Thoughts from Web Directions 2008

On Thursday and Friday last week I attended Web Directions South 2008, my first web only conference in a while. Overall it was a good event, but like most conferences there were some up & downs. Probably the biggest two downs were the opening Key Note and the lack of coffee on arrival on Friday morning. The biggest ups were Mark Pesce’s closing Key Note and David Peterson’s Semantic web for distributed social networks presentation, followed closely by August de los Reyes from Microsoft.

So did I get an ROI for my $1,500 investment (conference fees, airfare and miscellaneous expenses)?

Yes, in several areas a few of them are:

  • I got to meet a large number of people face to face for the first time after communicating online with them for so long.
  • I meet a large number of new people, I tried to average 5-10 new people per day.
  • Mark Pesce’s talk, as always, was inspiring.
  • David Peterson renewed my hope that FOAF and the Semantic will infact become a reality.
  • Laurel Papworth reinforced that yes social media can make money.
  • Surface computing is cool!
  • Data visualisation done well is also cool!
  • There is lots of cool tech stuff going on in Melbourne, just not sure why I had to go to Sydney to find it.
  • I learnt a fair bit on presentaion style, what works and what really doesn’t.
  • Connections with several people that might turn into paying business, which is great.
  • Finally there are a lot of books I need to read.
The telling fact is will I come back next year. Probably yes.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts from Web Directions 2008

  1. Hi Michael, and thanks for the feedback.

    There was no coffee Friday am! I thought there was supposed to be. Sorry bout that.

    The interesting thing about Lynne is a few folks had your feelings about her, but a lot of people loved her presentation. I don’t think anyone is right or wrong, more that it shows when you have 600 plus people, across the web industry, it gets close to impossible to hit everyone’s sweet spot.

    Thanks so much for coming along, and I hope that we see you next year!

    john

  2. John,

    Thanks for stopping by, you are probably very busy with the wrap up and all of the commentary on WDS08 so I appreciate the time.

    Yeah the coffee was a bit of a fail, but we lived.

    On Lynne’s talk I guess the issue is the whole old vs new media & print is dead/dying/changing has been done to death (pun not intended) even in Australia. Maybe it was pitched for people who had not been in the web world for 15 old years? I guess my expectations of key notes are that they make you think, stretching my mind into places it would never normally go, which as you said can be difficult when you have 600 people to please.

    An idea for next year is to indicate the level of the concurrent session, like they do a MS TechEd sort of 100, 200, 300 level sessions.

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