The (late) Gnomedex Revue

17 Aug

So Gnomedex was fun.

Interesting truth – I had never met Jacob before. We’ve been doing business for years, we are about a two hour flight away, and yet we had never met up. Something always got in the way – so it was nice to finally meet him.

Coming from an outsider, I felt that Gnomedex was relatively cliquey. This was most evident during the retarded Calacanis / Dave Winer spat (more on that later). Still, most everyone was friendly – more than most other places. So cliquey yet more friendly – wrap that in your head if you can :)

Anyway – the talks were relatively interesting. The keynote ranted and raved – basically the government is messed up, and it needs to be open sourced (there was plenty of fodder in there for later discussion). The husband/wife duo at struggled (I don’t want to be mean – but it didn’t seem like they had practiced at all. Plus finishing each others sentences while on stage is annoying). Guy Kawasaki pulled out a canned speech, but he commanded space and attention that truly was fascinating.

There were other talks too, but the best one was definitely Ignite Seattle. Everyone had only positive things to stay – basically 5 minutes, 15 seconds a slide, and GO! People talked about art, iphones, social networking, and having fun – it was extremely captivating.

The big ‘story’ was the Calacanis / Dave Winer spat. It basically came across like this – Calacanis goes up and says spam is poisoning the internet, including Search. And then he talked about how great Mahalo was. A few people didn’t like it, and yelled at him for spamming the conference. One of them was Dave Winer. Calacanis’ feelings were hurted, and like any real man, he whined about it on his blog. And so forth and so forth.

The reality was that he didn’t offer any real solutions on the spam situation. He didn’t talk about the ‘war of escalation’ the search engines are playing vs the spammers. How linkbait (through the participation of blogs) is being used to stuff in spam content. Nope – just Mahalo this, Mahalo that.

Outside of the place, I hung out with some fellows Jacob had met up from last year. They were all terrific mellow people, with extremely interesting stories on how they ended up where they were today. None of that corporate ladder nonsense – real adventures.

Overall I had a blast. The people were unique (yes, best way to describe them) in a way no other conference I’ve been to can claim.

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