Category Archives: great conversations

ABA TechShow: The Video

Live from TechShow 2009 ...

Live from TechShow 2009 ...


Thought I’d share some choice video from TechShow 2009 featuring all 4 of the Best of Show winners that I wrote up in TechnoLawyer, plus interviews with some of my heroes such as Bob Ambrogi, Jay Funeberg, and Kevin O’Keefe, as well as sightings of legal blogging all-stars like Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighelle. I’m still excited.  


See related videos here and find me on YouTube as practicehacker

ABA TechShow 2009 – Short and SaaSy

Were the ABA Damnit!

We're the ABA Damnit! We own you!

This was my 10th year at ABA Technology Show in Chicago. This year was particularly cool.  Here’s why:

Meeting The Heavies: To me, seeing people like Dennis Kennedy, Tom Mighelle, Bob Ambrogi, Jim Calloway, Kevin O’Keefe, Brett Burney, Andy Atkins, Jay Foonberg (!) and the rest of my pretend blog friends … I mean pretend LinkedIn friends … is like reconnecting with long lost relatives. Exciting and a little intimidating. But all of them were really great and down to earth. Except that Kennedy. Such a prima donna. I kid, I kid.

Meeting Canadians: Who can forget meeting the Great Librarian of Upper Canada! Beat that. Then there was Phil of the Future (my name for him), Steve Matthews (nice guy), Brett Burney (I think he’s Canadian), Dominic Jaar (vive la Quebec libre!), the boys from Clio (or as I called them, the Booth Babes), and a host of other talent from the Great White North. It was great to meet you all: now go back where the ice doesn’t melt until July.

Technology Becoming Accepted: This year for the first time in memory I noticed a preponderance of grey hairs and the careful gait of partners scoping out potential buys for their offices.  This was not the brash, flash-in-the-pan TechShow of the late-90’s in which the Internet was decried as a fad.

SaaS, Saas, and more Saas: Software as a service was all over the place, and by next year it will be pervasive. This year I was knocked out by the number and variety of kick-ass SaaS providers at the show including Clio, RocketMatter, and VLO Tech. Clio was my hands-down favorite for a number of reasons – I intend to use it in my own practice. Whatever your cup of tea, the idea of throwing away the IT department in favor of the Cloud is gaining traction fast.

Less is … Less: One lamentable fact about this  year’s show – there was less of it than I’ve seen in a long time. Another casualty of the economy I’d say, but we shouldn’t overlook the fact that many legal technology vendors have been slaves to profit instead of boosters for innovation and the slow economy is making it painfully apparent what a royal screw job they’ve been giving lawyers all these years. Many players couldn’t make it ? Good riddance to bad company.

Other than that however, it was a great experience as always and one that I heartily recommend to one and all. If you haven’t been to TechShow, go there. If you have, come back. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

For more coverage see my SmallLaw Column in TechnoLawyer.

Check out Twitter coverage of TechShow.

As always, I’d love your thoughts. E-mail me at mhedayat[at] or tweet me @practichacker.

ttyl 🙂

NextFest 2008 – Twitter Posts

As promised here, below are my Tweets from the Chris Anderson presentation entitled The Future of Free. You can also follow me on Twitter to stay plugged in or to see more updates.

Where Business Is Headed?

10:00AM Sitting in the front row listening to The Future of Free; Chris Anderson discussing supply and demand on the Internet and how to get value by giving things away

10:09AM Our language reflects what we think of the concept of free in that there is both “good” free (liberation) and “bad” free (come-on) but there is no “free” lunch (so to speak)

10:14AM The different types of “free” that make up the freeconomy

Cross-Subsidy: see King Gillette and the disposable razors. It’s about loss leaders; give-a-ways; disposable products

Too Cheap To Meter: See Moore’s Law of Diminishing Costs – ever-cheaper inputs yield ever more complex products that can be made for next to nothing; telephones, gas, electricity, computer memory, computing power, Internet bandwidth

Ad-Supported Free: This is 3rd party subsidization – i.e. TV, Radio, Internet – and it is the model of the 20th century (the one we all know)

Allen Kay > developed graphical user interface at Xerox Park > used by Apple and MS Windows > lead to Tim Berners Lee and HTML > gave us the WWW >  what’s next?

10:38AM Moore’s Law leads to novel and “wasteful” ways to use technology – which can change everything – the Internet is all about waste, new ideas, frequent failure, occasional successes, and the cycle

Technologists have only one legitimate job >> make it cheap and fast then get out of the way and let the crowd decide how to use it. Don’t try to tell us what to do because you can’t see the forest for the trees.

10:48AM The rule in the “free” Internet economy … marginal cost = zero, so in order to make money you must give it away in exchange for the new currencies of attention and reputation [the Internet leads the way here]

Attention = links

Reputation = page rank

The new paradigm: give away 100 to covert 1 and still cover your costs

10:57AM In the Q&A session Mr. Anderson answered my question about converting groups of professionals and other scarcity-based “knowledge workers” like Attorneys, CPA’s, Physicians, etc.

Wired NextFest 2008 – You Are There

nextfest 2008 logo

A Face For Radio

Vintage TV show You Are There represented early television’s attempt to evoke a live event by recreating a historical one. Kind of like reporting or blogging. As a TV show however, it was the kind of yawner that could only have aired at a time when the medium was desperate for content and network executives reasoned that any show that had enjoyed success on the radio couldn’t miss on TV. So what’s that got to do with NextFest 2008? Let me explain.

Mr. Micro Meet Mr. Blog

When I got the invitation to hear Wired Editor in Chief Chris Anderson talk about his book Free! I planned to blog the experience as I had the ABA TechShow and other events over the past few years.

But when I arrived at NextFest something told me this was going to be different. Maybe it was the pervasive use of blue lights or the elegant feng shui of the exhibits; maybe I had an epiphany wedged in the front row of the audience between one lady holding a video-camera over my head and another balancing a pocket recorder between thumb and forefinger inches from my face. Whatever the reason, I knew that I had to take evasive action. My answer: iPhone + Twitterphone. You can see the results in this companion post or choose to follow me on Twitter.

So…What’s The Connection?

As Anderson noted in his presentation, The Future of Free (which is really just his spin on Joseph Schumpeter‘s theory of “creative destruction”), there are a number of forces that link new ideas and new media, from You Are There in the early days of television to Twitter on the Internet. They are:

  • Fear of scarcity brings out radically different behaviors than hopes of abundance
  • The latter inevitably leads to waste – the good kind that encourages trial-and-error
  • Where the cost of failure is virtually zero, experimentation will flourish
  • Where people are trying new things all the time, at least 1 good idea is bound to assert itself
  • If the attempt is a bust, the cycle can quickly restart thanks to low barriers and costs

In the end, You Are There wasn’t so much a TV show as a radio program retrofitted for the new medium. It wasn’t until mass adoption of TV-sets and the ubiquity of free programming a decade later that broadcasters began understanding that they could afford to fail and not lose their audience. The experience lead TV in directions that its inventors could never have foreseen.

The Future of Free! Is The Future of the Internet

The Internet is our generation’s zero-cost distribution system; our TV. Twitter itself is a perfect example of how the Internet has lead to waste – the wrong and right kinds. So what if Twitter and its clones turn out to be spectacular failures? It doesn’t matter; the eco-system created by the Internet is still at work so long as thousands of failures lead to 1 good idea. After all, that’s what the future of free is all about.

Share this post :

What: Wired NextFest 2008
When: Saturday, September 27, 2008 (all day)
Where: Millennium Park, Chase Promenade

55 N Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois United States

When do we turn the page?

ZDNets – Between the lines post

ZDnet was a technology space? The two videos posted reflect items captured on camera that reflect a negative response of the people. Which is usually hammered at by other’s with social agenda’s that at-times itself is a distraction.

Apple is planning on streaming video with the support of CCTV (funny enough-China Central Television). This can prove to be a tremendous break-through. Broadcasting feeds generated from Surveillance cameras. Only in such a “closed” lab like environment can this possibly take place.

The behind the scenes knowledge obtained, used the right way in a “free” society, can open avenues of possibilities today only on paper.

Chicago – only second to London is developing an infrastructure of surveillance cameras that now looks to encourage businesses to join the network through its 911 center. Is it possible the surveillance build up in these cities is connected with the Olympics?  (Chicago is still in running to host 2016)

Not to overlook China’s other side, we have a strong tendency within our own media of “selective” messages.

One main role technology plays is finding alternate uses for ideas once there created. At times we leave this up to the “free” market to bring forward. If we spend to much time with the Orwellian theory, we risk the opportunity of missing something that may prove more important to society.

Communities across this great nation are embracing surveillance with the honorable objective of securing the land for the people. The camera was never in question, it is those behind the camera.

It is sad individuals don’t see this opportunity an trumpet in a new concept in using surveillance cameras. Maybe “hits/visitors” are more important the true content.


Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites

gives a review of AVVO’s new updates

I thought of it first

Ed. Note: From the legendary Signal v. Noise blog comes this nugget of insight from the members of Chicago-based 37 Signals (readers of this blog already know how I feel about 37 Signals) : you’re not nearly as smart as you think. Wow .. it’s like they know me.

37 Signals

So somebody else built a successful business on that idea you had three years ago. What does that mean? That if you would just have pursued that idea, you would now automatically be enjoying their spoils? Sorry to burst your bubble, but I really don’t think so.

Ideas on their own are just not that important. It’s incredibly rare that someone comes up with an idea so unique, so protectable that the success story writes itself. Most ideas are nothing without execution.

Just because you thought of a site to share photos with friends wouldn’t have made you Flickr.

But I can see how fooling yourself into thinking otherwise is attractive. When someone else is having success with an idea similar to yours, it’s almost like you’re having that success, if only you would have pulled the trigger on it. It inflates the sense that your brilliant idea really was brilliant and that success was just a binary switch away (pursue/don’t).

On the other hand, it means that you don’t need divine inspiration to start a successful business. Doing well is not restricted only to those who can have paradigm-shifting ideas. You just need to do it better, or actually merely even good enough, to please enough paying customers that income can exceed expense and you’re off to a great start.

You’re probably too young to wear nostalgia gracefully, anyway.

Merry Christmas Mr. Britton: Brown v. Avvo Dismissed


SEATTLE, WA–(Marketwire – December 18, 2007) – In this opinion the U.S. District Court in Seattle, WA dismissed the class action complaint filed in June 2007 against nascent attorney-portal and rating site Avvo with prejudice. This blog has been following Avvo, and the Brown lawsuit, since its inception. Ironically, the suit probably drew more attention to Avvo than the site would have otherwise attracted. Take that Counselor.

In its motion to dismiss Avvo argued that its publication of attorney disciplinary information and the opinions of clients and colleagues, as well as its own numerical rating, constituted protected speech. The Court agreed, stating that all of the foregoing “are absolutely protected by the First Amendment and cannot serve as the basis for liability under state law.” In short, lawyers now have to take it as well as they give it out.

Avvo CEO Mark Britton, a lawyer himself, says Attorneys in the jurisdictions in which Avvo operates (currently Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington) had “better not pout, better not cry, better not shout I’m telling you why – Avvo-Clause is coming to  town … to eat your lunch if you don’t come clean with clients.” Ed. Note. That quote may not have actually been from Mark Britton.

See other Avvo articles on the pm blog