As I have an interest in technology and the technobable it inspires, I decided to apply for entrance to the Seoul Digital Forum, an invitation only Ted Talk-lite for Korean Tech/Business types. For some reason they invited me to come (I did label myself a Media Developer for E-Learning), and I soon learned I was nearly the only foreigner in the audience listening to ‘Visionaries’, their term for all the speakers. Around 70% of the speakers were foreigners and the majority of the talks were in English. So as one of the only native English speakers in the audience it was great for me. They had headphones so every talk was translated into Korean and English.
Here’s some brief pithy musings I had while listening to some of the speakers. This doesn’t reflect so much exactly what they said, more what they inspired me to think about while I was listening to them. Note: My musings are in italics.
Conference Theme: Coexistence
Buzzwords level: Extreme. Koreans love buzzwords(Story/time/smart) + Tech people love buzzwords(cloud, augmented,ICT,SNS) = buzzword explosion. String as many together in one sentence to be “modern netizen 2.0.”
Setting: Sheraton Walkerhill Hotel (with onsite Casino where you can gamble playing the card game War)
Most prevalent visual motif – Matrix raining green characters still a thing
Common Themes: How tech can help Africa, cloud cloud cloud, big data.
A video introduction from President Lee Myung-bak. He seems to talk with his eyes closed. Champions the Arab Spring as positive technology, but worried about digital divide. Shout out to World Expo in Yeosu.
Microsoft – Steve Balmer
I was hoping for a bounding sweaty uncle fester, but he was more subdued as he gave an intro to Windows 8. He tried to impress the crowd with his ability to say two Korean names, only said one well. Still love how the last words of his sentences hang in the air like duck farts.
He lays out Microsofts Focus:
“Our Focus: Technology
- Machine Learning
- Form Factors/UI (mouse, touch and other things apple forced us to get into)
- Cloud Cloud cloud cloud – Facebook born of the cloud – 10 years to exploit.
- Core Platform – world becoming less fragmented – ie. windows wants to be a closed ecosystem like apple,
- New Scenarios (?, didn’t elaborate besides “note taking technologies”, wait to see what to copy)
“What’s Windows 8? It’s an operating system after Windows 7”
“I’ve got an 81 inch windows slate in my office.” Baller? Balmer.
A new Zune! for windows 8.
“Whoops, that’s a bad step” Balmer says as he almost falls off the stage.
Some talk about foldable screens maybe being a thing someday, maybe.
Demo of windows 8. I’m a Mac, but I have to say this has some cool features. Honestly, a more integrated OS for people who want their tablet and keyboarded PC synced. Apps define the UI experience. A bit info overload. Bloatware meets Bloat interface, but luckily looks much easier to configure.
Tries to look at photos he took in Seoul – “file could not be found,” still some work to do. MS is Involved with 600 startups in Korea. Targeted at machine builders.(aka LG / Samsung) Balmer see Windows 8 as best opportunity for 400 million new users. But Korea is the land of android and most of the Korean apps are already entrenched in Google’s ecosystem. Microsoft needs apps, like a church needs followers. I believe Korea will make and buy lots of windows PC hardware, but probably won’t gain much traction in the mobile space here, as phones are nearly tablets over here, Most people don’t really want tablets, they want, what seems to me, as ridiculously big phones.