This past week I had the privilege of attending the Internet Week NY conference. I want to first thank the Internet Week NY organizers for making a student pass available. If only TechCrunch and Business Insider would offer a discount to their conferences as well (wishful thinking).

Internet Week NY is more of a crowd-sourced festival than an actual conference. Founded in 2008 in conjunction with The NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment the week long event includes speeches and classroom sessions at IWNY headquarters in SOHO, and numerous other networking and educational events throughout the city. The conference kicked off with a speech on big data from Billy Bean, General Manager of the Oakland A’s. It was fascinating to hear the story of “Moneyball” first hand.

The other highlight was hearing Mitchell Baker, co-founder of Mozilla, speak about the future of Mozilla and Firefox. She seemed to have a clear vision of how Mozilla can become a larger player in the mobile space. The strategy includes using HTML 5 apps to let Mozilla become a platform for future devices. This shouldn’t be a surprising strategy at this stage, but it was intriguing to hear her discuss the future of the platform.

I was also able to attend a few e-commerce specific events: 1.) Recreating Retail: Bringing the In-Store Experience Online, 2.) Etsy: Transforming Search in the Digital Marketplace, and 3.) The Power of Content: How Women Connect, Catch Up and Share Online (relevant to my current internship at The panels unfortunately confirmed my general dislike for panels. I believe only one comment during the Recreating Retail panel was actually relevant to the topic. The majority of the discussions were dominated by one or two people, and in both cases it was the people who added the least value. I continue to dislike panel discussions.

Overall it was a  great 4 day event and it was good to mix it up with the NYC startup scene during the short time I will be in the city. Now on to TechCrunch Disrupt.