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Away Mission - PayPal Innovate

By Howard Dyckoff

PayPal's Innovate developer conference comes the San Francisco on October 26-27. Here's a chance to learn how the web collects its money.

This year, they move from the arguably lower-rent San Francisco Concourse, an augmented warehouse with skylights and carpeting, to the tech conference standard of the Moscone Center. The first event in 2009 was was a sell-out and was bursting at the seams. The step up is partly necessitated by the fact the rooms were not big enough for most of the 2009 sessions.

This year, some of the same formula is present: a 2-day format, ultra-low price (under $200 if you early-bird it), and major guest speakers like Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, and Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape Communications.

This year has an extra deal: a conference pass and 2 nights at the Parc 55 Hotel for only $399. And you can save $50 off that if you register by October 3rd with code INV810.

The food and caffeine was plentiful in 2009, even though it was mostly sandwiches, chips, and pizza - but really good pizza. They did not take away the coffee/tea/soda between sessions and that is most appreciated. At the Moscone Center, catering staff take away food and drink after the allotted time has passed. Let's see if the coffee urns stay out this year.

But why PayPal? Because of their PayPal X community which developed when they opened up their APIs and also because PayPal is empowering the global micro-payments industry and is experimenting with mobile phone micro-payments to support aid and development projects in the 3rd world - bringing hi-tech into lo-tech places. The event is in part about "crafting the future of money, literally changing the way the world pays." That's a very ambitious goal.

More specifically, PayPal X is an open global payments platform which includes developer tools and resources. The developer community around PayPal X is trying to shape the way the world uses - and thinks about - money. Those tools can be reviewed and tested at http://x.com. They include payment APIs, code samples, in-depth documentation, training modules, and much more.

According to an article in the Economist magazine in 2009, the use of mobile money via cell phone in the developing world reduces banking and transportation costs and leads to family wealth increasing by 5-30%. Transactions are faster, safer, and have better transaction logging. Mobile payments are becoming the default banking system of those without banks and credit, accelerating the movement away from cash.

There will be over 50 technical sessions for an expected 2000-2500 attendees. And at these sessions you can learn strategies for monetizing businesses or see how others are using the PayPal APIs. Last year there also were chalk talk sessions but they were mostly under-attended.

This link take you to the Innovate 2009 Keynotes and Breakout Sessions: https://www.x.com/docs/DOC-1584

To get a better sense of the ad-hoc and dynamic nature of the sessions, check out these 3 session links:

  • PayPal 101: Payments for Developers: https://www.x.com/videos/1036
  • The Intersection of Mind and Money: https://www.x.com/videos/1034
  • Banking the Unbanked: https://www.x.com/videos/1077

    There were lots of giveaways: free PayPal Dev accounts, source code giveaways (the shopping cart PayPal developed for Facebook), T-shirts, etc. But the most outstanding perk for PayPal Innovate attendees was the 10 inch ASUS 'eee-pc' netbook given to all who were at the keynote on the first day. They did run out and gave receipts to the late claimants to get an eee shipped to them - the luggage tag in the conference bag had a time code which determined if you were an early bird or a late one. The netbook came preloaded with PayPal X materials and had a PayPal sticker on the cover. I suspect that the perks this year will be smaller as Moscone Convention Center rates must be 2x-3x of the 2009 site. In fact, you might say the 2009 PayPal conference was free and $200-300 fee went into the perks... no guarantees for 2010, however.

    To register or find out more about the Innovate conference, visit: https://www.paypal-xinnovate.com/index.html


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    Bio picture

    Howard Dyckoff is a long term IT professional with primary experience at Fortune 100 and 200 firms. Before his IT career, he worked for Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine and before that used to edit SkyCom, a newsletter for astronomers and rocketeers. He hails from the Republic of Brooklyn [and Polytechnic Institute] and now, after several trips to Himalayan mountain tops, resides in the SF Bay Area with a large book collection and several pet rocks.

    Howard maintains the Technology-Events blog at blogspot.com from which he contributes the Events listing for Linux Gazette. Visit the blog to preview some of the next month's NewsBytes Events.

    Copyright © 2010, Howard Dyckoff. Released under the Open Publication License unless otherwise noted in the body of the article. Linux Gazette is not produced, sponsored, or endorsed by its prior host, SSC, Inc.

    Published in Issue 179 of Linux Gazette, October 2010

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