Widgets Aren’t the Thing

Widgets aren’t the thing. Distributed content, yes. ways of getting people to import and export without having to go through any specific website, sure. But widgets, per se? Nah. That’s in a sense what VC Fred Wilson (above) thinks. Fred talked about a “river” of content, in a stream, as on his Tumblr, without any sidebars, or widgets that disrupt and are disjointed and can easily be ignored in sidebars, not to mention greatly slow the loading of the page. Event organizer Matthew Finley told me privately that maybe widgets aren't the right thing to hang this conference on, that maybe next year (the second, which he hopes will make a profit), they'll expand or better position it to include the larger message of what this is.

I like the idea that someone can get only what they want -- perhaps Fred’s musings on financials, without his musical selections. Different tastes, and the ultimate “widgetization” of content, to where I can say give me this of this person and that of that blog, and assemble it for me as I want. Maybe I WANT to be able to ignore something most days, but know it’s there when I want to glance.

Fred calls this “The Implicit Web,” and it’s something you don’t have to even ask for. A user’s action and behaviors “should inform the browser as to what services to call up.”I should have a different experience when he comes to his blog than you, and should be what the Web collectively knows about me, vs. you.

I interviewed Fred and Stowe Boyd on tape, and hope to have it soon. Also, Fred’s keynote. One striking thing Fred said: “A friend named Darren whom I’ve never met” who did a widget mashup for him. One of the striking things he didn't talk about: money. For a VC, he seems rather unconcerned with making revenues from this stuff.

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