- There were approximately 250 social media power users
- There were two full-days packed with excellent content and fabulous speakers
- There were 15 sponsorship partners and tasteful sponsorship giveaways and promotion
- Thousands of photos in flickr (and really good ones)
- Two delicious breakfast and lunches, plus 5 different kinds of candy in the afternoon
- Two awesome parties
- Unlimited opportunities to get to know other attendees before, during, and after conference
- $3,700 dollars were raised for Cambodian kids ...
But what's the value of all these love, dancing, and learning? PRICELESS
There are so many social media conferences and expos out there today, that’s it’s very difficult to decide which to attend. I first heard about Gnomedex in 2005 when I read Julie Leung's post about her experience. Later that summer, I had the honor of being interviewed by Ponzi at BlogHer. This year, I finally got an opportunity to attend. The conference as Chris Brogan says over delivered.
How could I have waited so long to go. You really need to go to Gnomedex next year. I learned a lot, I met fabulous people, and it felt great to be part of an awesome community. I even got a chance to dance with Matt!
I can't begin to express my gratitude to Chris and Ponzi and the whole gnomedex family for making this conference experience incredible for me - it ranks on my best ever list of tech conferences. I've spoken at a lot of them, and the care and attention I got was above and beyond. I especially appreciate Maryam's speaker wrangling skills. I also have to say that having Chris's mom do such a fabulous job of time tracking helped me end on time (I wish we could clone her for every conference on the planet.) Also, having super fantastic geek ways of running a conference was inspiring - I especially like the twitter speaker feedback channel. (and woot .. got a 5 point rating)
A couple of personal highlights of the sessions:
- Photography Tips Kris Krug who is an awesome photographer who gave us great tips on improving our photos. At the bar, I got to talk to him about the rule of thirds and practice some shots with his coaching. (See this one of Marshall's feet) He even put up with me doing a public speaking exercise, shaking hands and singing twinkle, twinkle little star.
- Ma.gnolia 2.0 by Tara Hunt and Larry Halff. I always enjoy hearing Tara speak. I also got a chance to talk to social capital shop during the party.
- icanhascheezburger Ben Huh presented a fantastic visual, story-oriented, and funny presentation about his company. I got some great ideas for future presentations.
- Danny Sullivan's "Search Meets Real Life" was absolutely brilliant -- particularly how demonstrated what information is out there and how he called people in the audience on his cell phone while asking them personal questions and displaying some of the information about them freely available on the Internet.
- In Meet Generation Y Francine Hardaway interviewed the great (and young) Mark Bao presented right before me, and I was preoccupied - but Francine's presenting style was so engaging and the conversational approach to this session got me so engaged that I forgot I was speaking next.
- Salaam Garage by Amanda Koster presented her work. They key takeaway for me is that photos without a story in them are less powerful.
I loved, loved, loved hearing the Seattle Ignite and Portland Ignite. It was like an intellectual candy story so many topics of interest such as Beth Kolko - Emerging Markets, Troy Malone - The GTD Timebomb, and Monica Guzman - How to be a Great News Commenter. Can't wait to find those slide decks online. Just want to put in a plug for Sarah Davis's presentation about Geeks Inheriting the Earth and Creative Commons - she will be presenting the case study at sxsw, but only if you vote for her panel!
- What Happens When You Get What You Want: The Growing Blogosphere Angst with Sarah Lacy was the morning keynote. I love conversational keynotes and have ever since I first experienced them during the Global Voices London Summit 2005 and Blogher plenary session in 2005. Sarah walked around the room, Oprah style and had a conversation with the audience. The topics covered: citizen journalist debate (bloggers versus journalist), the echo chamber, ROI of blogging, trolls, a-list, and civility. Geoff Livingston summarizes the debates in the session.
- Vendor relationship management from Eve Maler was in the afternoon - it was a mind blowing presentation. I need to go back to it and really think about those topics in more depth. Here's her reflection and pointer to the talk.
The informal learning that takes place in the hallways and around the lunch table and bar was amazing!
Having the opportunity to chat at the bar with Brian Solis about Conversation Prism, Liz Strauss about e-book publishing, Marshall Kirkpatrick, Betsy Webber, and Lee LeFever about screening casting, Tris Hussey who introduced me to Tanya Davis, getting a demo from Clarence Wooten about CollectiveX, talking to Andrew Hyde about techstars, Jay Cross who gave me additional influence psychological theorists to read, catching up with Gregory Heller, Eric Rice who gave tons of resources for kids and gaming, Kathy Gill who took great photos, Chris Brogan who helped make a diagram of the networked flow of donations and even lent the 7 pennies, Shashi Bellamkona who took this awesome photo of a conversation in the lobby that we were having with Geoff Livingston and Charlene Li about social media metrics, the fun conversation with Robert Scoble about his upcoming trip to China, Micah and Mark sharing their Jewish geography stories, meeting Jeff and Carmen Barr and learning about what she is doing at the orphanage in Peru and so many amazing experiences.
All in all .. gnomedex is a must-attend conference.