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Which way is Lambton Quay?

I don’t think I’m in New Zealand anymore—there’s way too many people, there’s a massive Apple store outside my hotel and yesterday I took a bike ride to the birthplace of mountain biking, Mt Tamalpais in Marin County. No I’m definitely not in EnZed anymore. I’m like a fish out of water in the heart of Silicon Valley, the Mecca for all things Geek and I’m here to attend the Web 2.0 Expo.

For the uninitiated Web 2.0 is widely accepted to be the moniker for the second generation web, the one that facilitates communication and collaboration. It’s a term invented by publisher and media star Tim O’Reilly and so it’s apt that the Web 2.0 Expo is in fact a shindig put on by his organization. The expo, in the words of O’Reilly media is:

A semi-annual conference and expo targeting the builders of the next generation web: designers, developers, entrepreneurs, marketers, business strategists, and venture capitalists from around the globe.Web 2.0 Expo features the most innovative and successful Internet industry figures and companies providing attendees with examples of business models, development paradigms, and design strategies to enable mainstream businesses and new arrivals to the Web 2.0 world to take advantage of this new generation of services and opportunities.

Which is tech speak for lots of product launches, lots of parties and a reasonable amount of free schwag. It’s at an event like this that you realise how tiny and insignificant New Zealand really is, but also conversely, how in an International marketplace with accents from all over the globe, there is no reason why we cant create the “next big thing” from Aotearoa.

I’m going to be pacing the halls of the monstrous Moscone Centre in search of my take on both what’s hot and upcoming in the world of tech, and also what is a ten minute wonder and likely to disappear before the next expo rolls around. I’m also keen to find out how many other Kiwis there are here—and see what their experience of the event is.

At home in New Zealand we’ve been a little insulated from the economic tsunami which seems to have hit elsewhere—it’s been six months or so since my last visit to the US so I’m also going to take an on-the-ground look at what impact it’s had here—especially for the tech sector which in the past has been more affected by other industries by busts (dotcom bubble anyone?)

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