John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Another Historic Tete-a-Tete We'd Like to See at D6

yangballmer.jpgA tough act to follow, last year’s D: All Things Digital 5. How do you best, or even match, a 75-minute joint interview with Microsoft (MSFT) Chairman Bill Gates and Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs–a history-making history lesson taught by two principal protagonists of tech’s narrative? Summon Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse from the dead to reminisce about the “War of Currents”?

No. Better to let history make itself, as it always has, and focus on making news. And it’s likely there will be quite a bit of it coming out of D: All Things Digital 6. With this year’s lineup, how could there not? Microsoft’s Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer onstage together just a month before Gates steps back from his day-to-day duties as company chairman. Time Warner (TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes talking strategy as the media giant prepares to spin off Time Warner Cable and tries to figure out just what the hell to do with AOL. Lowell McAdam of Verizon Wireless (VZ) and FCC Chaiman Kevin Martin appearing separately, but together offering an insider view of the telecom industry as it grapples with issues of Net neutrality, open access and early termination fees. And then there’s Yahoo’s (YHOO) Jerry Yang and Sue Decker, who’ve been struggling to right a foundering Internet pioneer as it battles Google (GOOG), Microsoft, investor-agitator Carl Icahn and itself.

And that’s just a sampling. Clearly, there’s much to talk about. Much news to be made.

Sure, we may not have managed to arrange another tete-a-tete as historic as last year’s Gates/Jobs interview.

But we did manage to get Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Yahoo Co-Founder Jerry Yang on the same stage–albeit at different times. Still, no easy feat, that.

And who knows, perhaps we’ll get them onstage together as well.

So join us at tomorrow for as-it-happens, all-access coverage of the conference. Liveblogs of the sessions and demos. Videos of the speakers. Photos of attendees. You’ll find it all here.

(Photo illustration by Beth Callaghan)

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What’s happening is that we might, in fact, be at a time in our history where we’re being domesticated by these great big societal things, such as Facebook and the Internet. We’re being domesticated by them, because fewer and fewer and fewer of us have to be innovators to get by. And so, in the cold calculus of evolution by natural selection, at no greater time in history than ever before, copiers are probably doing better than innovators. Because innovation is extraordinarily hard.

— Mark Pagel, fellow of the Royal Society and professor of evolutionary biology, in conversation with