Archive for August 11th, 2007

11
Aug
07

Gnomedex: Ignite Seattle

Saturday morning at Gnomedex started a bit gloomy. Cali Lewis and her husband Neal, creaters of GeekBrief.tv, meant well but felt a bit flat. Although Neal’s humor, mostly unintentional, made for some high points. My favorite? Pointing out that his wife sweats a lot and the tech people needed to use a lot of tape to secure her microphone. Knowing that it was their first time speaking at an event, I’m willing to bet they’ll get better because they do have a good story.

Michael Linton added more content to the open source discussion, this time on the subject of money. Tris Hussey has saved me from making a fool of myself trying to explain Linton’s presentation with his thoughtful write up. My brief recap: money needs more transparency…I think.

By far, however, the best presentation(s) of the morning goes to Ignite Seattle. In a little under 45 minutes, seven presenters got on stage and blew away the audience. You could feel the energy in the room, something not common in all the presentations at Gnomedex.

Ignite Seattle defines itself as follows: “…a geek event that combines on-site geekery, sharing, and innovation (and drinking).” What I saw were focused, entertaining, and insightful takes on a wide range of topics (I’ve linked where I could to the particular individuals):

The frame for the presentations was simple: 20 slides + 15 seconds per slide = 5 minutes. The messages were succinct and powerful because the speakers knew they didn’t have time for the clutter that normally pops up in conferences. I know my posts can run long, so I’m always impressed when I see individuals share their ideas in a concise and informative way. I hope at some point the actual presentations pop up somewhere.

The verdict? Ignite Seattle saved Saturday morning at Gnomedex. Yeah!

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11
Aug
07

Gnomedex: Friday Afternoon

Yes, yes, I know it’s know Saturday morning, and I’m getting this post up late. If you can forgive me, here a brief recap. Following the Bad Sinatra taping during lunch (I only caught the very end), Justin Kan from Justin.tv spoke for a short (very short) time about live streaming. The most exciting thing was the bidding from ad space on Justin’s camera hat. Jeremy Wright, CEO of b5 media, won the contest with a final bid of $750. It ended up the most interesting part of this particular presentation.

Opinions on live streaming vary. Personally, I’d be livid if someone was streaming me without my knowledge, particularly audio, as conversations can be taken out of context. Transparency practitioners, individual comfortable placing the details of their lives in front of the world, are less concerned with being caught on tape. To me, it feels a bit contradictory to promote permission-based systems but not understand the privacy issues issues of live streaming.

Following Justin, Ronni Bennett gave a fascinating presentation on the impact of aging and how it affects one’s ability to access the Internet. Very succinctly, she reminded us that we’ll all get old. Beyond the general application, I appreciated it for the insight it gives me into my grandparents. I provide tech support for their computers and have to been easily frustrated in times past when they don’t “get it.” I appreciated Ms. Bennett’s perspective and reminder that I won’t be young and dexterous forever.

Vanessa Fox took the stage next. Titled, Controlling Your Life 2.0, Vanessa led the most interesting conversation of the day. Controlling your information, and by default your brand, is tricky. Once the information is out there for the world to see, you can never take it back. One of the biggest conversations nodes settled around the topic of controlling/managing the tone of your blog. In essence, what kind of behavior do you promote with the content you’re producing? What does your tone provoke in readers?

A few comments raised the issue of women in technology and how privacy issues affect women differently. However, this part of the discussion stalled a bit and moved on to another area. I’m relatively new to the tech world in the sense of attending conferences and whatnot. I’ve worked with developers on and off for the last seven years, and for the most part, have enjoyed those projects and relationships. But part of me knows that I’m not viewed in the same light as the guys. I adjust my work behavior to mesh better and ignore (mostly) cracks aimed at women in general. I need to give some more thought to the subject.

The final speaker of the day, Jason Calacanis, started out great with the subject of the Internet’s environmental disaster but managed to rile a few conference attendees about a third of the way through—he started talking about his own project, Mahalo. Claiming status as the first human-powered search engine, Mahalo apparently works alongside other search engines, validating the quality of the algorithm results—I think. Chris Pirillo twittered the excellent point that how would get his parents to use Mahalo instead of just Google. Dave Winer shouted down that Jason’s battle against spam was a joke given that he was spamming the audience with his business.  Jason was pretty deflated after that exchange.

The evening ended with a great party at the Seattle Aquarium. Thanks to Ponzi Pirillo for organizing such a fun event.

The highlight of this trip has definitely been meeting new people. I also can’t forget my dinner with my new BFF, Chris Brogan. The conversations have been amazing, and I’ll be a bit sad to head home Sunday. I’ll be back with more about Saturday’s speakers. Have a lovely Saturday.

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