Xerox tech boss's virtual math

Owen Thomas · 09/25/08 11:40AM

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — Does Xerox CTO Sophie Vandebroek have trouble with basic numberwork? At MIT's EmTech conference, she asked the audience how many people had "avatars" — digital characters for virtual worlds like Linden Lab's Second Life. From what I saw, half a dozen people out of some 300 attendees raised their hands. "Perhaps 25 percent!" she said, as she played a video showing off Xerox's presence in Second Life. I am not sure what is more disturbing: Vandebroek's miscounting, which one might blame on the bright stage lights, or her inability to calculate the lack of a return on investment in Second Life, which has no such excuse. Here's a clip of Vandebroek talking in Second Life:

A gigantic picture of Robert Scoble for no reason

Owen Thomas · 09/24/08 03:20PM

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — Fast Company videoblogger Robert Scoble, who has discovered in the Web a popularity which escaped him in high school, has been moderating a panel titled "Web 2.0/Web 3.0 Mashup" at MIT's EmTech conference for the past hour. There are people from Facebook, Six Apart, and Plaxo on stage with him. With no introduction, Scoble launched into a meandering conversation about data portability, online video, URIs, social TV guides, and the Olympics. An hour later, it still has no sign of going anywhere. Joseph Smarr of Plaxo talks very fast. Dave Morin of Facebook seems very tired. Sample quote: "The pace of change is not indexable from a central service." The audience appears to be stunned into stupor. Does it matter that nothing is being said? Perhaps not; perhaps the point is to show this audience of technology generalists how insubstantial the obsessions of the Valley's geek set are.