FASTforward 08 – Getting Religion about Search

I know I work at FAST but FASTforward is much much bigger than what our company does and when you hear so many keynotes that are talking about the importance of the now of search and how it’s become the key to enterprise success, one can’t help and become enthused and in the end Get Religion about Search.

Below I provide some short summaries on the following topics:

  • Vertical/Local/Ad Networks
  • Keynotes
  • Microsoft acquisition of FAST

For further reading, the FASTforward blog has a consolidated and rich number of posts for more thoughts.

The validation of Vertical/Local/indy AdNetworks:

Elaborating on the stats that IDC provided in early 07 that 70% of searches in the US happen outside of GYM, Sue Feldman provided some stats that vertical sites, including those focused on Local, will have almost 3bill search queries in 2012, while Google will only have 250 million and in fact emerging AdNetworks will have more traffic than Google.

This is very exciting news and one that AdViking has been visioning for approximately 2.5 years.

To further validate this, there was a Local Search session where there were four customers of FAST (and more specifically of AdMomentum) who had exciting opportunities for each of their markets. What was exciting what that the customers were globally spread (Arab region, Chile, Germany and Ireland) and more so there were more customers in the audience doing the same thing in their markets.


There were so many great talks from speakers like:

  • Andrew P. McAfee, Associate Professor, Harvard Business School
  • Bjørn Olstad, Chief Technology Officer, FAST
  • Don Tapscott, Chief Executive, New Paradigm, the Business Innovation Company
  • John Hagel, Author, Consultant, & Co-Chair, Deloitte & Touche Silicon Valley Research Lab
  • Safa Rashtchy, Financial Analyst, Entrepreneur, & Past Managing Director, Global Internet Media, Piper Jaffray and Company
  • Susan Feldman, Research Vice President, Content Technologies Group, IDC

From doing a quick straw poll people said that the presentations by Tapscott and Feldman were highlight keynotes.

For me, a personal highlight was a fascinating panel with Olsted, Hagel and Rashtchy. It was so deep that I couldn’t take it in to repeat anything worthwhile at this point. A video should be available soon, so once that is, I’ll be back by more. One that that did stick was in response to the question “What is the last thing you changed you mind about?”; Olsted responded without missing a beat, “Microsoft!”


Microsoft, through Jared Spataro, gave a measured insight into why MSFT is acquiring FAST. He started the presentation with some anecdotes, including that a couple of days after the news of the offer was made, a NASCAR team approached them asking if they could actually have FAST sponsor their team!


The quick summary can be clustered under:

  1. What’s in it for Microsoft?
  2. What’s in it for FAST?
  3. What’s in it for Customers?

What’s in it for Microsoft?

MSFT has figured it out that the user experience of the future is going to be shaped by search. To that end that had begun their own initiatives and taking Search seriously, but on the back of a visit to Redmond by the CTO and CEO of FAST, they realised that by purchasing FAST they would be able to take an aggressive leap forward.

What’s in it for FAST?

FAST has visionary innovations, passionate people and best-in-class technologies that with the power of Microsoft will be able to bring all of that to bear in the world and therefore the technologies and innovations will be available to all.

What’s in it for Customers?

For this cluster, Spataro, elaborated on their strategy for Search and in particular spent time focusing on the Enterprise and how Sharepoint is appearing to be a wild shooting star (approx $1billion in revenues for 08). The key takeaway is that customers will get all that they are use to from FAST but backed by a trusted infrastructure vendor. I’m sure more details will be forthcoming at the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2008


2 Responses to FASTforward 08 – Getting Religion about Search

  1. […] on AdViking you can read a nice recap of Fast Forward and hear how Simon B is getting religious about […]

  2. […] Off the main topic of AdViking, but interesting none the less.  As predicted in my post about Getting Religion about Search, some more visibility into Microsoft’s thinking about the importance of Search and how they […]

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