I have an unnaturally voracious interest in the social web and the technological innovation that’s driving it.  I could probably talk about it for hours. (I won't.) Also, as I state on my About page, I like people, things, and mixtures of people and things that work.

So it’s not surprising that I really enjoyed watching John Gruber’s recent presentation “Apple and the Open Web,” which was given at the 2010 Web 2.0 Expo. It was pretty much a big ole grab bag of all these interests in one 10-minute spot.

Not only that, it was a great lesson in how to give an effective presentation.

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My ideas, Gruber’s ideas, everybody’s ideas

My own definition of Web 2.0 uses an analogy with compact discs.

Web 1.0 was the read-only version of the web (CD-ROM); Web 2.0 is the read-write version (CD-RW). In Web 1.0, the majority consumed the content of minorities (think buying, listening to CDs); In Web 2.0, the masses are creators and distributors of content (think CD burners).

After watching Gruber, I began to see another dimension to Web 2.0.

On the surface, it appears that we interact with Web 2.0 in the same medium through which we watched Web 1.0: the web browser. But as Gruber makes clear, the web browser is just one vantage point. Mobile apps are a very real, if sneaky, Web 2.0 alternative to the web browser.

If you think about it, apps are really just a bunch of little niche-specific windows to the web. As Gruber points out, most great iPhone apps use and rely the web (to read and write). Apps are just the front-end paint users see when talking to the cloud.

Moreover, mobile apps and the web are mutually beneficial phenomena.

By introducing the world to the notion of mobile apps, Apple has given us screen after screen of highly dynamic lenses through which to read and write the web.

The web is like an undercurrent of social energy that flows through and powers mobile apps. It’s every bit as important as the battery current that illuminates app icons on the touch screen.

On to my more practical observations…

Three things I liked about about Gruber’s delivery

  • The slides are an accessory to the speaker; he isn’t an accessory to the slides. So often speakers lean on their slides as a crutch. In many cases, PowerPoint slides become crowded cue cards. Gruber’s slides are clean and easy on the eyes. They're like a light but effective seasoning on the meat of the presentation.
  • He’s calm. He doesn’t mind pausing to think. Pausing to collect and choose your words is FAR better than nervously rambling at the speed of thought.
  • He did is homework. He’s very confident and knowledgeable about the topic. It shows.