Here's a fun fact from the conference. Did you know that there are now 10 thousand apps leveraging the Twitter API? Lots of these utilities and their founders made an appearance at the show. Very inspirational. Literally one guy not in a garage, but living above the garage in many cases. The guy next to me today had a very cool venture going that he was driving in his free time when he is not working at an mid-west farm equipment manufacturer. Seeing the entrepreneurial energy and the great utilities in progress is clearly not the source of my comment above, as I think many of these folks are delivering real Cupcake.
The Unicorn part of the reference relates more to some of the panelist consultants, conference groupies, and technology observers. No point calling him out here, but a well known social media observer told the audience that people are just going to need to get better at creating filters
There was also a ton navel gazing musings on the future from the panel jockies who aren't sure if they put the clothes in the dryer before boarding the flight to Mountain View. The exception to this was was Jason Calacanis who gave an excellent view of the likely future of Twitter and the real time web complete with possible screen mockups. He offered real justifications and potential business models for what he proposed. The rule, was unfortunately the folks from Twitter by providing just vague notions of where they are headed and really demonstrating for all that the business that they created has clearly gotten away from them.
In the battle of Cupcake vs. Unicorns though, Cupcake did win out in the passion and brilliant ideas of the developers that showed their wares. Search, analytics, collaboration, etc. The Unicorns occasionally offered value too when they pointed to the best of these utilities like Twitrratr.com, an elegant and simple way check the sentiment of posts for your brand.
Bottom line. The real time web is here. Time for all marketers to figure it out. Time spent waiting to figure out if Twitter is going to make it or come up with a business model is time wasted. The notion of needing to make sense of real time data from customers, employees, friends and enemies not to mention your car, house, and maybe even a pet or two is happening whether we like the notion or not. Learning to converse in this new world takes time, so it is best to start now.
I guarantee there will be a real time web solution without the need for a frequent Fail Whale in our near future. True, the utilities out there are numerous, sometimes shaky betas, and arguably all features vs. complete applications. Having said that, there are a lot of brilliant ideas to get your head around like location centric twittering, real time integrations with enterprise apps, and tweets that are automatically triggered and trigger other social interactions automatically. whew.
My advice for businesses......chances are your Twitter "phone" is already ringing. Answer it and begin unravelling how to leverage the Real Time web for your company.
First assignment - figure out what a #