What Does a Standing Ovation Look Like?


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Gnomedex 9.0 may have officially ended, but I know that the memories will live on. I’m not going to post my thoughts and recollections just yet. I still need a bit of time to unwind, and go through everything in my own mind. I will say that it was an amazing three days, and I’m already hearing from the attendees that it was the same for them, as well.

At the end of the conference when I wrapped things up, everyone in the conference room stood to applaud. I was momentarily overwhelmed. That’s never happened before. To me, that speaks volumes as to how well it went.

I don’t feel that I personally deserved the ovation. Rather, it was for all of the many volunteers who made it happen… Mona and Kat and their legions of helpers. These women (and a few men!) gave up sleep for weeks on end to help bring it all home. They dedicated themselves to giving you the best conference possible – and I feel they did so flawlessly.
The ovation was also for the awesome array of speakers we had on hand. This year we had the best of the best. We brought together experts from many different paths and walks of life. We had inspirational moments. We shared tears and laughter… all thanks to our presenters.

And of course the applause was for the attendees themselves (including the virtual participants!). We wouldn’t even have been here if it weren’t for all of you.

Thank you to everyone who played a part in making Gnomedex happen this year. I couldn’t have done it without all of you.

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How Do You Think Outside the Box?

My friend Greg is a dentist. Yet, he attends Gnomedex every year. You might be wondering why he would do that. After all, it’s a conference about technology, social media, and Human Circuitry. Greg says that the answer is simple: Gnomedex has at provided him the grounds for inspiration to act outside of his profession… and to think outside of the box. He’s always loved technology, and recognizes how it intersects with any type of business – including your local dentist!

How do you think outside of your box? Do you even bother? What helps push you past your own “limits” and expectations of yourself? I’m interested in hearing what it is that helps you push yourself to do more.

Summer is Half Over Already?!

I can’t believe we’re already into July. Where the heck did June go? How did I miss it? I haven’t gone out to tan yet, nor have I played any beach volleyball. Wait a minute… I must have had some odd out-of-body experience for a moment there. Let’s call it a momentary lapse of sanity, ok? I don’t tan. I’m as ghost-white as it gets. The only “sun” I get are the rays that come from my monitors. We all know I’m not one to play sports, either. I’m not sure who took over my keyboard and wrote that garbage!

In any case, summer is half over I suppose. Time flies when you’re too busy to stop to breathe. Gnomedex is only six weeks away, and the team is working hard to get everything ready. I want to thank all of you who have offered your help and services to help make this year rock more than ever before!

Never fear, young grasshoppers. Even though I’m busy, I still make the time to see what you have to say! Your community contributions are the backbone that makes everything I do so much fun.

Gnomedex 2009 for $99?!

As you might know, my conference (Gnomedex) is headed into its 9th year, this August 20th – 22nd, having come a VERY long way since its inception. We just posted a Gnomedex FAQ a few minutes ago, too.

Would you like to register for Gnomedex? Awesome.

For Gnomedex, everybody loves the Bell Harbor Conference Center in Seattle for a lot of reasons: unlimited munchies, unlimited drinks, relatively steady WiFi in recent years, relatively comfortable chairs, ample room to move around, lots of natural light, etc. It’s certainly one of the fancier venues in which to hold a tech conference – definitely NOT cheap.

Today, I’m announcing registration changes that should make Gnomedex more affordable (and accessible) for anybody who has always wanted to go. Ready for this?

  • Full Passes are now being lowered from $500 to $299 – effective immediately. This is a full-access pass, and includes a scrumptious lunch on-site, seating in the Bay Auditorium, and access to a power outlet or two.
  • Hall Passes (aka Half Passes) are being introduced at $179 for two days or $99 for a single day. This is a partial-access pass, and doesn’t include a scrumptious lunch on-site, doesn’t include seating in the Bay Auditorium, and doesn’t include guaranteed access to an electrical outlet.

Of course, if you’d rather have a cash refund for the difference – we can arrange that, too.

Why am I cutting prices? First, I realize the economy is hitting all of us hard – but that doesn’t mean we should be kept from enjoying a world-class venue (with plenty of amenities) together. Second, I want to open up the hallways to more people – the conversations there are always amazing. We’ll have run of the entire top floor at Bell Harbor! It was like that a couple of years ago when the economy was doing better, and it was awesome. It’s still a single-track conference, officially.

Now, if you’ve already registered for Gnomedex, you might care to pay attention:

  • If you purchased a ticket at $500 or $450, you have one of three options: (a) You can invite a guest into the Bay Auditorium with you! That’s insta-savings for them. Spouse? Friend? Family member? Boss? Co-worker? Colleague? It’s up to you. (b) You can receive a $200 credit for the next Gnomedex event; (c) You can have $200 of your ticket cost donated to DonorsChoose.
  • If you purchased a ticket at $350 or $400, you have one of four options: (a) You can spend $100 more to bring a guest into the Bay Auditorium with you; (b) You can receive a “Geek” Care Package TBD (worth ~$100); (c) You can receive a $100 credit for the next Gnomedex event; (d) You can have $100 of your ticket cost donated to DonorsChoose.

We wanna work with everybody this year, and you know that we’re gonna do what we can do to make sure you’re happy (with these changes, or the conference in general).

The hallway should be full of sponsors and participants, and the auxiliary rooms will have the live video feed piped in from the Bay Auditorium. If enough people sign up before too long, we’ll be able to accommodate an “unconference” to run in the same building as the official conference itself. Moreover, a couple of lucky hallway pass holders may be selected to present their ideas on the Bay Auditorium stage!

I’m really hoping to pack the place this year – and hope that the new pricing proves it. We’ll be announcing more sponsors, speakers, and partnerships very soon. Don’t let that stop you from registering, because YOU are 90% of what this conference is about.

Attendees, past or present, are more than welcome to join Gnomedex.com at any time. If you have any questions, please ask through this form.

Gnomedex Questions and Answers

I received an email from Nicole, a lady who is considering attending Gnomedex this year for the first time. She recently started a business based in New York, and had some questions about the conference. The questions are very good ones, and I decided that others may benefit from the answers, as well.

  • What is the overall theme, message or intended take-away of the conference? The theme this year will be the same one I chose last year – Human Circuitry. Interestingly enough, the attendees from last year defined Human Circuitry in many different ways. The common response, though, meshed with what I was trying to accomplish. Human Circuitry, put simply, is the point at which Tech and Humanity combine. We learned how we could raise money quickly for a worthy cause, using nothing more than Twitter. We had a spontaneous – and very moving/powerful – few moments of dancing wildly on stage with Matt, of “Where the Hell is Matt” fame. Another highlight that showed off Human Circuitry at work was hearing Amanda Koster talk about using her camera and the Internet to raise awareness of the plight of people living in Africa.
  • Are the sessions focused on action and strategy – or more theoretical? I’d have to say that they are focused on action and strategy. For instance, one speaker this year will be talking about the top ten ways businesses can and should make use of social media outlets, such as Twitter. We have speakers lined up this year who will talk about everything from social media, business online (and offline!), all the way to using the Internet to raise awareness for a cause.
  • Is there a high focus on innovation, and what’s “new” and “needed”? I’d like to think so, yes. The people who attend this conference are some of the best at what they do. The conversations that take place between and after sessions are usually the highlight of the conference for many people. You will be amazed at the contacts you can make, and the things you can learn from these conversations. A LOT of time is spent talking about what’s on the cutting edge, what we’re hoping to find / create / DO, and what just plain doesn’t work.
  • Is it very jargon-specific with advanced computer terminology and concepts – or understandable to a non-programmer? Gnomedex is not focused on programming. I can promise you that anyone and everyone will be able to understand what is being presented and discussed. Sure, there may be a few people who use big words, but hey! We are a room full of Geeks, after all! We’ve been fortunate in past years (and again this year) to be able to find presenters who are able to talk about their subject in “people terms”, and not “high-tech terms”. We do love developers, though!
  • Since your audience ranges across many field and disciplines, do you have industry-specific break-out sessions or opportunities to learn/discuss/network? Officially, no. Unofficially, yes. Gnomedex is a single-track conference, where everyone attends the same sessions. We work very hard to make sure that our speakers will reach out to every sector of people / business who may attend. Again, I bring up the discussions that take place before / after sessions: this is the time and place where people find others with similar goals and interests. Contact information is exchanged. Ideas are shared. We also have our meet-and-greet party Thursday night, before the conference begins, which is yet another opportunity for you to network.
  • The conference seems clearly beneficial. Due to costs of travel and accommodations, I’m wondering if it’s “nice” to attend… or a “need” to attend. What would you say others have gained in the past from attending? First and foremost, people across the board each and every year have stated that they came away with renewed passion for what they’re doing. They are energized. They look at things from different perspectives than they might have prior to being there. They remember why it is they started on their journey, and have a renewed faith in themselves and their ideas. They come away having made new friends and associates. I’ve been told more times than I can honestly count that Gnomedex is inspiring in many ways. It’s not something that is easy to put into words… but it’s very tangible.
  • Is it very region-specific to the NW/Silicon Valley, or would the networking be on a broad scope, allowing me to benefit easily from my NY base? Ding! Gnomedexers come from literally all over the World! I know for a fact that we have MANY East-coasters joining us this year. Sure, there are several from my local Seattle area. There will also be people coming from Europe, NY, Florida, Chicago, Texas… I think you get the idea. Gnomedex is full of people from all over the World!

For those of you who have attended Gnomedex in the past, I’d love to have your responses to any and all of the above questions. Your insight and experiences are what drives this conference each year, and what convinces others to join you. Help to broaden your own network by taking a few minutes to share with prospective attendees what it is about the conference that keeps you coming back for more!