NEW YORK--The crowds at the Web 2.0 Expo seem to have one clear consensus on what they think of this week's Wall Street meltdown: things are bad, but it's no time to panic.
Of course, they're all pretty relieved that the tech industry can't be blamed for this economic meltdown.
"This is a very good time to start up a company," investor David Rose of the New York Angels firm said in a panel called Starting Up in Silicon Alley. "Despite the calamities that are going on outside, the world is not coming to an end."
The current financial crisis is less than a week old, after all, so the outcome is less than certain. Most of the conference crowd chose to be cautiously optimistic.
The Jacob Javits Convention Center is only a few blocks from Wall Street. Yet at the Web 2.0 Expo, it was mostly business as usual: marketing, monetization, branding, social advertising, and a Microsoft-sponsored party on Wednesday night where the centerpiece was an ice sculpture that dispensed vodka shots.
Standing at his company's booth on Thursday afternoon, one representative of a Web-based nonprofit organization shook his head with disapproval. "Not enough people are talking about it," he said. We all know what "it" is.
In fairness, it's a stretch to say everyone was twittering while Wall Street burned. The underlying attitude at the Web 2.0 Expo was one of sober acceptance, realizing that conducting business in 2008 is more difficult than it was in 2006.
I'm very worried," said Majid Abai, CEO of the community software start-up Pringo. "When the economy is down, investment in technology is down."
There's reason to be concerned: financial-services companies are often cutting-edge technology buyers, and the mess on Wall Street makes it unlikely that big brokerage houses (at least the ones still standing) will be spending on anything nonessential anytime soon.… Read more