Once a year, the German publishing giant Hubert Burda Media hosts a big conference about digital innovation in Munich, called DLD. This year’s main conference took place this week. One should mention that Hubert Burda Media has been a driving force behind a highly questionable German ancillary copyright for press publishers. This law is widely seen as yet another obstacle for the German Internet industry, which notoriously lacks global impact. However and despite the contradiction between motto and actions, Burda’s DLD regularly manages to get a bunch of big names from the international technology and startup world on stage.
I watched a couple of these talks on YouTube and want to recommend three of them. The clips are embedded below, but here are some short remarks:
The Internet is not the Answer (Andrew Keen, Mike Butcher)
The author Andrew Keen presents himself as a pessimist who believes that the impact the Internet is having on people, society and economy is causing much harm and little good. He comes across as loud, arrogant and condescending. Even though I disagree with Keen’s one-dimensional view, the 27 minute talk with Mike Butcher is very entertaining. Keen also makes a couple of good points, especially about Uber and its CEO Travis Kalanick. Keen uses the opportunity to heavily promote his new book. I read an hardly enthusiastic review by the German blogger Felix Schwenzel (German only) after which I concluded that watching this talk is sufficient.
YouTube link (27 minutes)
It’s Only the Beginning (Albert Wenger)
Like Keen, Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures sees issues with what the accelerating digitization and automation do to our way of living and doing business. But unlike Keen who really has nothing else to offer than asking for more regulation, Wenger is more creative and thoughtful in his suggested solutions. A bit utopian too, but not in an absurd way. Keen somehow wants to use the strategies of the past to handle the future. Wenger wants to create new strategies. I find that more promising.
YouTube link (12 minutes)
Future of Work (Stewart Butterfield, Jochen Wegner)
Stewart Butterfield is the CEO and founder of Slack. The chat service for teams is quite a phenomenon. Everybody who uses it seems to love it – which does not come as a surprise considering how well it works. I cannot remember when I last time have used an app that caused me so little frustration. Butterfield has managed to make enterprise software sexy. He turned customers into fans. Learning a bit more about the guy who pulled this off cannot be wrong. Also because we probably will hear a lot about him and Slack in the future.
YouTube link (19 minutes)