Breakfast with Kawasaki

I tend to like my downtime at weekends or at least do things away from these glowing screens. But given the chance to listen in on ‘London’s Twitter Mafia’ chew the fat on the potential of Twitter for business as well as social applications it was definitely worth getting across London on Saturday for some early croissants and much needed coffee.

Add to that the chance to listen to the legendary Guy Kawasaki talk about this and more and the marginal discomfort of early morning tube seemed a steal. And as he said ‘in Silicon Valley all the time is meeting time’.

The event was hosted by MIT Entrepreneur Forum UK. (I’m trying desperately at their behest not to spell it EFUK for as long as I can). They run a series of briefings in different formats as often as practical around innovation, development, funding, mentoring, technology etc. The speakers were Guy Kawasaki (founder, Nick Halstead (founder Tweetmeme) and Mario Menti (founder They all spoke clearly about the origins of their products, what they had in development and about their own revenue streams. There seems to be a trend in mining twitter for more and more analytics, adding more features and then potentially charging for the benefits. After all nothing’s free forever right?

All the speakers demonstrated passion in their own way for their endeavours, those that had a concrete business plan and those that seemed to have fallen into Twitter. The ringmaster was obviously Kawasaki, I was wondering what made him want to talk to such a small group of people when he’s usually motivating many more. Regardless of that he gives good face. Surrounded by the fanboys and girls at the end he was polite, gracious and enthusiastic without a fault – despite some negative and inappropriate heckling during his segment. He is committed to Twitter as a marketing mechanism, though he admits the ‘Twitter Nazis’ or purists may be aghast at his stance. He is charming, enthusiastic and vibrant but a businessman to the core, he wants to be ahead of the money and sees no reason not to have fun reaping the benefits of his labours. The mantra is ‘followers equal funds’ and is committed to gathering as many as he can through adding value and insight to his tweets. He’s quite transparent and unapologetic about ghost tweeters and the automated mechanisms he uses to generate content. A heartening quote was that London is at the heart of Twitter development.

You probably won’t be surprised at his take on the recession. Don’t wait for it to end, start now!
‘Only fools buy tools’, everything is open source. Take advantage of the market conditions, you can hire any workforce you need at a lot less cost than previously. The cost of hosting has plummeted, take advantage of that. Realise that digital marketing can be free too, a little effort now can reap massive benefits tomorrow.

There was an element of the later segment being an AllTop tutorial and promo but I think most of the crowd will forgive him that, the note taking was considerable and I’m guessing most of the attendees will have an AllTop page by the end of this week if not already. Definitely worth getting out of bed for!

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