Posts Tagged ‘conference’

SXSW Breakfast, Anyone?

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

I’ve been a regular at Austin’s SXSW for far longer than I care to remember. It’s a heady mix of music, film, and ‘interactive’ stuff and I’ve always met many old friends, made new ones, and had my creative batteries refilled from spending a week or two in Texas.

This year is no different, and I’m flying out today.

The other thing that happens every year at SXSW is Saturday morning breakfast at Magnolia Cafe on South Congress. As usual I’ll be there a little bit ahead of 8am to grab a table and see who else turns up. A few of you have already asked and got the date in your diary, for everyone else reading let me know if you plan on turning up.

And if you want to meet at SXSW for any reason, I’m there for the full duration through to Sunday 19th March.

Celebrate forty years of thrill power

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

2000 A.D. celebrates forty years of publication next year (along with the release of issue prog 2000 next week, both notable milestones in the comic industry. For the latter, head to your nearest comic book supplier, for the latter the team is putting together a conference that Tharg would be proud of:

Next February, Rebellion toasts 40 years of the publication of legendary British weekly comic 2000 AD by presenting a huge celebration in the UK capital. The main event, a one-day ‘immersive live extravaganza‘, will take place at Hammersmith’s Novotel and includes a jam-packed schedule of prestige events, original programming, world exclusive merchandise and one-of-a-kind spectacles befitting the legacy of the finest comic book export the UK has ever produced.

The most ambitious single occasion in the history of 2000 AD publishing, the festival will be the culmination of a whole slate of nationwide signings and events, and features an unprecedented number of writers, artists and editors to have graced its pages including: John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra, Alan Grant, Dave Gibbons, Mike McMahon, Steve Yeowell, Rob Williams, Si Spurrier, Al Ewing, Sean Phillips, Duncan Fregredo, Simon Bisley and many, many more!

Tickets go on sale October 12th for the Feb 11th conference.

How to talk to the press at your next conference

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Peter Willington on PocketGamer echoing some fabulous advice to companies and employees looking to promote their company to the members of the press attending a conference:

A sales pitch is fine when I ask a question such as “what’s your game all about”, but when I’m digging for more information on inspirations, goals, process, or even how you plan on monetising it, speak to me like a normal person.

You aren’t Activision, so “we’re not talking about that right now” doesn’t make you sound like a professional, but it absolutely will colour my perception of you.

Vancouver for 66 hours

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

I’m off to Vancouver today to attend Unity3D’s ‘Unite 2013′ conference. Let’s see what the cross-platform game engine behind Temple Run, Bad Piggies, Triple Town, and more, has to offer. And I’l’ be back in Scotland by Saturday morning, hopefully outrunning any jet-lag in the process.

Blog World LA Registration is open

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Heads up on the lower pricing for Blogworld LA, happening in LA on Nov 3-5 this year. And while I do write for Rick and the team now, Blogworld has been a fixture in the diary for many years before that.

Questions that every conference organiser needs to answer

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Sadly, it’s notable how bad most conferences are in this regard when you know the most common phrases you hear are “Is there a network connection?” and “What’s the password?” Such questions are joined nowadays by either “Is there a hashtag for this event?” or “What’s the hashtag?”

Neville Hobson sets out the benefits and examples perfectly.

The TED Conference, Elitism and South by Southwest

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

Sara Lacy laid into the rise of even more elitism on display at the TED conference last week, but this quote, from her rant about the TED conference caught my eye:

Now when the day’s sessions are done there’s a hierarchy of parties throughout the LA-area with strict lists and security. Cliques within cliques, if you will. One friend I spoke with yesterday told me it was so bad last year he couldn’t even hang out with his friends much of the time. Because that’s what you want when you’ve paid $6,000 to attend an event—to be told your friends are still better than you.

And it caught my eye because SXSW Interactive is coming up. While it’s not a $6000 a head event (although once you add on hotel costs it can be close if you’re not careful), the interactive portion of SXSW has a problem. And it’s Austin.

Austin is a great city for the music part of SXSW (which, if you talk to Austinites, is actually SXSW – mention the interactive bit and you get a bit of a blank look). Lots of small venues that can hold 50-200 people with a band and you get a great vibe; bar hopping to hear a new different band is a great experience.

But Interactive, and specifically the parties in the evening, is a killer. because people are looking to single venues and one company name – the Mashable party, the Digg party, the Opening Mixer at Six, all nicely scheduled to not clash… and there’s no venue in Austin that can cope with over ten thousand people looking to get into one party.

Sara Lacy and mark Zuckerberg

So you will get haemorrhaging in Austin, you will get people wondering just what to do in the evening because Party X has a 90 minute queue to get in… you will get people new to SXSW Interactive feeling completely lost and out of place… and you will get the A-Listers all on the guest lists, all waved through on a nod and a wink, and one of the key benefits of SXSW – the mix of people – appears lost.

If you’re heading to interactive, please don’t loose heart. By all means sort out a ticket on Eventbrite for your favourite event, but be aware that doesn’t mean you won’t queue, or that the event  won’t be overbooked. Because they will be. Here’s my advice. Just find a group of people, doesn’t matter who they are, tell them “we’re going to have a good night” and go find a bar, a diner, a restaurant and talk to these brand new people. Make a point, right now, to have at least one meal where you know nobody you sit down with – and I’ll bet you that night will be one of the most memorable nights of the conference.

Parties don’t make conferences… people make conferences. Connections make conferences. Work on some new ones no matter which conference you go to.

But I Came Here For An Argument! Le Web’s Greatest Success

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

If Christmas is coming up, that can mean a few things, but one of them is that Geraldine Le Meur’s conference, Le Web, is just round the corner. It’s managed to make itself one of the tent-pole conferences in the Web 2.0 year which is not bad going seeing as it is as far away from Silicon Valley as is possible.

Why has it got that position? Because unlike other conferences it has built up a mystique around it that makes it attractive. Not just because of the speakers, or the company news that comes out of the conference. Not jut because of the location or the time of year. And not just because, at its heart, it’s a conference organised by the female of the species that know the sensible thing is to let the men think they’re running it.

All of the above is true, but I think Le Web is a success because everybody knows that something controversial will happen and human nature means we want to be there when it happens.

Throw that on top of the a conference that pulls in some big international names, mixes them up with the best commentators and companies in Europe, and let them talk about the latest trends on the internet, and you have the ingredients for a conference. The controversy is the spice on the top.

And we all know how good the French are at cooking.

Le Web Last years chill out room at Le Web

FTC disclosure: I will be attending Le Web as an ‘official blogger’; being Scottish I didn’t complain about the heating last year although a nice hot cup of Le Web supplied tea helped; Loic once bought me a coffee in San Francisco; and I probably have a French Secret Service file somewhere after Nicolas Sarkozy bumped my session in 2007.

Beware the Mad Scotsman Attending Your Conference

Friday, July 17th, 2009

The combined forces of Betavine, Lonely Planet and OMTP have come together for another Over the Air event, a very traditional sounding 24 hour hack-a-thon in London with a focus on mobile development.

@torgo popped over a Twitter DM to me today and asked if I could make it (it’s on the 25th and 26th of September this year), and naturally I agreed. And have immediately started to plan… something spectacular.

Just for reference, in previous events like this I’ve been involved in:

  • Filming a fan version of the season closer to Torchwood (before it aired)…
  • A Diet Coke and Mentos powered rocket to take spy-cam pictures of Alexandra Palace…
  • Building a full sized flight simulator and then flying it around the world Le Mans style with a number of crews.

So what about Over The Air? Well that would be telling, it’s just a little bit too soon to say what I have in mind. Besides, I need to put the team together to make it possible.

Media140, The Real-time News Conference

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

I’m going to take a little bit more than 140 characters to let you all know about the upcoming Media140 conference in London, one of a handful of Twitter based conferences coming online in 2009.

Media140 is a short half-day conference on London’s South Bank, and will be focussing on the use of Twitter for news and reporting through a mix of case study examples and panel discussions.

Some of the topics for the event will include:

  • Is microblogging and twitter really a news ‘game changer’?
  • How will microblogging change traditional local news sourcing and distribution?
  • Tools of the trade, what works and what doesn’t?
  • Case studies on microblogging: Afghanistan, US Elections, Olympics and Iraq

More info and registration at

Dear America, I’ll Be With You In March, Ewan

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

As well as the South by Southwest festival in Austin – where I’ll be attending the whole smash of Film, Interactive and Music – March will see me take in some time around the USA attending two other events.

The first is the Getting Things Done Summit in San Francisco. While I can only make the first day of this conference (I do need to get to Austin) it’s going to be a great opportunity to learn more about the time/life management system perfected by David Allen. I use some of the principles in GTD, but not all of them – I’m kind of comfortable where I am.

The second appearance will be at the first Lonely Planet Travel Blogger awards happening after SXSW, which I’ve been invited to attend. It’s a nice nightcap to the whole USA trip, which has been a pretty much regular occurrence for the last few years.

The whole thing has a certain symmetry to it… Edinburgh, San Francisco, Austin, San Francisco, Edinburgh. I’ve added the relevant diary pages into my Filofax; for trips like this I switch from ‘week over two pages’ to ‘one day spread over two days’ because I tend to organise a lot of meetings.

The pages are almost blank at the moment so if you want to meet up, demo me anything, or just have a beer, then do email me (the usual place) and let’s sort it out. If I need to fly to see something, then convince me, but I do have space to put in a little road trip as required!

The New Media Expo vs The Edinburgh Fringe (No Contest Really)

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

Rather graciously, David Peck wonders where all the cool kids were at last month’s New Media Expo in Las Vegas – for some strange reason he includes me in that list.

The simple answer, as anyone here should realise, is that the Edinburgh Fringe took priority (more on the Fringe shortly). It’s one of the major events that I cover each year and allows me to reach out to a huge range of people, many of whom aren’t in our little bubble. The second that I saw the dates last year, I knew that I wasn’t going to be at Vegas. And to be honest, my thoughts at the time were mixed. I knew I would miss a lot of friends, but I was worried the community spirit at Ontario that was fostered by being in the middle of nowhere could well be diluted by Las Vegas. And the value I was getting from the New Media Expo was starting to be lower than the cost of the trip… even without the date change I would have been thinking if the gains would outweigh the cost.

On balance I think that even without the Fringe, I would have skipped the New Media Expo this year, to watch what would come out of Las Vegas. For me, I didn’t see a lot of enthusiasm on Twitter or the blogs, and I’m not sure why. I’ll be following Tim Bourquin’s decision on what to do in 2009 with interest, but as with everything, there comes a time to shut down and move on. Personally for me that’s happened with the New Media Expo in it’s current form – perhaps the same is true for Tim?

Good News! PodCamp Boston Charging $50 A Head

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

News from Penn and Brogan that the upcoming Podcamp Boston (July 19-20) will be charging attendees $50 per head.

Do I agree with the decision? As someone who has organised big events, rationally I do. Attendance at any conference should be worth something, and $50 seems about right as a ‘token’ payment given that a good Hotel room is going to be $100 a night for potentially three nights, alongside some drink and food budget. Getting over the no-show problem, especially when a lot of sponsorship will be predicated on having a certain number of people attending. The last Boston Podcamp had 1500 sign ups, the staff budgeted on 1000 turning up, in the end just over 750 made it. 50% no shows. Ouch.

So the application of an “I’m really coming” charge makes a lot of sense…

Yet the second you pay for something, perceptions change. You are expecting to receive a certain level of service, a certain expectation of content and how it is delivered. The nature of the game changes ever so subtly. And that’s before considering the response of some, which will be ‘well, in my day, Podcamps were as free as the sun shines down.’ The team is hoping that as well as having a solid base of numbers and attendees, the numbers will be slightly down to give it a more homely feel. All the time with a raised expectation now money has changed hands. That’s the big challenge I think the Podcamp Boston team are going to have.

I await the results with keen interest.

PS: Although I don’t see myself as a Grandpa Simpson here, a $35,000 budget event with a target of around 300 attendees does seem to be at odds with the spirit of the Bar/Pod/Gnu|Camp movement around the world.