Building a Better Conference

Winer on Choosing Speakers and Elitism

by Darren Barefoot ()

Dave Winer, BloggerCon paterfamilias writes about what he looks for in a discussion leader:

I look for people who seem to have a sense of blogging, they were born knowing how to do it, they have something to say, it came naturally to them. I don't look for big names, I look for people who will make good discussion leaders. People who have a passion for the subject, and (more important) have a passion for the story. It's the kind of humility that makes a successful moderator. I tell them "you're a reporter" and the sources are in the room. They are not an audience, they are your panel.

That sounds like a very wise approach--I suspect that those are the kind of people we ought to look for for our discussion panels. Winer goes on to criticize other conferences for being elitist and invite-only: "Other conferences charge thousands of dollars for a chance to rub elbows with the rich and super-rich."

I'm not sure which ones he's referring to here, but it's not us. Hey, Dave, we're only CAN $20, which is, what, a buck-seventy-five south of the border. Our whole mantra is to keep things humble. Everyone's welcome--we don't care who you are. In fact, we'll be kind of intimidated if you've got more than 5 or 6 incoming links on Technorati. That's why the description on the front page says "non-profit community blogging conference".

Possible Speaker Topics

by Darren Barefoot ()

At our meeting this week, we brainstormed on some potential topics for speakers. I've posted the list to the speakers page. This list certainly isn't exclusive, but it may provide potential speakers with some inspiration.

LobbyCon and unConference

by Roland Tanglao ()

I like Marc Canter and Sean Bonner's ideas of a LobbyCon. I also like Dave Winer's concept of an unconference. What kind of conference format would you like to see for NorthernVoice?

Yes, Derek, we will have WiFi and thanks for the excellent feedback

by Roland Tanglao ()

Yes, Derek, we will have WiFi. This comes for free from UBC Robson which is our venue.

As for your other suggestions about incorporating the IRC and other feedback by projecting it on stage or having somebody monitor it, we are definitely considering things like this.

Keep the suggestions coming!

A Conversation Amongst all Attendees

by Boris Mann ()

Ted Shelton has some feedback about the BlogOn conference:

I think that there are two challenges to the modern conference. Let me call these problems (1) Revenue Vs. Content and (2) Polyphonic Channels.

Ted goes on to discuss these problems in detail, as well as offer some potential solutions. I especially like his last sentence, and I think this is something we will be aiming for with Northern Voice:

Use technology to make these conferences a conversation amongst all attendees, not just a presentation by a minority.

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