He spoke at WebBuilder on web services, pointing out how an old economist had pointed out the benefits to industry of lowering the barriers to describing, discovering, and using resources. These days "resources" are web services--information offered through HTTP and XML based RPC protocols like XML-RPC and SOAP. The description, discovering, and exploitation of those resources is now done via SOAP, UDDI, WSDL, and all the other four-letter words being bandied around by the web services folks.
Anyway, long story short
"Does this paean have a point?" I hear you asking. Yup. James will be at the Open Source Convention, talking about Web Services (among other things). If you ask nicely, he may even talk about the old economist and you'll be able to say "oh, THAT'S what Nat was on about."
Just don't ask for his opinion of New Zealanders