Critique of Gnomedex, day 2
Wednesday, August 22, 2007 by Dave Winer.
I just read the comments on Chris's post, they're pretty interesting. Of course I also ready Chris's post. Not sure what to make of it, and maybe I don't have to draw any conclusions. It's his conference, he gets to decide where it goes, it's an expression of his values, what he thinks is important. I never questioned that. But whether I'm part of that will be a function of where he decides to take it, and that's my choice to make.
I place a very high value on discourse. The idea of sitting in a dark room with 300 other people listening to someone say nothing for 1 hour really bothers me. In my mind I start multiplying, figuring out how much time is being wasted, and how much better it could be used. Think of all the ideas locked up in all those brains. Is this the best we can do?
To me, this year's Gnomedex was the kind of conference I was talking about in my What is an Unconference piece. I know we can do much better, I've seen it done, by the participants in the four BloggerCons. I saw it done at BarCamp last weekend in Palo Alto. I saw it in the hallways at Gnomedex, some of those conversations were so juicy, everyone should have heard them. Many of them were much more interesting than what was being talked about on stage.
BTW, people who weren't there think Calacanis was the star of GD2007, because in the post-show flamage, he hogged the attention. In reality, he gave a lackluster talk, an obvious ad. Most people zoned out after an attempt to discuss it with him. Only now are we able to begin to have a discussion about the conference itself. His MO is obvious, he picks Internet fights to draw attention to himself.
Scott Rosenberg: "Gnomedex is no more exempt from the laws of public speaking than any other conference: If a keynote speaker can't be bothered to prepare a cogent talk, the audience has a right to its disgruntlement."