & control device. From farm tractor, ALAVs to toys. DARPA has decades of experience in robotics and it’s a well-funded area.DARPA program managers are highly entrepreneurial and in the past were empowered to fund projects “on-the-fly”. In addition, DARPA encourages partnerships between industry, academia/research, gov’t applications. They will often “arrange a marriage” between various parties in similar areas of R & D.I’ve benefited from an arranged partnership on past projects, and it was mutaually beneficial to all parties — and a lot of fun!

        1. fredwilson

          And they funded the creation of the internet. The best VC investment of all time

          1. kidmercury

            just wanted to drop a bit of doom and gloom into this conversation about DARPA:DARPA’s attempt to create a super spy system (unconstitutional, of course, but most things the govt does these days are)DARPA creates terrorism futures markets (creates incentive to make your bets come true)

          2. fredwilson

            Can’t argue with that so much. But the exhaust fumes of our paranoia can produce amazing things

          3. kidmercury

            true. and wait till the government secrecy collapses and all that they’ve been hiding gets revealed. technology that will change the world forever will be ours.

  10. Jason L. Baptiste

    Still on for speaking at the Future of Web Apps Conference down here in Miami in Feb? Always a great crowd, that matches up with your post on what conferences you like to go to. Warm weather in February doesn’t hurt either.

    1. fredwilson

      Yes, I’ll be there

  11. Scott Yates

    Watch out! There’s been one keynote at #defragcon and the Twiiter crowd was rough! (They also had some valid criticisms.)

    1. fredwilson

      Watch out where? Defrag, social recruiting, or bapi?Maybe all three when I think about it!

      1. Scott Yates

        Defrag.I left that out of the first version, but then went back and edited in the hashtag.Here’s a post that gets into it, and has a link to the tweet stream:…I actually thought the presentation was fine, if perhaps too dismissive of floor moppers. I wish he would have said, “I’m glad we have people mopping the floors so that we have clean floors.” He didn’t, but the rest of it was just what Defrag wanted, which was to get people thinking in big-picture ways for the first presentation of the day.

        1. ShanaC

          Any way to see what he said? I saw elements of a livecast. But he got that busted- anything saved?

        2. fredwilson

          I think andy is a very smart guy

  12. Prokofy

    Fred,Speaking of conferences, I wonder if you have seen this news coming out of the Virtual Goods conference:A big fight between Arrington of TechCrunch and a Zynga representative:…Blogosphere commentary:http://www.pixelsandpolicy….(misinformed)This is a complex story but I hope that in some respects you could come to the defense of Zynga, in which you invest, because I think Arrington’s critique goes way too far, and I think there’s an agenda here, but I can’t parse what it is.

    1. kidmercury

      hahaha the shukla vs arrington beef has gotten tons of publicity, loads of fun for the spectators.regarding the techcrunch/zynga beef check pincus’ blog, his blog has basically become a response blog of late to mikey, lol

    2. fredwilson

      That fight was between arrington and the ceo of offerpal, not zyngaBut it is true that arrington did go after zynga last week on his blog for things they and their lead gen partners have done relating to questionable lead gen offersIn many ways it was a good thing as it caused zynga to have some hard discussions with their lead gen partnersI think it will be a good thing for the social gaming industry long term, but I also think zynga was unfairly singled out in the process

      1. Prokofy

        thanks for your comment and clarificationI don’t care for what seem like tacky offers. I don’t like Netflix, which many people swear buy (didn’t you say that you actually use it or your relative use it to order movies — and doesn’t everybody!). I feel there is too much churn in an industry like that and there’s something unsettling about how they are willing to aggresively go after parts of pennies on a mass basis.BUT, I accep that as part of the scenery in the overall development of virtual worlds, virtual currency, and virtual goods and I think Ed Castronova had a point some years ago when he said at the State of Play conference that someday, we will even drop the descriptor “virtual” from these things. So many financial transactions are online now, isn’t it even more virtual?I don’t understand what is really driving Arrington on this. I wonder if it is a kind of default hatred of UGC that isn’t under the control of companies he supports. I also have to wonder why this week, suddenly he is very much pushing a new browser MMORPG out of the blue — since when does he push games? I think it all needs more research.

      2. kidmercury

        personally i think mikey is doing a good job overall with his crusade on this issue. i mean it is funny that he is portraying himself as a crusader against evildoers, but i actually have to give him props on this, as i think he is showing some real journalistic integrity/courage in a way, which i must admire. that’s especially sad for me because you can’t really beef with and make fun of a person you have to give props to. so i’m foregoing a lot of jokes here, which is quite unfortunate. hopefully mikey will do something stupid and cowardly in the near future so i can go back to pouncing on him.

        1. Prokofy

          Michael Arrington is not a journalist. To describe him even as a tech blogger is a stretch even for that industry. He is a tech investor with a popular website. He is like Fred. Fred crusades, too, but at least Fred isn’t saying “I’m a journalist” but just crusades as a citizen-venture capitalist.Michael Arrington is up to something here, but it’s not the topic of this blog so I’ll put it on my own blog.

          1. kidmercury

            we’re in agreement on this issue, prokofy. i have literally sang my heart out about how mikey is not a journalist. you can get that track in itunes, btw.but just because we agree on this does not mean that our previous beef on open vs closed systems is resolved. i still won that beef and as previously noted i do look better than you. you may have deleted your avatar, but we all know the truth.

          2. Prokofy

            I haven’t deleted any avatar. I have an avatar but for some reason it’s just not showing up right now, not sure why, usually I see it on Disqus.You haven’t won any debate about anything. Your notion of open systems tends towards the wacky with investment in Internet gold schemes, and that’s just not viable for me or most people.

          3. kidmercury

            if by “wacky” you mean “up over 50% in the past year” then yes, gold is quite wacky.the official debate winner,kid mercury

          4. Prokofy

            What I know about Internet gold investors is that the people in Second Life who claimed to be making those “too good to be true and probably isn’t” numbers were the same people running the banking scams and pyramid schemes that eventually collapsed and made little mini-precursors to the Madoff story. That sort of reputation clings to the “Internet gold” thing regardless of what you say or debates you imagine you won.I personally value experience and the life of the mind more than making gold but maybe that’s because I’m not good at it. I do take in about US $2000 a month from thousands of small transactions in Lindens in Second Life from all my customers, so I think in five years I have amassed a lot of experience about how virtual goods work and what sells and I even occasionally do some consulting for people to help them. Yet the fixed costs for server rental (tier) and the fact that you can’t really pay yourself a salary make it only a tiny business for sure, almost not worth the trouble if you are not fascinated by people and systems. Business never interested me until I could have tools like the levers of SL to see how it works. To just park money into something and wait for it to grow interest seems terribly dull to me, but as I said, I just don’t care enough about it. As they say, you can’t take it with you.

          5. kidmercury

            you should start your own world, prokofy. not sure how you are going to market it since you think we are all eternally doomed to poverty if content is free, but i think you would be able to run a very good world, and could make a lot of money off selling virtual goods if done properly.

          6. ShanaC

            Kid- Can you take your gold on delivery? And would you? I mean really stick it in a lockbox somewhere.Only ask because you get some funny views about this stuff once you’ve sawed out nickle silver and copper by hand. Buying sheet silver from the street and not having a stable studio to do silver soldering properly and learn lost wax based techniques of silver casting, has changed my perspective. So is loving the Met and the Temple of Karnak in the Anciet Egypt section, and the Oriental Institute here. They had a hell of a gold collection, and trust me, it didn’t help them. Their world was based in Gold and other straight commodity items, up to trade in kind.The romans were much less reliant on gold. technically they had a metal based currency. It wasn’t a bullion currency though, it was a wieght based currency based on the wieght of certain metals. The actual coin was worth more than the base metal. It was more vulnerable to price flucations than a trade in kind system. There was a market made for coins.I doubt you want to take delivery of gold. Or live in a world where you want everything backed by such a limited supply of one thing. I get why you want to make it commodity backed, but it actually makes it harder to trade goods-in-kind, especially if you want to make goods-in-kind 1:1 parity. If I have a way of making all wheats if a certain kind parable, and we move back to a system, it will be much harder to trade in kind quickly. It’s one of the reasons we floated currencies in the first place. At the same time, if I am not mistaken, we went off the gold standard, we also saw the growth of the debt market, the equity market, and the derivative market, alongside the growth of computers on wall street. We also developed a system to make sure we could analyze all of this stuff, and tools to work them (the spreadsheet). You would basically have to wind back down history to Bretton-woods, as well as pre-depression era banking, and parts of the Opec Oil-Shock, and decide that it is easier as a system to not know what others are doing and make markets out of it. It would mean turning off huge amoutns of information that we have now.The question is: Can we focuses it and narrow it into useful streams rather than wide rapids to cross? Right now, we’re cascading into some massive problems. We’ll hopefully get out of some of them, but if we don’t realize how to, it will be a nervewrecking place to be in 50 years out.

          7. kidmercury

            do i take delivery of gold… know it shana!!!! but these days for delivery i focus on silver, as that will be much more applicable to daily transactions. and if we get to a point where we are actually trading gold and silver coins as money….lol, oh man there are going to problems so big who knows if a gold or silver coin is actually going to be able to help you. but i am very precaution-oriented, and so i do have physical gold and silver in possession; i view it as a no-brainer when thinking of real insurance policies. the majority of my gold though is stored in vaults with bullion vault, which i can fully manage online. “At the same time, if I am not mistaken, we went off the gold standard, we also saw the growth of the debt market, the equity market, and the derivative market, alongside the growth of computers on wall street.”yup, and all those markets suck, as we are in the process of learning. computerized trading, which i invest in and plan to invest more in should i be fortunate to acquire greater wealth, is a casino. it is not real investing in productivity like fred and that type of venture capitalists do. it is actually counterproductive and distorts prices (but i encourage people to do it otherwise they will get robbed via price inflation). when you perpetually inflate the money supply, as has been done in the USA since the end of the gold standard in 1971, you create an environment where production is increasingly not dictated by market supply and demand, but rather by what wall st wants to gamble on. as an example, real estate prices are MASSIVELY over inflated (because govt printed too much money and then created the tax incentives and welfare handouts to have this money wind up in the real estate market). even now, when the free market rears its ugly head to bring prices back down to reality, govt AGAIN inflates the money supply to make the problem worse. the result is people spend half their income on a small apt. and gold is trading over $1100/oz. “It would mean turning off huge amounts of information that we have now.” not really. all it would do is ensure money is not overcreated and that is distribution is a bit more democratized. all the other markets and stuff can exist. what we may find, though, is that a lot of that stuff is unnecessary; it is noise. clearing out the noise will make it easier to hear the signal.

          8. fredwilson

            Ewe had terrible price inflation in the US in the 70s. IBM and DEC were still good investments. Give me real businesses with cash flow over silver and gold anytimeNow, I do think putting some of your fixed income assets into australian denomination is a good idea and was an even better idea a year ago

          9. ShanaC

            There were runs on metal based currencies and inflation in the Roman Republic and Empire Period as well. Metal never solves, it is what you value. It’s a form of fiat currency…

          10. kidmercury

            as i have noted before gold is not perfect, nor do i think a return to the gold standard is the ideal solution — but it sure beats what we currently have, which is insanity, as evidenced by the wealth allocation thorughout the world (the 1% that owns everything is not really that much smarter and more entrepreneurial than everyone else…rather the game is simply rigged in their favor). there is inflation and cheating of sorts under the gold standard, but it is not nearly as outrageous as what we currently have. ultimately even central banker alan greenspan, the primary man responsible for this current economic mess, admitted that gold is necessary to economic freedom in an essay he wrote entitled, “gold and economic freedom.”

          11. fredwilson

            Gold is like a tractor in farmville. It is only valuable because people value it. It does not produce cash flow. It is useless to me. Give me google, facebook, amazon, and other cash machines at a fair price. You all can have all the gold you want

          12. kidmercury

            well, the proof is in the pudding; gold is up over 50% over the past year. the DJIA just got back to 10,000, where it was a decade ago. unfortunately, the dollar lost a lot of purchasing value over the past decade, so the 10,000 DJIA now is worth less than the 10,000 DJIA a decade ago. meanwhile, gold has nearly quadrupled in value over the past ten years. i agree with you that gold is a terrible investment, but an excellent store of value, as it has been for several thousand years. in a world where there are no other formidable stores of value (save perhaps oil), that makes gold quite is true that gold is only valuable because people value it. but what isn’t?

          13. fredwilson

            cash flow

          14. kidmercury

            indeed, cash flow is for investments, which gold is not. but as for taking the cash flow from investments and storing the portion meant for savings in gold? now that’s what i’m talkin’ about!lol, but you are just an eternal optimist, you are not going to like gold no matter what. gold is bad news, even people who are not familiar with gold instinctively know liking it requires accepting bad news. as bad news is my specialty it is only fitting i embrace gold.

          15. ShanaC

            I don’t want Gold (ok, if I were dating someone very seriously, and he gave me a gold bullion, I’m not saying no, you’re a shmuck, for giving me gold, though I would wonder what was the senitment)I do what to create a liquid markets and equivalent systems available for the Farmville money that allows you to buy the Tractor so that you can do what you do with Google et al which are in the public markets Fair is fair. It’s just a matter of identifying how the cash flow works and how to create spread. That is much more complex than even I really understand, because it really means radicalizing the notion of what money is in these spheres. It would be beyond normal market cap of a company to take them into somewhere like a country, except not- and what does that even mean. And how would you treat that? How do you treat the people involved? What would people do exactly under the circumstances?I don’t really know…It’s never been done on a hugely massive scale needed to make it really doable. which is the problem…It needs cohesion to happen and become valuable and to create real cash flows, otherwise it is immensely silly.

          16. ShanaC

            It’s showing now. It can take a few moments. I like the glasses choice FYI.

          17. Prokofy

            No, I had to re-upload my picture. It fell out for some odd reason. These aren’t glasses but a monacle.

          18. ShanaC

            Still a nice monacle.

      3. ShanaC

        Second that notion, but it raises more questions than answers for my type. They’re creating currency. So is Disqus. So is foursquare. So is WoW. I would like to redeem my currency. That is all. I would like to also trade my currency with other currencies. And I have no idea if they are inflating or not…I don’t think p2p contacts and also sorts of mechanical turking and semantic web stuff will ever solve the problem. You have ontology problems. Whats a Disqus point equivalent to? How much is a facebook friend worth- and that’s how Offerpal got into the advertising problem in the first place when it got tangled up in fake/real currency. It might be better to figure out how to create spreads on the stuff… Except everyone I keep talking to says, no way, not possible. Or why would you do that.(actually in the case is foursquare, I would like a functioning phone so I can earn more currency at my favorite coffee shop)Either way, When I get to 100 disqus points, I want to know how much they are worth, and where I can store them secondarily, and how I can trade them off site for somewhere else, For sheer curiosity sakes.

        1. andyswan

          Shana your entire first paragraph could be in reference to any of the “G20” just as much as it is to social-web startups….it’s a new world of fiat currency everywhere!

          1. kidmercury

            you nailed it andy! a new world order of fiat currencies! but this time around it’s going to be very easy to switch from one fiat currency to another. gone are the days of consumers being locked in to a perpetually depreciating currency. now, in our new world order of fiat currencies, the central bankers compete for us.

          2. andyswan

            Agree with your premise and spirit but the days of ignorant consumers are, unfortunately, far from gone.  Baby steps.

          3. ShanaC

            no, be the central bankers. and further offer derivatives on both the companies and individuals who opt in.Add data that second market doesn’t have and can’t have.And the problem is not an API, it’s building the social supports( companies plus regulators might be afraid), figuring how to create a float, but a commercial side and an investment bank side, and then convince someone that this is liquid.

          4. ShanaC

            I don’t agree, if I think about it, we’re still ignorant in so many ways.”I know that I know nothing” Socrates., Apology, On the pronunciation of the Oracle of Delphi that he is the Wisest man.

          5. andyswan

            Little known fact…..that historical statement was followed by ” but I know I know more than your dumbass!” (high-five)

          6. ShanaC

            I use it like Dr. Bloom would state about the later dialogues: With Socratic irony.I don’t think average consumers in the US at least are going to go running around to trade on a daily basis lots of currencies. The notion that for certain items a weak dollar might be good is beyond some people.

        2. Prokofy

          People find way to make bank and cash out no matter how you set up the currency. Free enterprise by human beings always and everywhere breaks through any communist or other obstacles put on it.The currency in Second Life is deliberately made to cash out and has an exchange. Within Second Life, people actually wind up trading other game currencies at times. I’ve also seen people in World of Warcraft who are *not* the “Chinese gold farmers” trade their currency for real-life dollars or real-life goods. You cannot escape this. It is everywhere. People sell accounts with game points on them all the time.I didn’t realize there were Discqus points. I see I have only 12 despite my prolific commenting. Hmm. Well, I will accept L$75 for my Disquis points in Second Life, if there is a way to send them to you.There used to be a site called Gaming Open Market that forthrightly exchanged some of the game currencies, and another site called IGM or something that used to do this as well. They caved eventually because in the first case of GOM, Linden Lab coopted them, and in the second I think they were closed due to fraud. It’s a difficult business to run safely legally and well.

          1. ShanaC

            Without a Liquid pool to measure against, no. I want to see the CME Group float that trade. Just to see what the point values and the dollar values versus LD. GOM was the right move. They should have sole themselves the CME though and took themselves seriously… What I really want to see is the risk of default of some Web 2.0 Products and People, And gaming products and people, and create futures contracts on them. And create some loans…Lets make some mischief…for what if you are saying is true, then the market is there, and currently illuquid.Put a bank in, work with the markets to actually cause mass trades (not just individual ones, but massive trades, including basket derivate trades like the USDX) and let’s see what people do. And let’s see what companies do in response. They may or may not have to respond so strongly to the advertising dollar respectively. They may be able to adjust the game around the idea of virtual goods more easily/less easily.They still need to treat themselves like they are in non-euclidean parallel spaces at some point. This space will eventually become institutionalized with regular matching day to day istitutions that match “real space.” It’s a matter of when and how and what they will look like.

        3. fredwilson

          All in good time

          1. ShanaC

            I have some patience, but I’m not famous for it. It may be my dream, but it is an inherently extremely disrupting one, which is why it is extremely hard to get anyone to commit to it.I realize I’m a radical at times. I’m ok with that. I just need to get through the next week first**First BA crit. Don’t ask.

      4. David Semeria

        ..but I also think zynga was unfairly singled out in the processAs the market leader, it was perhaps inevitable…

        1. fredwilson


    3. David Semeria

      .. I think there’s an agenda here, but I can’t parse what it is.Parse is not a synonym of understand. Neither in the humanities nor technology.

      1. Prokofy

        “Parse” isn’t just about “understanding” it’s about groking, to use an old 1960s slang word.And I didn’t make this term up, I got it from tekkies. I actually first recall hearing this term from Will Wright, the game designer of the Sims, and he most certainly used it in the sense of “comprehend”. I hear Linden coders say “parse” all the time to mean not just pulling something apart or categorizing it or parsing as in “parse verbs” but to “understand”. So while it doesn’t mean that for you, it does for other people.

        1. David Semeria

          Unconvinced – which is not the same as saying I don’t believe you.

          1. Prokofy

            You’re of course welcome to say you don’t believe me. And saying that wouldn’t mean “I’m lying”. It would mean merely that I wasn’t persuasive for you.BTW, your claim that there isn’t even a technical meaning for “parse” is very strange:…”The process of analyzing a text, made of a sequence of tokens (for example, words), to determine its grammatical structure with respect to a given (more or less) formal grammar.”But that indeed can be about *understanding*.And see this standard definition of semantic parsing, which is about understanding meaning.…I have a degree in language and linguistics, not that it matters.

          2. David Semeria

            “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously” (Chomsky)Certainly parseable, but alas not understandable.

          3. kidmercury

            i have to agree with david on this one. in david semeria vs prokofy, i vote david.

          4. fredwilson

            I’m never saying I don’t believe you to prokofy

          5. David Semeria


  13. Aristotle

    Fred, I just read your previous post on conferences, and was inspired by it. You reminded me of one of my favorite sayings: “you can never become successful, you can only be successful.”I’m not attending any of those conferences, but I do live in San Francisco. Let me know if you’d like to meet up and grab a cup of coffee when you’re here.

    1. fredwilson

      My visits to SF are always crazy because I pack a ton of stuff in and head back to NYC as soon as possible

  14. Glenn Gutierrez

    Ooo. Cool conferences. The Denver one looks really interesting.

  15. Doug Kersten

    Wow, I really wish I could have gone to the New Business Models For News event. I have been reading Jeff Jarvis’ book and have been inspired by the Knight News Challenge to take some things I’ve been working on and apply them to local news. It seems like the local news space is really beginning to heat up with people getting serious about working on sustainable business models. I didn’t realize until the last few months, when I first got interested in it, how many opportunities there are in local news. Check out my Knight grant proposal if you want ( http://talktownnews.wikidot… ) and let me know what you think.