Gnomedex 9 at the Bell Harbor Conference Center was everything it was cracked up to be and well worth the $300 price tag for two days. (Yes, you should register to attend next year.)
Some of the best minds at the intersection of technology and social media were on stage, most of them giving frank, unvarnished presentations. The classroom/style auditorium (free wifi, plenty of outlets, great visibility, not-so-great chairs) was just the right size, and easy to get around in between sessions so you could chat with other participants.
People were friendly; three of the folks I ended up chatting with in the hallways and the dining room turned out to be invited speakers: cyber anthropologist Amber Case, Micah Baldwin (inventor of Twitter’s Follow Friday meme who blogs at learntoduck.com), and Mark Horvath, a former media exec and former homeless person who does guerilla public relations at invisiblepeople.tv for homeless communities (“some content may be offensive. Our hope is you’ll get mad enough to do something.”).
I also had the opportunity to meet Christine Peterson of the Foresight Institute (an expert on open source sensing and nanotechnology who talked about life extension), Phil Plait (who writes the Bad Astronomy column at Discover), and Bre Pettis. Bre’s three-dimentional printer, demo-ed onstage an in the lobby, was unquestionably the hit of the convention.
The “un-convention” session on Saturday was an opportunity for me to give a 1-minute presentation on a type of social media data I’ve been exploring.
I came home with ideas, inspirations, and a stack of business cards from people who said “Let’s talk about this.” One of those cards is from a social media executive I’d love to work with.
But I came home to a sizeable pile of small, low-return projects with firm deadlines that will fill all of my time until I leave town on vacation next week. I’ve made promises to people that those small details will be taken care of. And I keep my promises.
So…which do I do? Pursue the big opportunities, or keep my promises?
The betting is open. I’ll report back at the end of the week.