Almost a month ago, I moderated a panel at SXSW called “What’s Hot in Web Applications.” The panelists were BJ Fogg of YackPack, Seth Sternberg of Meebo, and Scott Dietzen of Zimbra. Given these panelists, I shifted the discussion from a generic “What’s Hot” to a more focused conversation on what it takes to build a product, and a company, these days. Though all from the Bay Area, the three participants had markedly different approaches and stories: BJ spent a year or two researching the problem and designing the solution before getting funding and bringing on other people; Seth and his group just kept launching products until one felt right — only then did they take funding; Zimbra started business with a sizable round of venture capital, necessitated by the scope of their effort.
The audio of our panel is now available online. It might be a little frustrating during the demoing (which requires seeing the apps work), but the demos were a brief part of the discussion, and the bulk of it really does touch on the issues of creating a product and starting a company. So if you’re in an entrepreneurial mood, I think you’ll appreciate what the panelists have to say.