Money:Tech Post-Mortem, Plus a Personal Note

Well, I’m back. I spent most of the past week in New York chairing the Money:Tech conference, and it’s now over.

Money:Tech came off better than I could ever have reasonably expected, especially considering it was a) a first-time event b) in an emerging subject and c) on the other side of the country. Ordinarily, self-centered sort that I am, I would cheerfully accept all praise for the event’s success and motor on, but it sure wasn’t me. Far from it.

First, Money:Tech was about the people who attended. We had more than 400 registered Money:Tech conference-goers, which was great. When I finally forced myself to peek out from behind the on-stage screen Wednesday morning minutes before showtime and saw a full house, it made all the work and worry of the last six (!) months worth it. As I said at the end of the event, the Money:Tech audience’s enthusiasm and interest carried the show (and I’m personally delighted at all the people I had a chance to meet and talk to).

I’d be remiss if I didn’t speedily single out Money:Tech’s sponsors, especially its platinum sponsors Dow Jones and Agoracom. Many sponsors are understandably nervous about paying up for a first-time event, not knowing whether their logos will be in front of hundreds of people, or merely dangling, limp and forlorn, in a near-empty ballroom. Our sponsors took a chance and had, I think, great exposure, so thanks to all of your for your confidence and support.

Speakers make or break conferences, and I was blown away by the quality of the people who came and spoke at Money:Tech 2008. In a perfect world I’d name them them all individually here, or, failing that, even thank some of them by name, but that wouldn’t be fair to the many who spoke so well. I will make one small exception, however, for the estimable Bill Janeway of Warburg Pincus. He served as both a speaker and a sounding board along the way to Money:Tech (plus providing front-row kibitzing from the audience), and for that I’m very thankful. To everyone else who spoke, thanks so much. You made Money:Tech however thought-provoking, stimulating and engaging it turned out to be.

Thanks also go to O’Reilly Media’s conference team, headed by Gina Blaber (and Vee, and Shirley, and Sharon, and Patrick, and Sara, and more), who were individually and collectively crucial in making Money:Tech happen. Successful conferences have a 0.91 correlation with the quality of the behind the scenes work done to invisibly keep entropy at bay (not to mention find runaway speakers, deal with delay-prone conference chairs, etc.), and the O’Reilly conference team are standouts in that regard.

Finally, Money:Tech would not have happened without Tim O’Reilly. Yes, yes, Tim’s company bankrolled the event and his name was on all the banners. But that’s not my point. Tim is one of the most eclectic and intellectually curious people I know; he can make and toss off deep connections in seemingly unrelated sociotechnical subjects while simultaneously listening to a conference session and grilling a speaker off-stage in the green room. Money:Tech may have been my idea, but Tim got it in the space of a 2-minute back-and-forth via email (while both of us were in the ETech audience last year), and his contacts and reputation were crucial to bringing this event to life. Thanks Tim.

That’s it on Money:Tech 2008. So, unless any readers want to send ideas, suggestions or comments, this event is now past. I may post a few ruminations related to topics discussed there, but that’s about it. So, many thanks, and as I said as I walked off the stage Thursday around 5:20pm, G’night everyone.


On a more personal note, I’d like to say that I’m rested, relaxed and refreshed after a few days in the Big Apple … but I’m not. I’m bone-tired,  and sitting here writing this on a plane somewhere over Colorado I feel like I need a month or three off. I’m sure that feeling will go away speedily, but I’m still warning myself — and you readers — that blog posts will be light for a spell.

Now, I may very well hew to that line, but, as longtime readers of this site know, I have a bad habit of declaring a temporary work slowdown, only to wallpaper the joint with posts. So, we’ll see.

Either way, while Money:Tech was great, it’s nice to be back.


  1. Had dinner with a friend who went. Said the signal to noise ratio was very good compared to most conferences. And most speakers focused on the topic at hand rather than pitching / advertsing / selling something. He thought it was very good.

  2. Congrats on the event! I heard a lot of great reports and was sad that I wasn’t able to be there. I look forward to going next year.

  3. Hi Paul
    I don’t know how you managed to surf and stay on top of the wave of all of the ideas, concepts and directional shifts at the conference – no surprise you are tired.
    Thanks for making the conference work so well. We learned a tremendous amount and enjoyed making many new friends and contacts.
    Best from
    Fred Speckeen, CEO
    Advanced Economic Research Systems Inc.

  4. glad it went so well. congrats. bummed I had to miss, but it’s 75 today in phoenix.

  5. Paul, is there a video of the event that can be viewed online? It sounded like a great event and would love to watch it if available.

  6. Paul,
    you and the debaters did an incredible job at money:tech, on an arguably promising and complex field. Kudos to the O’Reilly team. Unlike other conferences, at money:tech speakers were well prepared well articulated, and able to frame their personal work/endeavors within broader trends affecting the realms of finance and technology. We only have to wish a second Money:Tech next year, with perhaps more opening to non American start ups/ideas/trends, but you know I am obviously biased on that point. It was also nice to get a fresh air from California with this web 2.0 crew, I used to hit the Waldorf for bank meetings and this time the ambiance was way more relaxed !

  7. Paul, you were in full hyper-kinetic mode during the conference, the only way you and Tim could have pulled it off. Amazing job. I thought the conference was a good blend of established companies, young companies, emerging technologies and old dogs trying new tricks. I think even more exposure to some really, really early, bleeding-edge stuff would be great. That said, a truly impressive maiden voyage for the conference and I am looking forward to M:T 2009. Thanks for including me in the program. It was truly an honor.