Do-it-yourself conference

Marc Canter is fed up with the speaker list at the Supernova conference this summer and is planning an alternative:

So I say lets just do our own conference, charge a total of zero dollars and zero cents and have it at the bar across the street from the Palace hotel – at the same time as Supernova.

Being a bar – we wont start til noon but our evening events will be a lot more fun.

Most importantly – we’ll assemable a critical mass of young, compelling people who never get asked onto panels, who don’t work for large companies and who HAVEN’T been heard from – before.

Sounds like a fun gig to me and he draws some interesting comments. I agree with Alexa, who comments:

I like to go to conferences to learn new things, meet NEW people, percolate new ideas. Plus, conferences which charge a high toll tend to miss new trends as the people most likely to be creative could never afford to go.

For me, the most satisfying conferences are nearly always the cheapest. For instance, Reboot costs about 1/7 of Supernova and I thought is was superb last year.

Dave Winer, who fired some of us up about unconferencing, chips in too:

A common misperception is that unconferences are unstructured. Nothing could be further from the truth. Please read the FAQ, it takes all of ten minutes, and you’ll find out how different an experience it is.

I like what DW says about unconferences and his proposed format is interesting. He does sound rather proprietorial (I hear he can be like that sometimes) about the term unconference. I say if Marc wants to run something with less overt structure, and call it an unconference, that’s just great.

I say overt structure because there will always be an emergent structure, often much more interesting to watch. Marc’s event emerges from the structure of Supernova. It will be influenced in some way by the shape of the room it’s in and the easy availability of alcohol. It’s just that Marc seems very keen not to take control of it all. Very cool.

This sort of viewpoint sometimes gets people saying “but if you don’t have a tight structure, you might cause chaos”. I don’t know what they mean by chaos… perhaps a potentially raucous gathering in a bar?.. which seems to be exactly what the tight structure of Supernova appears to be spawning…

Hat tip: Hugh

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.