Thursday 22 May 2008 was the big day of Transaction 2.0 and Techramp. What a hoot….. up at 5.45 having worked on my content until 1am, a quick run in the gym to get the blood moving and off to CeBIT by 7.30 to ensure everything was honkey dorey and to meet Ivan Kaye from Business Strategies International at 8am.

It started with me introducing Jackie Taranto, MD of Hannover Fairs Australia to officially open Transaction 2.0. She was telling me prior to the introduction about some of the things that she was involved with to try to grow the industry and the work that Hannover has done in this regard. A down to earth dynamo is a good description.

Then I introduced Paul Slakely of Google to talk about cloud computing, interesting topics that ran for an hour with all the questions from the people that attended. A great speaker who was very candid about where this is going. Make no doubt about it, Google is going after providing a huge range of services for businesses. Nice to be able to tell him that Gilad Greenbaum and I collaborated on a Google Spreadsheet to set up the conference.

Then Transaction 2.0 split into 2 rooms with me chairing Techramp. First up was Jason Calacanis who promised to convince everyone that they should fire everyone that is average and good in the business, and how he had mathematically proven it. Got people thinking (intentionally controversial) and he has spent a lot of time thinking about this topic. Whilst it may sound brutal and a tad unkind, his analogy was sports. We all know that we expect coaches to fire – quickly – average performers and transition your good performers to excellent performers. Watch mahalo – let’s see how he goes. Was fun trying to explain his presentation in 4 minutes at the airport to Richard Giles of scouta

About this point, my brother who was in the audience came up to say hello. With a “know this bloke?” I turned to find my father who had surprised me by coming over from Australind in Western Australia to check out the day. Paid full fair to get to Sydney and full freight for the CeBIT ticket. What a huge and wonderful surprise, nice one Dad…

Mick from Polenizer then got up to talk about focus (good book on that, see Focus from the book link above) as it relates to startup companies. Great talk and right on the money for mine.

I felt like I was trying to steer the speedboat from the ski’s with trying to keep the thing to time. The audience strapped themselves in and hung on, and I think enjoyed themselves immensely.

Quick caffeine break and back into it. Txt messages to Gilad back and forth to keep ourselves running during the day (damned if I know where he gets his energy from).

Great panel on user-centric design, thanks to Ruby, Oliver, Peter and Russ – particularly Russ for seizing the initiative in getting the session off to a good start by flying some questions around to the panel members to get us thinking.

Then we got stuck into Hells Kitchen with Phil from Pollenizer.

Vishal Sharma chaired a panel discussion on Web 2.0 trends, great job and a great panel – Duncan Riley, Gilad Greenbaum, contributions from Mike Cannon-Brookes from Atlassian.

Finally, it was time to get onto the final 5 best Aussie startups. 6 minutes plus 3 minutes of questions. Interesting technical startups.

All of the presentations were interesting and showed companies at really different stages of their thinking. I think each one will have gone away with lots of really good feedback and ways of moving forward. All to be commended on having a red hot go and having the courage to put themselves out there. I’m afraid I just couldn’t stretch out the winner announcement ala Australian idol but was pleased to announce Good Barry (subsequently name changed to Business Catalyst) unanimously voted the winner.

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