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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Emerging Technology Conferences I Want To Attend

Lately I've been feeling more and more like the world I write about is slipping through my fingers. I'm seeing some amazing things unfolding in several areas. Feed marketing [RSS & other formats], blog sponsorship & blog ads, podcasting, the collaboration of bloggers and PR firms, the collaboration of journalists and bloggers, the integration of social networking in 90% of all apps being launched now that will still be around 2 years from now, seamless communications, and the list goes on.

The great thing about all of these is that there are conferences to educate and empower users and would-be users on all of these new and cool areas of web technologies and social advancements. The bad part is that there are so many conferences and more popping up every day that it's hard to decide which ones to go to. So I've compile a list of some of the "best of the best" that I'd like to attend or speak at at some point in the next 6 - 12 months.

TEDTed Conference
A conference for those who think out of the box and mesh design with technology in ways most of us could never have imagined. Honestly, Renee's posting and pics of this year's conference got me hooked on the idea of making it a must attend event but I'm so not worthy. Here's the rundown from the TED site.

TED was born in 1984 out of the observation by Richard Saul Wurman of a powerful convergence between Technology, Entertainment and Design. The first TED included the public unveiling of the Macintosh computer and the Sony compact disc, while mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot demonstrated how to map coastlines with his newly discovered fractals and AI guru Marvin Minsky outlined his powerful new model of the mind. Several influential members of the burgeoning 'digerati' community were also there, including Nicholas Negroponte and Stewart Brand.

But despite the stellar line-up, the event lost money, and it was six years before Wurman and his partner Harry Marks tried again. This time the numbers worked. TED has been held regularly in Monterey, California, ever since, attracting a growing and influential audience from many different disciplines united by their curiosity, open-mindedness, a desire to think outside the box... and by the sense of community arising from their shared discovery of an exciting secret. (TED has never had an advertising budget or a PR campaign.)

Meanwhile the roster of speakers broadened to include scientists, philosophers, musicians, religious leaders, environmentalists and many others. Those who have spoken at TED include Bill Gates, Frank Gehry, Jane Goodall, Billy Graham, Herbie Hancock, Murray Gell-Mann, Larry Ellison. Yet often the real stars have been the unexpected: Li Lu, a key organizer of the Tiananmen Square student protest, Aimee Mullins, a Paralympics competitor who tried out a new pair of artificial legs on-stage, or Nathan Myrrhvold speaking not about Microsoft platforms, but about dinosaur sex.

For many of the audience TED had become one of their intellectual and emotional highlights of the year. That was certainly true for media entrepreneur Chris Anderson who met with Wurman in February 2000 to discuss the conference's future. Wurman, at age 65, was ready to pass on the reins, and agreed to sell. The agreement provided for a transition period during which Wurman would continue to run the conference through TED 12 in February 2002.

TED is therefore now owned by The Sapling Foundation, a private non-profit foundation funded by Anderson in 1996. He will be personally managing the conference, and has pledged to stand by the principles that have made TED great: the same inspired format, the same breadth of content, the same commitment to seek out the most interesting people on earth and let them communicate what they are passionate about, untainted by corporate influence.

Kelsey Group's Drilling Down On LocalThe Kelsey Group's Drilling Down On Local Conference
Actually, this conference has special meaning to me since I'll be speaking at the conference on the Blogs, RSS, Social Networking and Online Word Of Mouth panel with some heavy weights... and I was invited by the conference organizer, Greg Sterling, because of a serendipituous chance meeting on a post here. Greg and I have the "as iron sharpens iron" talks whenever we have the chance to speak. Greg's also an extremely wise entrepreneur and market researcher with a keen ability to cut through the hype and buzz to see the real benefit or lack thereof in new products and business models. So this conference is definnitely one I'm looking forward to speaking at and it's a little over a month away.

SyndicateSyndicate Conference
This conference reads like a who's who of feed marketing and syndication technologies as well as some good 'ol tech patriarchs. Hopefully Shannon will let me go to this one because I'm looking to conduct at least 20 interviews and put up podcasts of the interviews here. The majority of the speakers are folks I've been speaking with for the past 6 months so getting the chance to meet them all face to face is something I'd really enjoy.

Here's what Syndicate's site has to say about the event.
What: As the premier event for content syndication trends, this b-to-b conference provides awareness, clarity, education, deal-making and strategic business opportunities surrounding the emergence of online media syndication.

Who: This executive level conference will bring content owners and producers, new media executives, corporate marketers, advertisers and public relations professionals together with Web services, software and technology companies to embrace this phenomenon and develop business standards.

WHY: Themed RSS: Risk, Reward & Revolution, this program introduces case studies that provide real-world ideas and solutions of how technology tools such as RSS and Atom can be used for future business and revenue models.

Web 2.0Web 2.0 Conference
I'm looking at the homepage for Web 2.0 and realize that 7 of the 16 speakers they've featured are folks I plan on doing podcasts with. And Jeremy Allaire already has a few Q & A's on here. This conference is for the movers and shakers in the online business and technology world. Since I have a passion for business and technology and have focused this entire blog on the explaining how technology and marketing go together with real world examples from someone with real world experience, Web 2.0 has a special place in my geek ideology.

In their own words...
The Web 2.0 Conference explores the ongoing evolution of the Web as a business platform, featuring the leading figures and companies driving innovation in the internet economy. Join us at Web 2.0 and plug into the network of industry luminaries, entrepreneurs, investors, and early adopters creating the enterprise ecosystem for the next generation.

DEMODemo@15 Conference
DEMO is the premier demonstration conference. You get 6 minutes and no more to demo your product to some of the most scrutinizing viewers you could imagine and it's a do-or-die scenario. The song that comes to mind is Cake's with the following line...
"He's going for distance, he's going for speed...running, racing and driving the course... he's going for distance..." Sweaty palms are par for the course and from what I can gather it's the best and worst you can feel in 6 minutes. As David from iUpload expressed to me today, "When the demo was done and the clock showed we had done it in 5:59 we were so relieved, we knew we hit it perfectly". That's what I'm talking about, cool under fire. Oh yeah, Renee's built up the buzz on this one for me pretty good as well and she was tearing up the DEMO stage from what I hear.

Again, in DEMO's words...
DEMO@15! is the event that gives you a wealth of opportunities to reap the rewards of innovation. You'll touch and see 70 of the world's most promising technologies before anyone else. You'll exchange ideas and opportunities with decision-makers and entrepreneurs from established and emerging companies. You'll learn from 15 World-Class Innovators who took to the DEMO stage to transform business and technology.

Profit from the know-how of 15 World-Class Innovators.
On-demand computing, browsers, PDAs, WiFi, blogging - these are some of the key achievements of our innovators. Advances like these, and many others influenced by our 15 World-Class Innovators, remain as relevant and significant today as when they launched at DEMO. During DEMO@15!, we'll feature several of these visionaries in one-on-one interviews. They'll reveal how they took the seed of an idea and grew entirely new markets.

O'Reilly's Emerging Technology Conference
It's another, who's who of business and technology and the amount of aggregte wisdom in each session is more than most of us work with at the office in an entire year. The ability to listen, think, plan and interact with those who've been where I'm headed and know the pitfalls to avoid are all there... although I'm leery of approaching those I don't have a very good reason to talk to, sometimes I don't care. I think this would be one of those times, the euphoria [I'm sure] would just take over and I'd turn into one big doey eyed geek.

Wired's NextFest
Every day the future is born, See it live at NextFest. That's the Wire'd tagline for the conference that shows you the future now. Although it's largely a consumer electronics fair, albeit a geeky one at that, there are always ideas and cool uses of technology exposed that once again blow my mind.

I've heard some recently say Wired Magazine is the People Magazine for geeks, and while that may be partially true, the NextFest conference is what's good about Wired in one place at one time. Yeah, most exhibits are either from major corporations with huge research budgets or technology schools like MIT, it doesn't really matter. The technology and ideas they're presenting are just tools and I don't care who or where they come from as long as they're presented so we know what's out there.

My Conference Roundup
So there you have it, now you know what conferences are at the top of my list. I may not be able to attend all of them but I'll be at a few for sure. I'm sure you've seen a theme among each of them... technology, wisdom, collaboration and business. Those are a few things I'm passionate about and I think each of these conferences focuses on every one of those areas. I'm sure I've missed some but you know, it's late and I'm tired, nuff said.

What's on your conference hit list?

By Jason Dowdell at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

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