Sponsorship at BloggerCon
The cost of BloggerCon has been much-discussed in the last few days. Last night Christina Schulman, who has worked as a conference coordinator, sent an email asking for details, which I quickly provided. I cc'd the email to the BloggerCon mail list.
Second, I got an email on Thursday from Glenn Fleishman saying he couldn't attend, the cost was just too high. On Friday I got an excited email from Glenn, he had found a personal sponsor who wanted someone to be at BloggerCon on their behalf. I don't know who our benefactor is, yet, but thank you! It's a win-win for sure. Having Glenn at our weblog conference is a big deal. I also sent an email to the list to be sure everyone who was interested could benefit from the idea.
We are looking for the usual sponsorships, bronze, silver, gold, platinum, etc (contact John Palfrey) but this raises the issue of micro-sponsorships, where we match a corporation who wants to be in the loop on weblogs with an experienced blogger who can make a real contribution to the first academic conference on weblogs.
Last night I watched Frida, a beautiful movie about art. I am a big fan of the two main characters in the movie, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. I love the style of their art, the Mexican themes and colors, their joy of life, the solitary suffering. The thing that was so cool about the movie is that it came from Hollywood and didn't fit into the usual mindless template that they repeat over and over, inspired by Star Wars. And they exposed the theme that's the secret to bliss between the genders. See the apparent flaws as the source of beauty.
Who pulls the strings in the Atom community?
Yesterday I pointed to Mark Pilgrim's slam of RSD, a format that's been widely adopted on both sides of the blogging APIs. Pilgrim made it personal, by attacking the person who authored the spec, Daniel Berlinger, as if you could reduce a popular format to a person, and then defeat the format by enflaming the author of the spec. It's the usual trick, use the person's name in a flame enough times, and the casual reader thinks it's the person you're writing about who's flaming. Now that they're not coming after me, it's pretty clear what's going on. And I'm reading the archive carefully enough to notice who's saying what, and I'm not falling for the trick.
Then Sam Ruby stepped in, contradicted Pilgrim, and tried to take the attention off the back-channel, the not-visible conversations. It became totally clear, as RSD was thrown out, that decisions were being made in places no one could see except for Sam's friends. Sam explains how that works: "What's important is that no final decisions are made 'offline'." The key word is "final." Later he will be able to claim that he never said it was an open process. The correct statement, if the process were to have some kind of balance, for all kinds of developers, not just ones that can afford full-time developers flying around the world to meetings, would be "No decisions are made offline." Sam must agree to that before anyone should accept that his process is open, fair, or even has a chance of working.
Now, I admit I haven't been following the Wiki, but I have been reading Sam's weblog, and the Formerly Echo weblog run by Danny Ayers, and following the mail list, and I have not seen a single contribution from the Blogger or Movable Type people. Are they not participating? Or is their participation entirely back-channel? Who else is is not visibly participating? I want to know who's pulling the strings. If it's open, I should have all the information that Sam has, or some reasonable portion of it. Sam says you can't have it all, it would be impractial. Of course. But he's not providing any information. There's a big difference.
Extra: Read the first comment in response to this Rich Salz piece about the "grass roots" API. The fascinating angle on all this reinvention is that none of these people create weblog CMSes, aggregators or editors. Where are all the people who do that? Why are none of them participating in the public discussions?
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