Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Web 2.0 Conference This Week–Lance Armstrong, Al Gore, Jerry Yang, Mark Zuckerberg…and Lionel Richie?

On Wednesday, an always worthwhile Internet-focused conference, the annual Web 2.0 Summit, kicks off in San Francisco.

The lineup for the three-day event is particularly good this year and it is also a perfect time to take the temperature of the Internet’s movers and shakers, given all the hubbub of late with the weak economy. (BoomTown will thus be there with the trusty–and shaky–Flip video, chronicling it all for future generations.)

Speakers will include bicycle champ Lance Armstrong, Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Jerry Yang, former VP Al Gore, Google.org head Larry Brilliant, Paul Otellini of Intel (INTC) and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, among others, chattering away on a wide range of topics. (You can see the full schedule here.)

There’s also, of course, a passel of parties, including one on Thursday night thrown by MySpace Music. And it will–shades of Web 1.0!–feature an exclusive performance by Lionel Richie (and also DJ AM).

I am, I shall admit it and without irony, a closet fan of Richie. And why not, with so much infectious fluff to choose: “Hello,” “Say You, Say Me,” “Three Times a Lady.”

Most importantly, I will be curious to see if there will be “Dancing on the Ceiling” among the beaten-down start-up crowd. (See that music video below and ponder exactly why you know you know each and every word to that funkadelic song.)

Hosted by Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle, the Web 2.0 Summit is called “Web Mets World” this year. By that, BoomTown is inferring that its organizers think it is time for the Internet to grow up. But why don’t we let them speak:

The commercial web is now a teenager—it’s been fifteen short years since Marc Andreessen released the Mosaic browser. To put this in perspective, television as a commercial medium reached its fifteenth birthday in 1956—the year Elvis Presley made his first appearance on national TV…as we pondered the theme for this year, one clear signal has emerged: our conversation is no longer just about the Web. Now is the time to ask how the Web—its technologies, its values, and its culture—might be tapped to address the world’s most pressing limits. Or put another way—and in the true spirit of the Internet entrepreneur—its most pressing opportunities.”

And, of course, here’s Lionel: