I just attended Gnomedex 10, it was my second and quite possibly my last Gnomedex. (more on that later) First I want to thank my generous boss Clay McDaniel, for allowing me to attend the conference and for supporting my own as well as my fellow Spring Creekers’ ability to augment our professional career with our personal passions. Gnomedex is many things to many people and when folks are asked to describe it they have many ways to do so. I think the most common theme that resonates with me is how many people refer to it as the “Poor Man’s TED”, by that they mean that while the TED conference is filled with smart people, with loads of information and ideas, its attendance is limited to those who can afford to attend. Gnomedex on the other hand has tons of smart people and ideas, great content but has removed the barriers to entry with tickets for the 2-3 day conference at $300. The content is no less compelling than the universal, galactic ideas and concepts presented at a TED conference. I feel like the content offered at Gnomedex, is much more local, earthly, and touches people in a personal way. Less about a vast concept, and more about real ideas built on human connectivity.
There was plenty of great presenters and hours of content to absorb. Starting out of the gates, Brian Solis dropped some heavy knowledge about the web and social media role in the way we communicate. Our friend and favorite education advocate Trish Millines Dziko didn’t just talk about ideas of how to improve education she shared what the Technology Access Foundation has been DOING to change the future of education and provide access to young minds who being shaped right now. And when Austin Heap of the CRC took the stage he really opened people’s eyes. Using his technology expertise to help the people of Iran, get around the impossible barriers of government censorship technology to let the peoples voices be heard it helped start a revolution. Todd Welch of TrustTour made us all re-think the word “trust” and what that means in this technological world.
A young lady named Violet Blue took the stage and talked about human sexuality, technology, awareness and censorship, and received a standing ovation. Film maker Larry Wu illustrated the jump from the world of Food invention to Macro Trends. Another set of friends of Spring Creek Group, Shauna Causey and Melody Biringer not only talked about women in technology, they launched their website live on stage. Check techmavens.com. There are so many highlights it’s hard to keep this post short, but will mention that Matt Inman aka The Oatmeal provided us with the comic relief, helping end a great conference on a cheerful note.
The speakers shared their knowledge, wisdom and ideas with the audience. But they are just one side of the coin; they are the light that attracts the moths. The real magic of Gnomedex is the gathering. Everyone got a chance to meet in a friendly social setting, share ideas, chat, and enjoy the positive vibes. Sure there is a lot of the obligatory networking, schmoozing, some people trying to hustle their business or service, some folks looking to maybe find work, but that happens in any sort of social setting. But once the introductions are made and the mingling begins you see folks talking about what they just saw and learning about one another. I know it sounds corny and all but there really is truth to the notion that when you put passionate people together in a room their energies flow, and you feel it, your energy increases, and you feel renewed.
The good energy, the good connections and bonds with others you make, and the great content make/made Gnomedex what it was. Sadly this year Chris Pirillo announced that he is most likely not going to put on another Gnomedex conference in this format or scale. Although we understand we are disappointed. It is not an easy task to organize, manage, fund, and make an event like this happen by yourself. So if there isn’t a Gnomedex11, I feel so blessed that I have attended 9 and 10, and I have met so many very good people in two short days, of these events, and feel so enriched, and I look forward to the next, if not Gnomedex, future of Connected Human Circuitry-based event that will most certainly evolve out of the primordial silicone ooze.
I want to make a very special shout out to the crew of www.omnitechnews.net. These guys are not only the future of web journalism/social media but they are showing the rest of us how to do it now. They came to Gnomedex and live streamed, live tweeted, live blogged; they showed no fear and did all themselves. Truly one of the great inspirations of the conference!