Welcome to the big Con: How the Web 2.0 Summit works

For the rest of the week, we'll be reporting from the second annual Web 2.0 Summit, organized by O'Reilly Media and hosted by John Battelle. Before we start, here's a guide to this conference.

  • The speakers: Heavyweights like Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and venture capitalist Ram Shiram. They're here to prove their relevance to those enamored with Web 2.0. They also attracted the lesser-known speakers — going onstage with Bezos is like opening a concert for Death Cab.
  • The attendees: Three types: starfuckers, schmoozers, and cynics. The starfuckers will take notes on Schmidt's talk. The schmoozers will call the home office on Wednesday for a refill of business cards. The cynics will open an IRC chatroom (a "backchannel") to mock the presenters.
  • The venue: San Francisco's Palace Hotel. Posh, and conveniently located across the street from the House of Shields, a classic bar owned by local videoblogger Schlomo Rabinowitz and popular with the cynics.
  • The local Starbucks: Line out the door all week. Suck it up and drink the hotel's coffee.
  • The talks: Expect the bold names to spout vapid but quotable lines about community and the future. Expect the filler presenters to explain their products — a careful ritual, as the presenter must not admit that no one knows what his or her product — Ning, for example — does.
  • The name: O'Reilly is officially renaming this from "conference" to "summit," to distinguish it from O'Reilly's "expo" coming up next spring. +5 pretension bonus.