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The conference started at 1 pm Monday afternoon. This let people, theoretically, fly in that day. I say "theoretically", because many people I know ran into bad plane delays and arrived hours late, missing the start. I lucked out. When the plane on the second leg of my trip from Boston pulled out of the gate in Minneapolis, an indicator light messed up and we had to go back to the gate. Miracle of miracles, they fixed it really quickly and the flight was only 15 minutes late arriving in San Diego -- a little after 12 noon. A quick run to a cab and a fast drive up to Carlsbad, and I got to the registration right at 1 pm, and the conference started a few minutes late.

The conference was introduced by Standard Media International's Founder/Chairman, John Batelle, and co-hosts Bill Gurley of Benchmark Capital and Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley:

The first speaker was Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft:

Steve gave a speech about integration and the "XML era" and the opportunities he sees. Afterwards he answered questions from the audience. In software development he sees that they spend 55% on testing. He noted that the best antidote to pessimism is great new products...earnings, too.

Next up was Ray Ozzie of Groove. Bill Gurley sat with him and had him talk about his career, from Plato, to Data General, to Software Arts, to Lotus, to Iris, and to Groove. He talked a bit about Groove's stuff.


After Ray came Bill Coleman, Chairman/CEO of BEA Systems. He gave a high-level talk about their belief in their products.

Time for a break. The next speaker, Sun's Chairman/CEO Scott McNealy, was mingling with the rest of the crowd and I got some pictures. Here he is running into Intuit's Scott Cook briefly, and then while he was in the midst of a conversation with eBay's Meg Whitman, another speaker:


Scott and Meg posed with venture capitalist John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins for a group shot:

Scott spent most of his talk making jokes about competitors, like Dell, IBM, and especially Microsoft. He delivers his one-liners quite well, but there were an awful lot of them this time. He doesn't use a PC or Powerpoint for presentations, it seems, so he used a camera stand as an overhead projector and drew his slide one build at a time as he spoke (it's about Microsoft, of course):


Next was Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg. Walt discussed combining cell phones and PDAs, and showed two new ones coming out soon, one from Samsung and a prototype from Microsoft, using the camera stand:


Walt was followed by eBay's Meg Whitman. Meg graduated the same year that I did from Harvard Business School and I think is our class' business star (we also have the United States Secretary of Labor, among other careers to boast about). She talked about eBay and how successful they are, how they've evolved from dealing mainly in collectibles to now mainly "practicals", autos, and computers, and how they learn from their customers. She said they are a marketplace, with off-line selling being their main competition. After she spoke she sat with Mary Meeker for Q&A:


The last presentation of the afternoon was Mary Meeker doing a Q&A with Yahoo!'s Chairman/CEO Terry Semel and founder Jerry Yang. Terry has only been with the company for about 80 days (he was Warner Bros. co-CEO before), so for many of us it was the first time to hear him talk about Yahoo!.


Dinner was outside. Here's a picture of Stewart Alsop inside, and the view from the hotel lobby out to the dinner. Stewart asked lots of questions -- I think on the average one for every other speaker, at least. Since becoming a venture capitalist he doesn't run his own conference anymore (he founded the Agenda conference) so I guess this is how he can get some of the same feeling. He asks good questions.


Here is the shot I usually do of Sheldon Laube of Centerbeam and his wife Nancy (who takes pictures of all of us for her massive collection of industry people over many years, but I'm in the picture, too:

The after dinner speaker was Duke Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. He spoke about leadership, giving examples from his experience coaching some of the best, like Michael Jordan on the Olympic "Dream Team", and some of his recent players.


End of day one.

Next: Tuesday Morning