While Version 2.0 of
conference will be held at the same Net place -- the slope-side digs of Cliff Lodge in Snowbird, Utah -- 2000's dot-com bash will be held at a very different Net time.
Business-to-consumer names that were all the rage at the conference's inaugural session have become, well, so 1999. This year, and this Monday, the business-to-business e-commerce companies will be the ones to command overflowing conference rooms of turtle-necked investors and analysts, while some traditional powers such as
try to answer some big questions.
"We're asking what will be the next generation of companies to be defining the Internet," says Paul Noglows, managing director at Chase H&Q's Internet Media Group. "There's a much heavier emphasis this year on B2B and B2C hybrids" than during last year's conference.
That means the hot lights will be trained on B2B bigwigs such as
Investors trying to figure out what lies around the bend for the Net will be watching names such as
Art Technology Group
, customer-service software provider
Primus Knowledge Solutions
and email facilitator
Mickey Brivic, an analyst for
USAA Investment Management
in San Antonio, says that's his objective for the conference, as well as keeping tabs on the competitors of companies his funds are invested in.
For instance, USAA is an investor in
, a company that's forging into the relatively undiscovered world of data security over wireless networks. With VeriSign dominating that space on the Internet, Brivic will probe the company about its intentions for the wireless area.
"My objective is to make sure the 800-pound gorilla, VeriSign, doesn't have something up its sleeve to derail Entrust's efforts," Brivic says. "We're looking for a kind of confirmation that where we are is where we need to be. Are we ahead of the curve or are we being naive?"
Contrary to what you might think from their stocks' recent performances, the old-world dot-coms have not completely rolled over to let B2B names take center stage.
will be presenting, and they show no signs of losing their drawing power.
Brivic say AOL's pitch is one he'll be sure to take in, to gauge where the company has gone since announcing its proposed merger with
"They're kind of the first company to make the proposition that we're going to start integrating the new economy with the old," Brivic says. "Hopefully, they've now had time to see how this strategy is going to play out and whether it's going to flow to the bottom line."
That may well be the unofficial theme of Version 2.0: how Internet companies that brought sweeping changes to the economy are now adjusting to the sweeping changes that the Internet is throwing at them.
"We're very interested in looking at the new players and the new business models, as well as evolving business models," says Chase H&Q's Noglows. Two hybrid B2B-B2C plays that will present at the conference, for instance, are search-services provider
and direct advertiser
But given the venue of this conference, the chatter won't be restricted to meeting rooms and luncheons. Or as Brivic puts it, "They sure have given us a lot of time to ski, haven't they?"