Geography Matters for Conferences

I wish I could make the ESRI DevSummit, but it’s my kids spring break and Palm Springs just isn’t a family destination. So maybe this summer we’ll make it to San Diego – a very family friendly venue. I wonder if this somehow polarizes the demographics of the Dev Summit, resulting in attendees with either no kids or grown kids.

Keeping it Real at GITA
I’m glad to see energy policy being highlighted in the GITA conference keynote. The mayor makes some good points. Transport costs as a determinant for land use is all geography 101 though. With so many geographers around why don’t we hear more about this?

It sometimes seems ironic that thousands of people continue to fly to distant locations to talk about how the internet is going to change everything.

Keeping it Virtual at Life2.0
I wish I had time to attend the Life2.0 summit, being hosted in second life. While virtual conferences sound like the future, I wonder if they can be a forum that overcomes groupthink. On line I can subscribe to ideas that fit all my pre-conceived notions, and filter out people that annoy me. At a keynote, however I’m forced to listen to ideas that I may find disturbing. So maybe meatspace is better.

Mixing it Up at Mix08
Microsoft clearly attempted to overcome groupthink by arranging Guy Kawasaki’s interview of Steve Ballmer at Mix08. Maybe they also realized watching Ballmer’s atavar do a monkey dance in Second Life wouldn’t be so exciting.

Keeping the Faith at SxSWi
By contrast SxSWi made no such attempts. I wasn’t there, but it seems like attendees were too drunk on koolaid to tolerate someone asking Twitter founder some tough questions. Read about the SxSWi stage interview of Twitter founder by BusinessWeek’s Sarah Lacy. Given that Zuckerberg is the youngest person ever named to Forbes billionaire list, I wonder if the young crowd viewed Lacy as a traitor to the movement. Ageism matters – especially with regard to Web2.0 adoption.

In my view this shows Microsoft is more committed to open discussion of differing viewpoints than the Twitter kids at SxSWi.

Now if only James Fee could do an on stage interview with Jack Dangermond …

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