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22 July 2008


Sue Thomas

Hi Jim, we talked about this a few weeks ago when you were at our NLab Social Networks Conference in the UK. I agree with your analysis *to a point*. For the last year, our CreativeCoffee Club http://www.creativecoffeeclub.com has proved a very successful informal gathering, but in truth it wouldn't work unless it was underpinned by the hard work of Toby Moores, Shani Lee and others to 'informally' arrange venues, remind people to come, and perform those useful hosting jobs like remembering names and introducing people to each other.

As for big conferences, I've organised quite a few in my time and attended a lot more. There's a great deal of serendipity involved - sometimes I've been utterly depressed and lonely and ended up leaving early [I remember one science fiction convention in Ireland which I hated so much that I considered checking out of the hotel the night before and sitting in the airport all night until my flight, rather than stay there a moment longer!] other times I've been hugely inspired, met people who will be lifelong friends and/or colleagues, and discovered ideas that have radically changed my thinking.

So, I dunno, different things work at different times. There's no one rule.

I'd like to try a slow conference though... that's one thing I haven't done yet. Will there be one any time soon? (Nancy?!)

Nancy White

All I can think of is that is it very risky to say "never." In part of my world - of international development - many people can't get together informally - they are too far removed from some of the people they want to interact with. So the rare F2F is a BFD, regardless if the form is formal or informal. But it is a logistical big deal - cost alone of international travel. Sometimes these informal get togethers are only made possible by piggybacking on the (boring) formal meetings.

As to a slow conference, should we consider the difference between a slow conf, or one that has lots of space (less content) to allow deeper interaction, or a space for free ranging exploration.

Open Space --> gotta love it.

Jim Benson

Okay! Okay!

I give!

I know better that to speak in absolutes.

It is UNLIKELY that I will plan another conference.

And, yes, in the last several years I've shown up at conference sites without attending the actual conference - just for the social benefit. I tend to find a booth buddy and live on the showroom floor.

But as a policy statement - blog post still stands. :-)

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