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April 17, 2008



We went to a fun Potomac Tech Wire roundtable on the future of the Internet yesterday morning at the Tysons Ritz before a techie crowd of 250you know, a lot of predictions about social networking and Web 2.0, but frankly we kept wondering, shouldn't we be on Web 3.0 by now??  Maybe we're on the verge of something new because panelist Jay Rappaport, COO of world's largest widgetmaker Clearspring, told us his company is on the verge of a "mega deal" with a "major Internet company" that will "change the way content is delivered to everyone." We pushed for more, but Rappaport, the former President of Vonage and COO of AOL Services, wouldn't budge. He also said a second big deal is in the works, but "I am not even talking about that one."


Rappaport, here with Equis VP Steve Ross, said Clearspring had 140 million worldwide users last month, according to comScore. Maybe Jay is keeping stuff secret from us due to this picture of him juggling that he said his friends gave him heck for.


Mixx CEO Chris McGill stands with his VP of Product Dev Will Kern and Intridea's Chris Selmer. Chris tells us his social networking site had more then 500,000 unique visitors last month, not bad considering they just launched last November. McGill, former GM of Yahoo News and VP of Strategy at USA Today, says the site puts content providers in touch with consumers. As an example, McGill, a baseball fan, said publishers of Red Sox material will tag their content to make it easy for users to find. He's  looking forward to next weekend when he takes his four-year-old daughter to see the Nats play the Cubs, her first big league game.


Loladex CEO Laurence Hopper, Grotech Ventures GP Don Rainey and Valhalla Partners' Scott Frederick joined Rappaport and McGill on the panel moderated by PTW editor Paul Sherman. McGill said it is a great time to start an Internet business, because biggies such as AOL, Yahoo and Google "are no longer leaders in innovation. It's the kids starting out of their garage." The panel said sites such as MySpace and Twitter will continue to evolve as consumers dictate the direction of the Web. "If I want scores for my UCLA Bruins, I do not want to go search for them, but have them on my own page as soon as I log on," Rappaport said said. "It is that type of interaction that is going to drive Web 2.0."


Fairfax County Economic Development Authority's Karen Smaw, Alan Fogg and Anita Grazer circle Garson Claxton's I.J. Hudson (evidently the only one who can go without coffee). Fogg reminded us Volkswagen's in the process of moving corporate headquarters to Herndon, and that CSC's moving from El Segundo, Calif., to Falls Church. Fogg himself has been on the move, recently returning form a trip to Barcelona and Madrid.


Paul Unger of Paul Unger NBS Search and Next Step Partners' Doug Jerger . Unger searches for upper level management while Next Step Partners trains top executives to be better leaders. Unger said this weekend he's venturing down to Myrtle Beach for a four-day golf binge with 11 other guys. "At best my golf game is embarrassing," he said.

David Stegon is Bisnow's tech guru. He loves to hear compliments, complaints (not really), and story ideas, so call him with any of the above at 703-674-7718 or shoot an email to David@Bisnow.com



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