Just when you thought Gnomedex couldn’t get any better, Senator John Edwards signs on as our Keynote. The senator is a long-standing supporter of technology – including podcasting and blogging. Every year, we wonder how we’re going to top ourselves. When conversations started with Senator John Edwards’ office, they were intrigued and enthralled with our approach to content! Sentator Edwards will quickly turn his time over to the Gnomedex audience, fielding questions and fostering discussion over how technology could and should play a role in our world. This is fantastic! I’m sure you’ll agree, no matter your political persuasion. This is a tremendous opportunity to have your voice heard. Does anybody know any political bloggers out there? I don’t know any…
I’m so incredibly honored to have Steve joining us on the stage at Gnomedex this year. For a while there, it was looking as though he’d never leave his house again. Seriously, I started to get worried when he’d call and leave voicemails at three in the morning after mixing NoDoz with Attention.XML. I’m happy to report that he’s put down his NoDoz bottle and has seen the Gnomedex light once again – it’s that bright flashy thing that’s been drawing his “attention” for the past couple of years. Many of you might not remember me saying this, but Steve truly helped catalyze last year’s Gnomedex conference. Rumor has it that Dave and Steve will be having a contest over who has the fuzzier face. Ponzi is still recovering from last year’s rugburn. In all honesty, it’s great to have Steve on the dais. “On the dais, on the dais – oh oh oh, on the dais. C’mon and rock me on the dais!”
Okay, it’s not enough that we’re giving you breakfast and lunch at Gnomedex, but Ponzi just told me that we’re also giving you dinner on Friday and Saturday night!!! It’s not going to be a three-course layout either night, but should prove to be something substantial (far beyond carrot sticks and dip). She says: “it probably won’t look like dinner, but it’ll be filling.” I’ll have the menus posted soon enough so you can decide for yourself, but we’re basically telling everybody that we treat all Gnomedex attendees like VIPs. This includes all Cove Gnomedexers, too. Now you wonder why we’re still looking for sponsors – this food extravaganza is killing our budget!
Yes, the main room (Bay Auditorium) for Gnomedex is SOLD OUT – but the Cove, much like last year, is still available. We can still get you access to everything else! We’ve arranged to have a unidirectional audio/video feed sent to an adjacent room throughout the conference’s duration – so you can enjoy Gnomedex in person, too! This is exactly what we did last year, and everybody had a great time (in fact, Cove Gnomedexers returned this year as early registrants).
These new “Cove” passes are still $499 apiece, as we’re charged the same amount per attendee (and we have to pay more for the extra resources used). Most conferences charge attendees a higher amount for their last-minute registrations, but we value your presence more than anything – opting to keep the price the same as it has been from the time we announced Gnomedex 6.0.
Even with fantastic speakers, sponsors, and attendees lining up around the corner, Ponzi and I still face the challenges of conference production and direction head-on. Here’s the thing: the two of us are doing the work of ten people, on top of our other responsibilities for Lockergnome, The Chris Pirillo Show, etc. We both have to handle and/or manage Event Planning, Conference Coordinating, Press Queries, Registration Services, Attendee Administration, Speaker Selection, General Hosting, Web Site Updates, Risk Assessment, Special Equipment Needs, Facility Research, Program Management, Project Management, Print Materials and Quality Assurance, Schedule Arrangements, Budget Calibration and Financial Responsibilities, On-site Services, Food and Beverage Selection, Party Locations and Requirements, Online and Offline PR, Ticket Discrepancies, etc. – between two of us!
We’re not a conference coordination company – we’re just two people who love the tech world. So, why not offload a good chunk of these tasks to another organization (or others)? Because we don’t want to risk damaging the success of Gnomedex – that, and “everybody” in the conference industry is out to screw you. If we seem to be a little punchy in the weeks leading up to the conference, it’s only because we’re striving to make it an awesome event for every single Gnomedexer. We appreciate your ongoing support and faith, as always. Our sixth year is shaping up to be the best one yet! Barring any unscheduled fire alarms… 🙂
If you wanted to “do” Gnomedex this year, I’d recommend getting your ticket now (as in today, immediately). I’ve been crunching the numbers, and it seems we have around 25 more seats available in the main hall. Once we pass this number, we’re officially SOLD OUT. We will once again open up the Cove rooms for participants at the same price, but if you wanted to be in the thick of things – you’ll want to be the main room. FWIW, last year’s Cove Gnomedexers had a great time and many of them have already signed up for Gnomedex 6.0.
We’ve posted details on the Gnomedex parties today – although nobody has yet stepped up to the plate to sponsor Friday night’s event.
Thursday night, like last year, we are having early registration and a mixer at the Odyssey Maritime museum. There will be cocktails and food. It’s a chance to see where the conference center is and get to know the other attendees before Gnomedex gets into full swing.
Friday, we are having a party at The Museum of Flight – in The personal Courage Wing. Could there be a better spot to have conversations about technology, innovation, and talk of what is to come on Saturday’s event? The Personal Courage Wing will put us in the midst of personal stories of the innovative thinkers from the past. Poetically, this is perfect because that’s who the Gnomedex attendee is – an innovative thinker for tomorrow (living today). We are still in need of sponsorship for this party – as no company has yet stepped up to the plate to help make this happen (so we’re having to fund this night out of our own pocket).
Saturday, thanks in large part to Microsoft, the party is at The Experience Music Project and The Science Fiction Museum. And my personal favorite treat – Doubletake – an art exhibit, on display at EMP. Here’s an excerpt of their discription. “These pairings include Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works from masters such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar DÃ©gas and Vincent van Gogh with modern and contemporary works from such artists as Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein. We believe that these comparisons will give Impressionism a new context for modern audiences, resurrecting the power of the artistsâ€™ rebellious intent.” In case you didn’t know, Gnomedexers are the avant-garde.
Again, if your company is interested in sponsoring Friday’s party at the Museum of Flight, let us know ASAP. We still have a few other major sponsors to announce (to list alongside Microsoft, Yahoo!, Ask, GoDaddy, PRWeb, WeatherBug, and Waggener Edstrom). Each one of our parties is designed to facilitate and support conversation and interpersonal networking, FWIW.
So, why is it called Gnomedex, anyway? As “pointed” out by the recent entry in the YPN blog, And DonÃ¢â¬â¢t Forget Your Pointy Hat, we have our reasons:
Ã¢â¬ÅWhatÃ¢â¬â¢s the opposite of COMDEX?Ã¢â¬Â? asks Web entrepreneur and Lockergnome.com founder, Chris Pirillo (see Polls, at right). Ã¢â¬ÅGnomedexÃ¢â¬â?something small thatÃ¢â¬â¢s really big, something people want to attend instead of being mandated to attend, something where everybody gets treated like a VIP.Ã¢â¬Â?
Before the question changes to another, you might try your hand at YPN’s current poll (found in the sidebar on their main page). Why is Chris PirilloÃ¢â¬â¢s website called Ã¢â¬ÅLockerGnomeÃ¢â¬Â? and his conference, Ã¢â¬ÅGnomedex?Ã¢â¬Â? The real answer will surprise you:
ÃÂ· ChrisÃ¢â¬â¢s favorite book is Ã¢â¬ÅGnomesÃ¢â¬Â? by Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet.
ÃÂ· ChrisÃ¢â¬â¢s favorite Disney movie is Ã¢â¬ÅThe Gnome Mobile.Ã¢â¬Â?
ÃÂ· Chris’s high school senior nickname was “Gnome.”
ÃÂ· Chris is originally from Nome, Alaska.
ÃÂ· Chris prefers GNOME to KDE in Linux.
ÃÂ· Chris wears tall, pointy hats when he’s in Internet chat rooms.
ÃÂ· Chris was arrested for stalking Noam Chomsky in 2001.
ÃÂ· Chris wants to go where “Gnome man has gone before.”
ÃÂ· Chris was a German Folklore major in college.
ÃÂ· Chris won the Midwestern Gardening Open Championship in 1998.
What’s your guess?
I love to say it: I told you so. Many moons ago, I exclaimed that “Web 2.0” was nothing more than a conference. Today, I’ve been proven right to a fault. It was just a matter of time before this came and bit all the “Web 2.0” evangelists in the ass. Not Web 2.0 evangelists for O’Reilly’s conference, but “Web 2.0” evangelists for the ethereal movement (which I have oft referred to as a renaissance).
As has been stated by both Dave Winer and Jason Calacanis, Tim and his partners were 110% justified in protecting their conference brand. Anybody and everybody who holds a trademark on something profitiable (or, as is the case for O’Reilly, ungodly profitable) understands and supports the decision that was made – not necessarily in how it was handled, but certainly the reasoning behind it. I respect Tim’s personal and professional position in the matter, having a few not-quite-as-profitable brands of my own to protect. Anybody who’s ever owned a trademark [read: profitable brand] should wholly understand. That’s the kicker, underscored by Dave’s editorial: O’Reilly is NOT a non-profit organization.
I highly doubt that anybody’s ever going to take the word “Gnomedex” and use it for their own conference (it’s just not generic enough a term). However, if someone came along and used that title for their own conference, for-profit or non-profit, I would likely want to be involved at some level – because that’s a brand that Lockergnome has fostered for six years running. We don’t have a team of lawyers, and we’ve yet to strike a deal with any major conference organizers, but the onus is on us to protect that which is so closely associated to our revenue model(s).
If you read your history books, you’ll see that Tim O’Reilly spoke at Gnomedex III (the terms “blog” and “RSS” were just starting to creep into popular conscousness). We’ve exchanged a few emails since then, including around a false rumor I propogated and subsquently (publicly and privately) apologized for. I don’t think I would have handled this situation any differently than he did.
And if you still believe that “Web 2.0” (the ethereal movement) is all about openness and interconnectivity, you’ve got yet another thing coming. Your favorite “Web 2.0” (the ethereal movement) applications are still walled gardens – to the nth degree. Web 2.0, the conference, belongs to O’Reilly and CMP. Web 2.0, the ethereal movement, doesn’t exist. How O’Reilly / CMP chooses to define and protect their conference is completely up to them – and the blogosphere’s interpretation of what’s happening inside this ethereal movement should not be confused with the conference which O’Reilly is producing.
Some people will do anything to get into Gnomedex – anything. At least he didn’t claim to be from the English department… ’cause that would’ve been a dead giveaway. This even tripped Ponzi’s red flag:
MY NAME IS PROFESSOR JAMES PARK FROM CONVENTRY COLLEGE IN UK FROM COMPUTER DEPARTMENT.
MY COLLEGE WILL BE SENDING US TO ATTEND YOUR CONFERENCE.
WE ARE 5 IN NUMBERS THAT WILL BE COMING FOR THE CONFERENCES.
KINDLY SEND US THE TOTAL COST THAT WILL COST THE 5 OF US.
I WILL ALSO LIKE TO INFORM YOU THAT WE ARE WILLING TO PAY YOU AS SOON AS YOU CONFIRM THE PRICE FOR US SO THAT YOU CAN QUICKLY RESERVE SEATS FOR US.
WE WILL LIKE TO INFORM YOU THAT MY SCHOOL IS WILLING TO PAY THROUGH MONEY WIRE.
WE KINDLY URGE YOU TO SEND US THE BANK INFORMATION WE WILL USE IN MAKING THE PAYMENT THROUGH MONEY WIRE.
WE WILL BE EXPECTING YOUR URGENT REPLY
THANKS FOR YOUR COPERATION