Susan Mernit is wrong about Laurel Canyon

by William Grosso

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I love the web. And I love weblogs. You meet interesting people through them. You can learn a lot. And you can "meet" people that you would never have been able to meet 10 years ago.

Case in point: I'm running an expo
on convergence
. All about what happens when homes have dozens of high-powered devices (for example: a tivo, a playstation, an
and a refridgerator)
all networked together. And what happens when it's on the net,
via broadband. And how do the enterprise-software-focused people in
my neck of Silicon Valley learn about this new world.

The expo pretty much happened by accident when I realized convergence is happening, that I know very little about it, and that it might be important for me to know more. I was puzzled: how do you learn about an entire industry segment, starting from very little knowledge.

After scratching my head for a while, I put together an outline of an expo that I'd like to attend, and then started recruiting speakers for it. Basically, using three criteria: smart, knows the space, and local.

I found Susan Mernit by googling. She spoke at the CSPA
annual conference a couple of years ago; I remembered the talk and it was interesting and she definitely knows the broadband and interactive content spaces. So I sent her an e-mail, asking if she's interested in being a part of the expo.

It turned out that she's no longer local. But she was interested anyway and, 17 billion e-mails later, she's now moderating the future of broadband panel, we're talking to a reporter from Home and Garden TV about a piece on the connected home, and I'm wondering how such an obviously bright and capable person could like such a bad movie.

And we still haven't 'met' in the physical sense.

I sometimes wonder if, in the rush to abandon HTTP and HTML for XML, Flash, Curl, RDF, RSS, yadda yadda yadda all that fancy jazz, we aren't overlooking, or are taking for granted, the truly amazing things the basic web makes possible.