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Future of Web Apps – A Tale of Screaming, Drinking, and Networking (Doing it All at Once Takes Practice)

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fowabeachmiami.jpgIt took Mazy Kazerooni, my right hand Ustream Biz Dev, a little over a month to convince me to go to the Future of Web Apps in Miami (FOWA). Immediately after getting back from The Crunchies he mentioned it – and pushed hard. “Its going to be awesome dude, tons of great speakers!”. I wasn’t convinced. I mean come on, if I’m going to spend hundreds of dollars to fly across the country I want to be sure its going to be worth it. “DUDE! MATT! FOWA is next week! We need to make a decision!”. I was in a corner… I wanted to go…but I didn’t want to spend the money. “Matt Mullenwag and Kevin Rose are speaking!”. SOLD! I agreed to go and we quickly packed our carry-ons.

After two flights, a two hour layover, and multiple unfulfilling bags of peanuts, we made it Miami. Strangely enough Miami is exactly what it looks like in the movies – lots of tan people rollerblading. It almost wanted to make me laugh. I mean I’m from Orange County, which is nothing like “The OC”…but these guys were exactly how TV and Hollywood said they were. Anyways… I digress.

We checked out Barcamp and then later headed over to the Nokia party. There we participated in some crazy game where we were supposed to yell as loud as possible. Sounds fun right? Maybe…but the burn in my throat was nothing compared to how it caught fire after I started drinking. I bet there’s a Nokia guy laughing at my pain this very moment. Jerks.

Finally, Friday, it was time for the Future of Web Apps. We got in around 9am and with only four hours of sleep – just in time for Mullenwag’s speech. The thing about Mullenwag is that he’s so intelligent that he could tell you anything and you’d believe it. He’s also a super nice guy. When he responds to someone with a different opinion, he’ll do it with a friendly attitude but at the same time he totally obliterates whatever they just said. Then to top it off he gives this little chuckle after he’s done talking that has “I just owned you” written all over it. Its amazing.

The talks were okay, mainly everyone was discussing how to scale and technical stuff like that. The one highlight would be when Blaine from Twitter was on stage telling everyone how he’s so glad that Twitter had been up for the past few days. Joke was on him though – Twitter was down during his speech. His phone was ringing constantly throughout everything, and like many of us expected, turns out it was Twitter calling. Blaine hurried off stage to fix everyones favorite microblogger among heckles from the crowd “Help us Blaine! We need Twitter!”.

The parties alone made the trip worth while. Mazy and I were literally attacked by people who wanted access to Ustream’s API. It was insane… it was also a wake up call – We’ll be releasing a public API soon. We also met with a bunch of companies and people who could use Ustream by either integrating it with their site and/or doing a live show. From FOWA alone we made a lot of good contacts and Ustream is going to be all the better because of it.

Even though the actual conference wasn’t amazing, our trip to Miami was a major success. The tech community as a whole is highly intelligent and willing to help each other out – its great. So many eager entrepreneurs and so much energy in this industry… it really makes it an exciting business to be in. We’ll definitely be going back.

With FOWA over its time for SXSW! I hope to see a lot of Ustreamers there.

For now though, its time to sleep. Got to wake up in time for my flight tomorrow…