Wednesday, December 01, 1999

Life is short.

We need to enjoy it despite its hardships, challenges, failures. We need to try and maximize our experience and increase what Guiliani raves about -- "quality of life." The WWW has gotten more and more into our lives as a promise to make our lives easier and help develop community.

Speaking of community, we have a plethora of communities to choose from -- on and offline. This week The Basex Group held a conference on the very topic at their Communities '99 conference at 3 World Financial Center on December 1, 1999.

The conference was kicked off with the soothing and illustrative voice and personality of Sam Albert, consultant and 1010 WINS computer seer. Mr. Albert did a fine job (as congratulated by Johnathan Spira, senior managing director of The Basex Group) in his role of conference moderator.

Scott Kurnit, the man behind the guides at doled out some informative and useful facts for conference attendees with online communities developed through a leader of each section. Chris Newell of Viant demonstrated through an example of their orientation program how employees gain a sense of community with training, projects and team building.

The panel I spoke on started with an information-rich presentation by slick and styled Chris Neimeth of NYTimes Digital Media. The NYTimes recognized the importance of free newsletters and as we all know, went from a charged-model site to a free-but-register-model site. Their success is apparent and growing -- even with new areas like "abuzz bulletin boards."

Macdara Maccoll of Ivillage got the audience in a humorous state with her presentation starting off with a demonstration of how messages mass media's push to us get jumbled when on the web. This was as indicated by her example of People Magazine's Most Beautiful Person of 1998 online poll winner was Hank the Angry Dwarf, not who they wanted us to choose--Leonardo DiCaprio.

Peter Schamel of Mazescape spoke of B2B and smaller, more focused business communities. Mary Lou Song of ebay gave us some good examples of how to let your community help you design/redesign and develop your site when they decided to stop allowing the auction of firearms (which was met with much debate), but did allow erotic items.