Anyway, the speech started with the typical marketing stuff, which isn't that interesting, and honestly I think Gates himself wasn't that interested in it. He's a geek first I'm sure, but he has a giant company to plug.
He brought on the MySpace guys... my God... they're just kids. I clearly missed an opportunity while I was wasting away working for shitty companies. Not a big deal I guess, as I'm not looking to get rich with what I do on the Internet, but it's amazing how relatively simple ideas blossom into amazing things. They showed a crude preview of their next profile management tool, and it was kind of interesting. "Shut up moron" to the guy who yelled out to the MySpace guys to open up their API. Fat stupid idealist Net hippy.
The guy from the BBC showed some neat stuff based in Windows Vista. Very impressive, and pretty. There's still that part of me that says, "So what, it's tied to Windows," but still very interesting.
The best part was bringing on Tim O'Reilly, who really did do a no-holds-barred Q&A with Bill. In fact, he forced Bill to say what I've been saying for years. Microsoft didn't crush Netscape, they shot themselves in the foot by giving away their product in the first place. Some competitors are quite good at failing on their own.
The Q&A stuff was where you could see how excited he gets about tech. I thought it was interesting that he talked about how competitors have vastly different business models. That's something I think about a lot (there's a session with O'Reilly this afternoon), because all of this feel good community, collaboration, "mashup" nonsense (I hate that word), etc., doesn't just equate to money, unless you sell your thing to Google or Microsoft.
So in any case, a good start to the conference. I actually forgot that I'm in the world's most distracting city. :) Must... resist... outside world...