March 22, 2003

Being for the Benefit of Mr. Tim

Cory goes ga-ga over the O'Reilly Emerging Technologies Conference that's coming up in April in Santa Clara, CA. He mentions that the conference folks have decided to cut the fees. Times are tough all over, I suspect. Reminds me of the please attend, please, we miss you, please oh please attend! beg-emails I've been getting from Esther's organization regarding PC Forum, which a few years ago was sold-out with over 600 attendees and this time they'll be lucky if they exceed 400.

But just look at the boosterism coming from Cory (who is on the conference committee): "Jesus Christ! We've got some amazing speakers coming this year! I mean mind-bogglingly amazing," says Cory. "I speak at a lot of conferences -- two or three a month, sometimes -- and the tech-bubble-collapse has really flensed away the fat from these shows. Gone are the empty suits with empty promises, leaving only really meaty technology, polkicy and business questions that are being addressed by smart, passionate novel thinkers whose accomplishments speak for themselves."

Whew. It goes on. Here's Cory again:

I speak at a lot of conferences -- great conferences -- but the Emerging Tech conference is the nigh-perfect event. The range of subjects and the quality of the speakers (and the attendees) makes this event into the kind of show that is the equivalent of reading a hundred of the best science fiction novels of the past ten years while getting an MBA from a really good, tech-oriented B-school. In four days.

So who's speaking at the conference? The usuals. Rheingold, Kay, Shirky, Bonabeau, Drexler, Brewster Kahle, Weinberger, Meg Hourihan, and on and on. All very nice folks but you know what? The lineup strikes me as your basic Pundit Circus, next stop Santa Clara. How many of these people are really at the forefront of emerging technologies, getting their hands dirty working on real stuff rather than using these deductible junkets to express their unending stream of opinions on the latest techno sizzle? Hey look! A new toy! And it's shiny! Oh boy!

I'm not convinced this is an essential conference to attend. Oh, I'm sure we'll have lots of blog coverage, perhaps webcasting coverage, perhaps even dueling webcams like at Lessig's recent Stanford Law conference. And we'll no doubt have plenty of coverage of the parties, with lots of photos of the partiers partying like it's still 1999.

The whole thing reminds me of Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite off of Sgt. Pepper:

For the benefit of Mr. Tim
Another techfest far from slim! So super-keen!
The Webloggers will all be there
Laptops, Wi-Fi in the air -- what a scene

Internet and nanotech and robots
Open Source and MMORPGs,
Don't forget, the parties go on, all night long!

The celebrated Mr. T.
and all the pundits start their talks at half past eight
The Webloggers will dance and sing
As Shirky goes and does his thing - don't be late

Messrs. T. and D. assure the public
Their production will be second to none
And now look, Brewster's arrived, giving out books!

The blogs will roll at ten to six
Social software's in the mix, with P2P,
And Mr. D. will demonstrate
A wireless multihop router's applicability

Having been some days in preparation
A splendid time is guarateed for all
And tonight Mr. Tim is topping the bill

Have fun, techno-weenies, but I'm gonna skip this one. Posted by brian at March 22, 2003 12:34 PM


As a speaker at this year's ETCon, I have to say ...

The /Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite/ parody was pretty funny :)

Posted by: Stewart at March 22, 2003 09:20 PM

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