Technophiles Flock to HBS Conference

Two-day event attracts more than 1,200 to examine the future of cyberspace

Students, industry professionals, alumni and faculty curious about the growth and future of technology visited Cambridge this weekend for "Cyberposium 1998: The Net Effect," a high-tech conference run by the High Tech and New Media Club of the Harvard Business School (HBS).

The two-day conference, held this past Friday and Saturday, attracted over 1,200 participants from 20 partner MBA programs, including the Asian Institute of Management, Georgetown University, London Business School, Vanderbilt University, MIT and Yale.

About 120 participating companies, as well as a volunteer team of 125 students from around the world, led discussions and presentations on cutting-edge computer-based technology.

The weekend's panels covered topics from the transformation of financial services to the reshaping of the world of education and intellectual property law.

The Cyperposium web site (, created by a number of companies such as and zoecom, broadcast video clips of the panel discussions for those unable to attend.


The conference began with a keynote address by Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo!, the popular Internet search engine. The speech was taped by C-SPAN and was presented live on the conference web site in Real Video.

Yang stressed that to build a real community on the Internet, users should put in more than they take out "to make the web a better place for people to use."

Eric Hippeau, chair and CEO of Ziff-Davis Inc., also presented a keynote address in which he discussed issues concerning privacy on the Internet, self-regulation of the industry and the recent initial public offering of Ziff-Davis on the stock exchange.

The key objectives of the conference were "community, learning and technology," said Philip L. Terry, Cyberposium co-chair and a HBS second-year.

Terry said the event's goal was to "create a community at HBS and at other MBA programs where people could really learn about the high-tech industry".

According to Allison H. Mnookin, a second-year at HBS and marketing director for the conference, about 90 percent of the participants registered online.

Mnookin noted the innovative use of the Internet as a means of bringing people together.

"People were really moved by the sense of community and the personal involvement of the conference," Mnookin said.

With the help of the HBS Information Technology Group and the HBS faculty, the conference took form.

According to Jill S. Schaeffer, Cyberposium co-chair and a HBS second-year, "the faculty has been very supportive."

Indicating the success of the conference, Schaeffer said that once, up to 100 simultaneous users and 10,000 individuals visited the conference web site.

"The spirit of learning has made a significant difference. The technology world is not always inclusive of people who don't understand technology," Terry said. "The spirit that Jill and the team developed has been great."

Among the 28 corporate sponsors, several Internet companies--including Yahoo!, Lycos and promote the event with free banner advertising on their respective web sites.

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