Fred Wilson
was the keynote speaker at the SIIA (Software &
Information Industry Association) previews

His topic: Does
information want to be free?

  • The marginal cost of distributing information digitally is zero
  • Over time, price approaches the marginal cost
  • Copy protection (digital rights management) is dead. It’s hackable, customer unfriendly, works against network effects, and carries a high overhead.
  • “As the price of information goes to the zero the supply becomes infinite…we’re all inundated with information now.”

If information does want
to be free, how do you make money?

  • Discovery – help the customer find what they want
  • Navigation – help the customer move through what they find
  • Trust – establishing trust. “What information is the most trusted information?”
  • Governance – how access to the information governed?
  • Values – how networks value the participants
  • Metadata – all of the above is powered by metadata 

He posted his slides on
the Union
Square Ventures blog
. The video is
available for free on Scribe Media.

SIIA previews provided the
forum to “meet the next wave of innovation” as we heard from 11 “promising
companies that create, distribute, and protect content” (from the SIIA print

While all the
presentations where impressive, these were my favorites:

  • Eurekster – “vertical community web search systems for everyone”. If you’re a blogger, go check this one out!
  • Generate, Inc. – An amazing business to business tool that combines “real-time company intelligence with integrated enterprise-class social networking technology.
  • Inform Technologies, LLC – “a web-based platform the processes and translates  web-based content into its common semantic elements.” Go see the demo!
  • Pando Networks – A peer to peer solution for moving large files around. I just subscribed!

Kramer of
covered this presentation as well.