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I need a conference home

Sunday, November 16, 2008 by Dave Winer.

Stone, Camahort and Des Jardins have BlogHer. Permalink to this paragraph

Calacanis and Arrington have TechCrunch 50. Permalink to this paragraph

Steve Gillmor has The Gillmor Gang. Permalink to this paragraph

Loic has Le Web. Permalink to this paragraph

Klaus Schwab has Davos. Permalink to this paragraph

Tim O'Reilly has FOO Camp. Permalink to this paragraph

Tom Rielly has TED. Permalink to this paragraph

Etc etc. Permalink to this paragraph

There are a hundred tech, political and entertainment conferences each year, and people who speak every year at one or two of them (or more). It's good because you can hear what's on a person's mind, in their own words, with a chance to interact, once a year, like clockwork. Do that for five or ten years and you get somewhere, you hope. Permalink to this paragraph

These days I don't get many invites to speak. (Actually come to think of it I've never gotten a lot of invites to speak, I usually have to work at it. Basically I stopped working at it.) When I go to conferences I go as press, and I listen. I don't like talking from the audience. It may work for others, but it doesn't work for me. What works even better is watching on video, where the temptation to speak out loud is diminished (and harmless, expressing my opinion at a computer screen is like a tree falling in the woods with no one there). Permalink to this paragraph

I think I could do my part to draw people to a conference. But I wouldn't want to take on the responsibility for the whole show. I know what that entails, I've done it four times. When you take it on, it consumes most of your time for a quarter of a year. I just don't think that's a good use of my time, though it might be for others. Permalink to this paragraph

What I'm looking for is seven or eight people who have a blog or podcast following, who might want to partner on such an event. It would be an annual thing. There would be seven or eight slots, and they would be the same every year. We might recruit journalists or bloggers to lead the discussions, but the topics for each session would be driven by the seven or eight people. You could bring other people on stage with you. Demos. Videos. It's up to each person. The audience would be encouraged to participate, something like a BloggerCon, but not exactly. Each session would very much be driven and designed by the person whose name is on the session. Permalink to this paragraph

Berkman does something like this -- almost every conference has a group of repeat speakers. If you want to get an update on what they're thinking about, sign up for the conference. They're good speakers, intelligent thoughtful people. Teachers mostly, so they're good at presenting their ideas verbally. It works. I'd like to do the same thing, but with people from technology, politics and entertainment. I think there's going to be enough happening at the intersection of those areas over the next decade to make a series of annual events interesting. Of course there would be ample opportunity for schmoozing, which is why people really come to conferences, as we all know. ;-> Permalink to this paragraph

I'm not interested in doing this to make a lot of money, rather as a way to start a thread into the future, and to partner with people whose ideas I find interesting. Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

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