It’s a stellar networking event.
The presentations were way too long, and too many of them were packed with empty platitudes about collaboration, change, innovation, “user generated content,” the “long tail,” blah blah blah. I nearly fell asleep several times.
There was a lot of wit and intelligence on the IRC back channel. I wish more of it percolated up into the public discussions.
Being a journalist can still get you into a conference but it no longer commands much respect. Being a podcaster or a blogger with VC funding, however, will make people treat you reverentially.
Being anybody with any kind of funding, actually, will get you taken seriously. People, have we learned nothing from the dot-com debacle? It is possible to have VC funding and still be full of shit.
What was missing: Anybody asking hard questions. Well, with one exception. And her apt questions (why can’t I find a wireless carrier who won’t charge me ridiculous roaming fees? And why don’t you start taking the 4th amendment seriously?) were mostly brushed off. Too bad.
Rapid-post podcasting (and ultimately I think videocasts) have great potential. Next time I go to a conference I am taking a camcorder for on-the-spot videoblog interviews, no question.