Summary: Back from an Online Marketing Summit (OMS — more on this later) as well as Gnomedex — excuse for a week long break from blogging — top 10 highlights from Gnomedex 2007
Bell Harbor Convention Center where Gnomedex 7.0 was held
Yes, I was there — Gnomedex 2007; and boy it was a BLAST! It was my first time there and I personally enjoyed the camaraderie among fellow bloggers (many from the Bay Area) and entertainment/controversy (see below) and personally to me, it was quite an unusual event that focused on bloggers and facilitated their discussions in a physical location. (Full Disclosure: LinkedIn was one of the co-sponsors).
So, here are the highlights (or at least how I saw it) in an entertaining 2-day bloggathon. Some of the crazy stuff that happened both on and off-stage. Here are my top 10 highlights from Gnomedex that I found interesting as a first-timer.
#10. Respek the audience: Audiences start off, by announcing their fear of the Gnomedex audience (well, I wouldn’t be surprised given what happened during Jason’s speech). However, for the most part the audience is receptive to ideas and suggestions feverishly blogging live, taking pictures or just having a good time.
#9. Dancing: Greg Spiridellis (one of the co-creators of Jib Jab — you know the guys who put together “My Land”), after introducing their new feature “Starring You”, added Chris & Ponzi’s image (Scoble and Chris’ for another fun piece) for some of the new flash animation. Anyone can add their photo to pre-visualized dances, kind of like Simpsonize Me. Hilarious!
#8. Random announcements: Apparently, the auditorium was twittering about rampant rumors (via Valleywag) that Scoble was fired at Podtech. Scoble picking up on the twitter feeds yelled out at the end of the Derek Miller presentation that he was NOT fired and clarified that they were after all – only rumors.
#7. Conference chatter to blog chatter: One thing leads to another. Ethan Kaplan (from Warner Music) my audience neighbor on Day 1, summarizes his take on the event (including the Scoble rumor busting event). Online happenings engender offline debates and as of last evening Scoble pulled Ethan into an online debate about Warner Music. About what? Well here it is (quote below):
What you are doing and funding (and supporting through your technology) is FAR worse for the human race than any arguing we’re doing at Gnomedex.
#6. Calacanis vs. Winer: Speaking of blog chatter, leading from what happened at Gnomedex. Jason Calacanis and Dave Winer debate. It’s a long story, one that is well told by Brian Solis. So check it out here. Well, you can also see the conversation spill over online as well.
#5. Be cool: Casual presentations (sometimes too casual) but all the time bordering on the patience of the audience, before something exciting (or untoward!) happens. Trust me; it’s super-exciting and entertaining. For example: the audience decided they wanted Chris to wear his new shoe on his head and badgered him to do so. Justin from Justin.tv auctioned off the real estate on his cap for $750 to b5media. It’s random, quirky and audience generated stuff like this that you won’t find anywhere else.
#4: A Baby Shower! — Chris and Ponzi rolled out a ton of gifts celebrating Robert and Maryam’s baby shower in the middle of the conference. It’s stuff like this that keeps Gnomedex so blogger centric and community focused.
#3. The Goodness of Technology: Many presentations focused on the good that could emanate from technology. In particular, I enjoyed the ones by Darren Barefoot, Jason Calacanis (esp. for the controversy it generated) and there was another one by Michael Linton on Open Money, which was a tad ambiguous (for me). Using technology for good is definitely a theme Gnomedex should stick to. Very cool. Here are similar observations by Ethan.
#2: Derek Miller (MVP, Gnomedex 7.0) — Derek Miller (composer of Gnomedex’s theme song last year) was a regular at Gnomedex, until he was diagnosed with cancer. This year since he couldn’t make it, Chris had us video conference him LIVE, with an inspirational, emotional and heartfelt Q&A that really elevated this event beyond all the controversy, banter and entertainment into one that truly represented the blogger ethic and community, which I consider myself a part of. Here are Derek’s thoughts on the event.
#1: “We ARE the chat room”: After Chris Pirillo placed his shoe on his head acquiescing to a bunch of requests from the audience, he jokingly accused the audience of being like the online chat rooms, to which Dave Winer (i think) yelled out: “We ARE the Chat room”. And, I couldn’t agree more. Gnomedex IS a BLOGGER conference (first and last), placing its focus solely on the community of bloggers. And, it’s a WHOLE LOT OF FUN.
Friends I met include Chris and Ponzi (of course), Chris Brogan, Dave McClure, Deborah Schultz, Guy Kawasaki, Jason Calacanis, Michael Rubin, Betsy Weber, Josh Hallet, Renee Blodgett, Dave Coustan, Marc Canter, Ethan Kaplan and so many more…
Quick Update: Here’s Dave Winer’s critique of Gnomedex 2007. I’d definitely like to add my $0.02 to this conversation (more later this week) and would certainly be bummed out if Winer doesn’t make it to next year’s event 😦 Here’s Dave’s positive highlights post on Gnomedex.