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2008 Conference Photos

About ETech

Experience ETech | Who Should Attend | ETech Endorsements |
| 2008 Program Committee |

Now in its seventh year, the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference hones in on the ideas, projects, and technologies that the alpha geeks are thinking about, hacking on, and inventing right now, creating a space for all participants to connect and be inspired. ETechs past have covered peer-to-peer networks to person-to-person mobile messaging, web services to weblogs, big-screen digital media to small-screen mobile gaming, hardware hacking to content remixing. We've hacked, blogged, ripped, remixed, tracked back, and tagged to the nth. Expect much of what you see in early form here to show up in the products and services you're taking for granted in the not-too-distant future.

ETech balances blue-sky theorizing with practical, real-world information and conversation. Tutorials and breakout sessions will help you inject inspiration into your own projects, while keynotes and hallway conversation will spark enough unconventional thinking to change how you see your world.

"There's more good stuff here, more new directions, than we've had at ETech in years, which is only to be expected, as the market starts to digest the innovations of Web 2.0 and we are now featuring the next wave of hacker-led surprises." Read more of Tim O'Reilly's thoughts on why ETech is our most important conference.

Experience ETech

ETech's greatest asset is its participants. For the past seven years, ETech has tapped into the creative spirit of all attendees, sparking provocative encounters and productive inspiration that continue long after the conference ends. ETech is built on many layers of conversation:

  • Plenary sessions alternate between rapid-fire high-order bits and blue-sky views from visionaries
  • Keynotes illuminate the big picture behind emerging technology stories
  • Focused breakout sessions translate technology into real-world ideas
  • In depth tutorials explore the underlying technology that powers innovations
  • Events, extra-curricular activities, and the lively "hallway track" foster unexpected encounters
  • The Exhibit Hall brings you up close with the people and products shaping the future of technology

Who Should Attend?

More then 1200 technology enthusiasts are expected to attend ETech 2008, including:

  • Technologists
  • CxOs and IT managers
  • Hackers and grassroots developers
  • Researchers and academics
  • Thought leaders
  • Business managers and strategists
  • Artists and fringe technologists
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Business developers and venture capitalists
  • Representatives from companies and organizations tracking emerging technologies

In the past, ETech has brought together people from such diverse companies, organizations, and projects as: 37signals, Adaptive Path,, Attensa, August Capital, BBC, Boeing,, Comcast, Department of Defense, Disney, E*Trade, Fairfax County Library, Fidelity Investments, Fotango, France Telecom, General Motors, Honda, IEEE, Intel, Macromedia, Meetup, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Mozilla, National Security Agency, New Statesman, Nielsen Media Research, Nokia, NYU, Oracle, Orbitz, Platial,, Sony, Starwood Hotels, Symantec, The Motley Fool, UC Santa Barbara Kavli Institute, Zend, and many more.

Some of ETech's past sponsors and exhibitors include: Adobe, Aggregate Knowledge, Apple, AT&T, Attensa, eBay, Foldera, Google, IBM, Intuit, iNetWord, Laszlo, MapQuest, mFoundry, Root, RSSBus,, Sxip, TechSmith, Tibco, Windows Live, Yahoo!, and Zimbra.

ETech Endorsements

"...many of today's big Web trends have appeared first at past ETechs." Victoria Barret, Forbes

"O’Reilly’s Emerging Technology Conference brings some of the brightest minds in the online world together every year for four days of talks, panels and workshops. ETech is really about ideas and the people behind them..." Dave Bullock,

"At the seventh annual ETech, there's less worry about what sticks to the wall and more focus on having something cool to throw. The conference is a gathering of more than 1,200 programmers, engineers, executives, hackers, academics and others trying to chart the course of technology." Jonathan Sidener, San Diego Union-Tribune

"Influential" Ryan Singel,

"ETech is my favorite conference of the year..." David Pescovitz, Boing Boing

"ETech is an excellent jam session on technology innovation, also exploring the implications, ethical and otherwise, of new technology developments..." Jon Lebkowsky, Worldchanging

"We gave all the Fog Creek programmers a choice of which conference to attend from a long list of about 12 conferences, and all of them wanted to go to ETech [2006]. So that's where you'll find us next March." Joel Spolsky

"I found last year's conference [2005] to be exceptionally valuable even though (or perhaps because) it isn't an 'educational' conference. I'm still chewing on a lot of what I learned there... and it's nice to get outside of the academic and ed-tech bubble a bit and see what the rest of the world is doing and where things are headed." Chris Lott, Ruminate

"As ETech-regular David Hornik of August Capital put it, ETech is one of those places 'where people of very diverse backgrounds are brought together, and strange but wonderful connections are made in the head.'" Stowe Boyd, Conferenza

"The Emerging Technology Conference in San Diego—a lively gathering of geeks and entrepreneurs building companies and tools for the Web." Steven Levy, Newsweek

"The O'Reilly conference is an intellectual hothouse for Web developers who gather each year to debate how best to build a new generation of collaborative software..." Eric Auchard, Reuters

"Today's the last day of the four-day Emerging Technology conference, and I'm flying home to D.C. What I saw convinced me that another really big wave of innovation is rolling through the Web..." Leslie Walker, Washington Post

2008 Program Committee

Program Chair

Brady ForrestBrady Forrest
Brady Forrest is Chair for O'Reilly's Where 2.0 and Emerging Technology conferences. Additionally, he co-Chairs Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, Berlin and NYC. Brady writes for O'Reilly Radar tracking changes in technology. He previously worked at Microsoft on Live Search (he came to Microsoft when it acquired MongoMusic). Brady lives in Seattle, where he builds cars for Burning Man and runs Ignite. You can track his web travels at Truffle Honey.

Committee Members

Regine DebattyRegine Debatty
Régine Debatty is a blogger, a new media art curator and a journalist. She writes on as well as on design and art magazines about the way artists, hackers and interaction designers are (mis)using technology today.

Cory DoctorowCory Doctorow
Cory Doctorow ( is a science fiction novelist, blogger and technology activist. He is the co-editor of the popular weblog Boing Boing (, and a contributor to Wired, Popular Science, Make, the New York Times, and many other newspapers, magazines and websites. He was formerly Director of European Affairs for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (, a non-profit civil liberties group that defends freedom in technology law, policy, standards and treaties. Presently, he serves as the Fulbright Chair at the Annenberg Center for Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California.

Rael DornfestRael Dornfest
Rael Dornfest is Founder and CEO of Portland, Oregon-based Values of n. Rael leads the Values of n charge with passion, unearthly creativity, and a repertoire of puns and jokes - some of which are actually good.

Prior to founding Values of n, he was O'Reilly's Chief Technical Officer, program chair for the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, series editor of the bestselling Hacks book series, and instigator of O'Reilly's Rough Cuts early access program. He built Meerkat, the first web-based feed aggregator, was champion and co-author of the RSS 1.0 specification, and has written and contributed to six O'Reilly books.

Rael's programmatic pride and joy is the nimble, open source blogging application Blosxom, the principles of which you'll find in the Values of n philosophy and embodied in Stikkit: Little yellow notes that think.

Timo HannayTimo Hannay
Timo Hannay is Publishing Director, at the Nature Publishing Group, publishers of Nature and over seventy other scientific journals, plus numerous online resources for scientists and those interested in science. One of his areas of responsibility is new online initiatives in social software, databases and audio-visual content. Timo trained as a neurophysiologist at the University of Oxford and worked as a journalist (The Economist, Nature Medicine) and a management consultant (McKinsey & Co.) before becoming a publisher. He lived in Japan for over five years and retains a strong interest in, and connections with, the country.

Kati LondonKati London
Kati London researches, designs, and develops technology for interactive crowdsource and disruptive experiences. Her work includes hardware for networking people and plants (Botanicalls), game structures that connect residents of Gaza City and Tel Aviv or Baghdad and New York City (You Are Not Here), and wearable devices that detect personal space (Urban Sonar). Her collaborative projects have been featured in Where 2.0; Come Out & Play Festival, New York; Conflux: Festival of Psychogeography, and have appeared on the BBC, NPR, and in the New York Times. She currently works as a producer and game designer for New York based Big Game design company, area/code.

Jane McGonigalJane McGonigal
Jane McGonigal is a game designer and games researcher, specializing in massively collaborative play. Recently named by MIT Technology Review as one of the top 35 young innovators changing the world through technology, Jane focuses on improving quality of life through reality-based gaming. She is the founder of the experimental design project Avant Game (Cruel 2 B Kind, Ministry of Reshelving), a former lead designer for 42 Entertainment (I Love Bees, Tombstone Hold 'Em), and the resident game designer with the Institute for the Future. She has a Ph.D. in performance studies from the University of California at Berkeley.

David PescovitzDavid Pescovitz
David Pescovitz ( is co-editor of the popular weblog and a research director with the Institute for the Future. He is also editor-at-large for MAKE: and writer-in-residence for UC Berkeley's College of Engineering. Pescovitz co-wrote the book Reality Check, based on his long-running forecasting column in Wired magazine where he remains a correspondent. He also has contributed to Scientific American, Popular Science, the New York Times, the Washington Post, New Scientist, Business 2.0, and many other publications. In 2002, he won the Foresight Prize in Communication, recognizing excellence in educating the public and research community about nanotechnology and other emerging technologies. Pescovitz holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Electronic Media from the University of Cincinnati and a Master's in Journalism from UC Berkeley.

Alex SteffenAlex Steffen
Alex Steffen has been the Executive Editor of Worldchanging since he co-founded the organization in 2003, as the next phase in a lifetime of work exploring ways of building a better future. In a very short time, Worldchanging has become the most widely-read sustainability-related publication on the Internet, with an archive of over 7,000 articles by leading thinkers around the world.

Nathan TorkingtonNathan Torkington
Nat Torkington lives and works in New Zealand where he consults on open source and startup strategies, writes for O'Reilly Radar, and co-chairs the Open Source Convention (OSCON).

Phillip TorronePhillip Torrone
Phillip Torrone is a New York City based author - he is currently the senior editor for MAKE Magazine and contributing editor to Popular Science. In his spare time he designs open source electronics and uses high powered laser beams.


Diamond Sponsor

  • Sun Microsystems

Gold Sponsors

  • Adobe Systems, Inc.
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Disney
  • Google
  • Make magazine
  • Yahoo! Inc.

Silver Sponsors

  • AdaptiveBlue
  • Jaduka

Premier Media Partner

  • ZDNet