Or, at least that’s what they say on film sets. Here are some less random thoughts on what I think went right and wrong for our two-day conference.
Though I saw few sessions on either day, it’s my impression that the Moose Camp sessions were decidedly mixed. Some were great, some were lame, some were highly interactive, some were lectures, some were free of ads, some were just thinly-veiled product pitches. That, I suppose, is what we get when offering a self-organizing conference. Next year (if there is one–we haven’t decided yet), we’ll have to discuss whether we can massage Moose Camp and foster a higher level of consistency in quality and format.
Saturday, on the other hand, seemed to be consistently as good or better than
last year. I’ve heard and read very few complaints about the sessions, and everybody
had lots of positive feedback. I had a lot of fun at the panel I sat on (So
They’re Threatening to Sue–Brian, how’d that audio turn out?), as well
as the one I moderated (Blogging,
Passion and Personal Expression). They both had a lot of back-and-forth
with the audience, and, you know, nobody got up and left in disgust. I’ll post
the audio to the first panel if it’s available, for I made an amusing verbal
gaffe that had me turning a little red. [more]
I was once again pleased with the diversity of attendees we had at this year’s conference–men and women, young and old–we get all sorts. We had fewer noobies at this year’s conference. I think this is because:
- We’re a year along the blogging adoption curve.
- More importantly, we did very little mainstream marketing for this conference, because we figured out early on that it was going to sell out.
This raises an important question that we’re going to have to confront if there’s
a Northern Voice 2007. 250 spaces aren’t really enough. From the demand level
at zero marketing, we could easily have a 350 or 400 person conference. I’d
worry, then, that it’d become too big and a bit impersonal. Thoughts?
We try to foster as friendly an atmosphere as possible, but I always think
we could do more to make everyone feel welcome and included. Next year, during
my opening remarks, I might try this thing they do in church. You get everybody
to turn to their right and left (and behind and in front, I suppose) and shake
hands with people you don’t know. Hokey or valuable?
From the planning through execution, this conference went much smoother than the first one. We knew what we were doing and we had a bunch of returning volunteers. Of course, Lauren Wood’s vast experience as the organizer of the XML conference was once again invaluable.
The usual registration madness was ameliorated this year because it was distributed over two days. Also, we used the nifty concierge desk at Robson Square, which made things much more official. Everybody seemed to dig the idea of a badge on which you could tag yourself.
As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the coolest things about our conference. There were at least 8 or ten kids running around. We had an incredibly huge room set aside for the kids to hang out in, but they were welcome and well-behaved in all the sessions I watched.
I had the chance to once again hang out with Julie and Ted Leung’s kids. I
don’t know many kids, but they have the loveliest manner–chatty, open, confident
and apparently undaunted by anything that comes their way. And so well-behaved.
They sat quietly through an hour-long session while Julie and Ted were on-stage
There’s plenty of chatter, commentary and notes from Northern Voice around
the blogosphere and on Flickr. Here are a few comments I encountered while
looking around this morning:
– "Was it as good as last year? Yes but in a different fashion. Blogging
has a bit more age and depth to it now." And he’s right about having
a quick closing session back in the big room.
– "I found Friday’s Moose Camp to be rather all over the place in terms
of content, but I really enjoyed Saturday, partially because I got to hang
out with a bunch of local blogging friends."
- Alan –
"All this talk of the web as an ecosystem, and I thin someone should
tell the big residents that us little insects crawling around on the forest
floor are not doing this for revenue, for fame, etc."
– "I heartily recommend Northern Voice; it probably won’t blow
your mind but it might fill it up a little and it definitely won’t stress
you out." Plus, he wasn’t getting pitched in the hallway.
– "Make sessions longer!" Referring specifically to Moose Camp,
– "What I really get out of them is the trends you can smell in the air."
– "I am not sure what it is – maybe many of us were not popular in high
school – but I felt sensitivity in the rooms today. People liked being part
of the cool crowd, and if some were not part of it, they seemed a little on
- UPDATE: Fellow organizer Briam Lamb posted his own wrap-up this morning.