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March 22, 2006

The people

Inspired by Bruce Sterling's reading (it's right at the end) of the powerful Carl Sandberg poem, the people, and no doubt also by the extraordinaey scenes in Koyaanisqatsi the more talented half of westciv, Maxine has posted a series of photos of Las Vegas, captioned with quotations from "the people". Check it out.

And a reminder to listen to Sterling's speech now!

March 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 18, 2006

Just listen to this.

I am under a mountain of email having come back from SxSW yesterday am. While I do keep up with emails on the road, there is no way to keep on top of everything. And with a beta of Style Master 4.5 under way, speaking engangements left and right, a couple of WebApps underway, well, it adds up.

So I was going to blog about one of the more inspiring, wise, funny, moving, engaging, enraging, honest and brave things I have ever had the privilege to see or hear - Legendary SciFi author Bruce Sterling's "state of the disunion" address at SxSW on Tuesday eveing, but have not had time (though I've bored everyone in earshot about it since then in three cities and on two continents.)

But, do yourself a favour - go and listen to it right now.

I'll just add one little personal observation. In it he utters the single wisest sentence I have ever heard - "Make no decision out of fear". If ever there was a Zen Koan for our age.

Thank you Mr Sterling

March 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

In Perth? I'm speaking in April at Port 80

The wonderful folks at Port 80 in Perth have invited me over to speak on all things web standards, along with U.K. super designer Mark Boulton, at Ideas3

It's on April the 11th (a Tuesday) in the Melbourne Hotel, with Mark and me speaking, and drinks and food too. I am sure it will be a load of fun, and will try to maker it as entertaining and worthwhile as possible.

So if you are in Perth, you have no excuse - come along, meet your peers, hear Mark and me say hopefully some useful things, and have a good time.

See you April 11th.

March 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 13, 2006

how (and Why) to Podcast an Event

Your comments and questions on our panel as SxSW. Fire away!

March 13, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack

March 06, 2006

How (and Why) to Podcast an Event

Coming off the back of our experiences with podcasting our web design conference, WE05 last year, Maxine and I from westciv have decided to organize a panel for this year's SXSWi called How (and Why) to Podcast an Event. Eric Meyer, most recently of An Event Apart fame, but who also spoke at WE05 is helping us out with the public speaker and educator's point of view. But we're relatively new (albeit enthusiastic!) hands to podcasting. The panel's also going to feature the experience of Matt May, the creator of the CC music podcast, Staccato, as well as Alex Williams, formerly of Corante Events, now with podcast Hotel who'll be keen to talk about his most recent project Podcast Hotel.

Everyone's heard of podcasting, but many people who organize events are going to have reservations about using it. There are practical/technical concerns, and then we had much deeper, and harder to resolve, business and strategic issues.

While our Sydney based conference last year grew into a reasonably large event, with almost 450 people over three days, we continue to take what we call "the professional grass roots approach". This means we solve problems with inexpensive solutions which are "good enough". Our podcasting program was a great example of this. At the panel we'll explain just how straightforward it is to make good quality content available. Budget constraints are your friend here: they will encourage you to create solutions which are simple and appropriate to the task.

What I really like about podcasting is that it is a fine example of the simplest rule for success of any web enterprise: create benefits for your business by giving away high quality content for free. There's two parts to that sentence. You must give away something of genuine value. It's hard to believe this still has to be said in 2006, but if you try to generate interest by giving away nothing more than thinly disguised advertisements for your event, no matter how slickly produced they are, you will fail. And then you also need to think through what the benefits to your business might be. Traffic is great, we all love traffic, but turning traffic which is listening to audio content into direct, accountable financial return is a real challenge.

To be honest though that isn't really what we focussed on with the WE05 podcasts: we just saw them as a simple and inexpensive means of "giving back", and we were so delighted that all of our speakers agreed to this in a heartbeat. Our conference is all about overcoming the tyranny of distance and bringing geographically dispersed Aussie developers together. Receiving notes of thank you from developers all over the world, many of whom could never hope to travel to Australia, but who were able to get a taste of our event via the podcasts, really was extremely important to us.

No matter what size event you're thinking about podcasting, we'd love to see you on Sunday morning at 10am for How (and Why) to Podcast an Event.

March 6, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack