Widgets Live! timeline

I received a few e-mails this morning from people interested in how Widgets Live! came together. Yep, the event really was planned in about a month, from site selection to the actual day-long event. In this post I’ll outline how Widgets Live! grew from an idea to an in-person event.

July 12
Coming up short on ideas for my weekly podcast with Om Malik, I suggested we talk about widgets and how they are changing web publishing. I had been playing around with widgets as a form of web feed syndication, specifically thinking of performance on Live.com and other views into a central syndication back-end. I saw a bit of this distribution at Technorati as out content placed on lots of small sites (tag links, favorites, mini etc.) helped distribute incoming sources of traffic and make the data users care about more portable.
July 15
I published some thoughts on the Widgetization of the Web to accompany the podcast.
September 11
Om publishes an article on widgets as the subject of his first Business 2.0 column. The article includes conversations with some of the new startups focused on widgets.
September 18

Dare Obasanjo is a bit frustrated with the conference scene and wishes he had somewhere to go to talk about micro applications like widgets.

Over dinner Om and I talk about Dare’s post, conferences, and the hotness of the widgets topic.

Later that night Om posted to his side blog contemplating an “informal event to talk widgets.”

Last week of September
Deciding whether or not we wanted to invest the time and effort needed to make the conference a success.
First week of October
Decided November 6 would be the ideal date for the conference to allow people in town for the Web 2.0 Summit to extend their stay and release product before the onslaught of press releases issued at the bigger conference. Next up came finding a venue and other early implementation details needed to announce the event.
October 10
WidgetsLive.com is launched and the event announced on my blog. Ticket sales begin and sponsors solidify their interest. We wanted to announce before the video search panel Om and I were moderating that evening in Mountain View.
October 12
Om announces the event on GigaOM. I had posted a rough schedule to the conference website by this point and started filling in speakers.
November 1
The conference is sold out!
November 6
The conference kicks off at 8 a.m. with over 200 attendees in attendance.

There was about a 4-month gap between talking about doing a podcast on something I’d been slacking on writing up for a while to hosting a conference bringing together major players in the industry. An initial attempt at lazy blogging became a lot of work in the end, but it was fun. Ha!

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Commentary on "Widgets Live! timeline":

  1. scott on wrote:

    Congratulations to you and Om for pulling off a quality conference in short order! It was definitely time well spent for me.

    I’ve got a request for the next iteration. I’m not sure if desktop widgets can benefit from investing in some standards processing but it would be really sweet if browser based widgets could adopt a standard identification mechanism. Maybe a widget microformat can be established so that web browsers could automatically identify any widgets on a web page that can be subscribed to. I’m thinking that the mechanism that Firefox uses to provide users an easy way to subscribe to RSS/Atom feeds could be replicated for widgets.

    I was not all that impressed with what WidgetBox, Snipperoo, and others were trying to achieve. Instead of a select group of companies attempting to own and control walled widget gardens, it would be nice if the entire web served as an open widget directory. Publishers that are interested in receiving payment for the use of their widgets really don’t need intermediaries taking a cut. Perhaps something like OpenID can be leveraged to facilitate the provisioning of monetized subscriptions.