Category Archives: money

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 🙂

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.

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

55 N Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois United States

The Shape of Things To Come

pyramid power

law firm growth rates

law firm growth rates

As anyone who’s worked at one will tell you, law firms are designed to push work downward and grow by doubling the number of staff for every associate, and adding an associate for every rainmaker. Firms can keep this up as long as those at the top generate business. As a result  the classic law firm pyramid doesn’t “grow” so much as it expands in all directions at the base.

That wide base makes for a stable structure; not only that, but minions are notoriously good at billing, overstaffed offices make clients feel secure, law schools fawn over big firms, and the obscene profit margins prove that doing things this way is an absolute good.

In fact even auxiliary players favor this approach: from Westlaw and Lexis to office supply stores, everyone makes out when clients foot the bill. ‘But,’ you ask, ‘what about lawyer satisfaction … staff retention … client service?’ Grow up. Firms are too timid to change, billable hours punish efficiency, rainmakers would rather find cheap employees than leverage information; and the type of client that can afford such services is either cost insensitive or doesn’t know they’re being taken. Then again no-one ever got fired for hiring IBM, right? It’s win-win baby!

Ironically, the ones motivated to change the system are so buried in it that they’re rarely seen or heard from. But that may be changing thanks to the big 2.0 – Web 2.0, Law 2.0, whatever 2.0. The point is that applications like Digg, Flickr, Blogger, and Twitter could become the nimble alternatives to the standard bloatware spewing from Microsoft and IBM. If so then the Gen-Y users of these apps could very well level the playing field at many firms or just jumpish ship altogether. The result is that more and more the hierarchy of the firm is giving way to the mesh of relationships we might call the un-law firm.

Of course there is a wide gulf between theory and action, but real change could take place soon; and for all we know may already be happening. The question is, given the opportunity would we support  these kinds of changes or resist them? To answer that question I refer back to my first year in business school when were were taught about the “Buggy Whip” industry at the outset of the 20th century.

circle of life

the un-law firm

It seems that when cars were introduced in the late 1800’s the companies that made carriages and whips laughed out loud. They had a track record going back to the golden age of Western civilization, while cars were loud, uncomfortable, complex, and quite frankly dangerous. Who would want one of those they reasoned? I guess we know how that one turned out.

Better still, e-mail me at mhedayat[at] with your thoughts.


A Glimpse Into the Mobile Future … Thanks to GigaOM

GigaOm with Om Malik

GigaOm with Om Malik


See the original post here to find out more about a spiffy little contest being run by the chic-geeks over at GigaOM – their goal is to uncover tomorrow’s cool mobile applications today. Yeah … that’ll happen. Thus far these companies have made the cut. But the competition continues. At least according to the GigaOM site.

Fonemesh: a software maker for the “wi-fi mesh” (i.e. when cell-phones learn to talk to one another and to the surrounding computers, printers, and smart appliances, this company’s software will be there … they say) 

Tunewiki: Groups of people collaborate to transcribe lyrics for songs and correct mistakes. This sounds like a mobile transcription application waiting to be introduced to the legal market.

Heysan: An instant-message (IM) system tricked-out especially for mobile devices like phones, iPod touch, BlackBerry, etc. We don’t have enough of these already? 

Pinch Media: Analytics for iPhone applications. There’s always money to be made analyzing what people want, what they watch, what they do, etc. And going to the mobile handset market is the logical choice.

Fonolo: A tool that makes calling customer support or your bank a little more bearable (I haven’t seen it yet but I bet it allows you to hang up then rings you when a real person comes back on the line). I could see this working in a lot of ways.

Skyfire: A mobile browser that does everything a desktop browser will do, including Ajax and Flash. This goes in the “I’ll believe it when I see it” category.

Zecter: For sharing your media from the desktop and the cloud to your phone or mobile device. Again I ask … don’t we already have this in at least 2 flavors? MobileMe for Apple iPhone and LiveMesh for Windows mobile devices. So this company adds value how?

LuckyCal: It turns your calendar into a hub for your mobile life. Whatever. No comment

MotionDSP: Technology that helps clean up videos and make them more watchable on mobiles. Okay.

Cumulux: Super-stealth mode. You have to come to the conference to get the low down.

Placethings: A mobile media platform that allows people to create and interact with place-based media from their mobile device.

Fusion Garage Project: A browser-based mobile OS that ties it to web services.

Tapulous: iPhone games that strategically utilize the social network embodied in the phone.

Time for An E-mail Facelift?

LawTech Partners

Downtown Workshop at the Metropolitan Club

Monday, August 11, 2008 // 8.30am – 11.00am

Time to take the training wheels off and lose that comcast, yahoo, or prodigy e-mail address. Using a professional email address with your firm name speaks volumes of your image and dedication to your work. Attend this session to learn how to secure your personal domain and start using it right away! Many solo and small firm attorneys still use e-mail addresses like or when makes more sense and is more professional. This seminar can help you get from there to here.


Sessions open to not more than 10 attendees and include a continental breakfast. To register, call 888.528.3364 or e-mail LawTech Partners. The non-refundable fee for this session ($99) is required in advance. Checks are accepted but reservation are not guaranteed until receipt. Registrants can also call Adriana Linnares at 407.583.6811

Click here to join the LawTech Mailing List!

Sponsored By


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things your cell phone can’t do .. yet

from Read/Write/Web comes .. a glimpse into the future


Universal (Geo) Tagging

Take a picture. Add comments. Your phone will automatically tag the picture  and send itto a central online location like Flickr. Others can find your picture using its location or tag and cross-reference it on a  map. Bye-bye privacy …


Instant Information

Your phone will soon be able to provide background information on pretty much anything. Better yet, assuming that a sufficiently large photo-tag database develops, your phone will be able to recognize the object in question automatically and retrieve the right information.


Recommendations on Demand

You want to go to a certain restaurant or see a movie. Do you know anyone who’s been there?, seen it, or done it? Soon you’ll be able to find out immediately and search for their recommendations and reactions.


Proximity-Based Contacts

Friends and colleagues  in your vicinity will be detected automatically. You can  contact them  right away to set up that long-overdue meeting.


Cash, Credit, or iPhone?

Walk into a store and choose the credit card icon to communicate securely with the register via Blue Tooth or Wi-Fi. The transaction is secured via biometrics (fingerprints, retinal scan, etc.).


The Demise of Paper

Get receipts and business cards on your phone via Bluetooth or Wifi; they will also be automatically uploaded and backed up online. Enhance and annotate the information with instant access to online sources keyed to your subject as well.


Critical Data on Demand

What’s better than keeping personal information on a flash-drive for emergencies? Keeping it on your phone so you can access it anytime.


Deals, Deals, Deals

Retailers can now track your location and send competing deals to your attention – before you buy from Toys R Us, consider this offer from KB Toys for instance. The possibilities are limitless.