OMMA 2009 in Hollywood -- Best of the Best Discuss Media’s Future

OMMA’s 2009 Hollywood Conference featured some of the biggest names in technology, media and advertising in one of the best cities in the world for it to all unite.  Jason Calacanis, John Battelle, Paul Kedrosky and many others delighted, intrigued and inspired the rooms of listeners.

I’ve always gotten a deep thrill from technology.  However, over the past 18 months, I’ve become hands-on aware within technology’s advancements, as you can see here, here and here.  The amazing revolution that is social media and how it can help just about anyone.

Case in point (and this is my favorite story) last fall I covered a party celebrating entertainment entrepreneur Carlos Leon. I published a day later and posted it on Facebook.  An acquaintance of his saw my posting, posted it themselves.  More mutual friends posted it.  Carlos saw it and posted it as well as added it to his status update.  From an article posted at 9pm, by 2am, it had received thousands of hits.  As the honoree, he received further acclaim.  As the writer, I received dozens of comments, shares and friend requests.

One of the many break-out sessions.

Now this story is nothing new for those alpha-techs, but it’s a great introduction for the layman.  The guy or gal with a small company looking to expand.  The garage band looking to build their audience, or a young PT Anderson writing his first screenplay.  It shows us the future.

So when I had the opportunity to sit in the same room and meet the worldwide giants of the industry, I jumped at it.

It Begins with a Tweet

First thing in the morning and everyone’s groggy.  As I walk in, something I notice and find funny.  OMMA has posted the address to the event’s Twitter feed so anyone can log on and follow the action.  I kind of knew about Twitter already, but it was a great tip off for the next 48 hours of life.

Twitter is mentioned early on again.  A speaker asks for a show of hands as to who is currently using theirs.  To my surprise, majority raise their hands.  But he laughs it off, claiming there’s even more.  Then to prove it, he opens Twitter’s live feed and does a #OMMA search.  Nearly six pages of results in the past five minutes.  It’s not just our host, or this room.  Everyone’s Twittering and they’re doing it right now.

Say What?  Where?  Why?

OMMA stands for Online Media, Marketing and Advertising.  Oversimplifying, it helps the industry to understand what the viewer wants from their on-line media experience.  From websites, to hand-helds and how TV, videogames, movies and any other form of entertainment can cross through the mediums, cross-promote, and of course, monetize.

Jason Calacanis

The hugely successful magazine hosted the event and the stars aligned to bring in a very powerful lineup both for keynote speakers and hands-on sessions.

Jason McCabe Calacanis is the founder and CEO of, a human-powered search engine. Prior to’s launch in May, 2007, he was an "Entrepreneur in Action" at Sequoia Capital, a position he held since December 2006.  Jason co-founded and was the CEO of Weblogs, Inc., a network of popular weblogs that was sold to AOL in November 2005. Upon joining AOL, he was appointed senior vice president. In addition, he was named general manager of AOL’s Netscape. Prior to forming Weblogs Inc., Jason was the founder of Rising Tide Studios, which sold its flagship publication to Dow Jones.

John Battelle is an entrepreneur, journalist, professor and author who has founded or co-founded scores of online, conference, magazine and other media businesses. Prior to founding Federated Media, Battelle co-founded and continues to serve as Executive Producer of the Web 2 Summit conference, as well as "band manager" with He was founder, Chairman, and CEO of Standard Media International (SMI), publisher of The Industry Standard and He created Searchblog, a daily site which covers the intersection of media, technology and the Internet at

John Battelle

Paul Kedrosky advises the Kauffman Foundation as a senior fellow. In this capacity, he uses his experience as a technology entrepreneur, venture capitalist and academic to explore new programming opportunities for Kauffman in the areas of entrepreneurship, innovation, and capital markets. Most recently, Kedrosky has been the executive director of the William J. von Liebig Center in San Diego, California. Using an innovative seed capital program, the Center catalyzes the commercialization of technologies from the internationally ranked University of California, San Diego. Kedrosky is a venture capitalist, media personality, and entrepreneur.

Both days are split into two big keynotes and several more intimate break-out sessions delivering specific examples, how-to’s and success stories.

Over the next 48 hours, it became inspiring and exhausting.  Over 25 pages of notes and 12 hours of audio tape.  When it was all over, I would’ve liked a day or two break, but I could’ve gone right back into it.  The knowledge, expertise and passion shared in these rooms were of A+ quality.

Newspapers Deserve to Die

Jason Calacanis is many things.  Entrepreneur, innovator, tech-provocateur, even screenwriter.  But one of his strongest skills is speaking.  He rallies, rides and ridicules his crowds.  

Paul Kedrosky

He’s scheduled a prime position, right after lunch on day one.  Some people eat in the room, just to assure a seat.  Within 45 minutes, there wasn’t a seat to find.  By the time Calacanis ascended to stage, the standing room was nearly gone with a line out the door.  He knows how to hold attention; and everyone knows it too.  Dare I say, he’s a techno-rock star!

He de-railed traditional media and placed full blame on them.  “They got bloated and lazy thinking they didn’t have to work for their audience [...] when they stopped doing their job, readers stopped caring.”  Now they’re on the verge of bankruptcy.


At the break-out session immediately following Calacanis, the panel begins by discussing....what else, but Calacanis.  Is he right?  Is he wrong?  An older columnist laughed.  His comment was the most insightful: “Jason got what he wanted.  We’re all still talking about him.”  But Calacanis remained throughout the day, all smiles and willing to discuss, suggest and advise anyone who approached.

What truly set OMMA apart from anything else I’ve attended is follow-through.  The day after, I decided to follow the Twitters of many people I met.  Everyone from the stars, down to people I only exchanged a few words with.  I’ve been lucky to find blogs, links and continued advice that these experts share.  

The technological media evolution continues and can involve all of us.  If today is exciting and a noble purveyor of the future, can’t wait for the 2010 OMMA!

For more information on OMMA and it’s global conferences, investigate here.

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