Sorry about the failure to do postings updating the Internet Identity Workshop 2006. Last heard from, I had finished eating my spinach on day one–listening through presentations on technical topics.
Days two and three were very different, as advertised. “Open space,” “unconference”–what have you. There was a large open space, where at one end larger presentations could take place; otherwise tables were spread out across the space, and there were meeting rooms on both sides of it. What this means, practically speaking, is that the rooms and tables could be used for smaller sessions, and that the remaining tables could be used for ongoing conversations.
The sessions were actually seminars: topic-centered, with a more or less formal leader, a whiteboard, and a group of engaged participants.
In short, as Dave Winer has advocated often and well, the conference was able to engage the intelligence and kills of the participants. Insofar as I could tell, the results were excellent. That is, people knew they would have a chance to voice their concerns and to respond to whatever others said–whoever the others were, including technical or corporate bigshots.
Now, before someone reprimands me for implying that there were corporate or technical bigshots in attendance, let me clarify that one. There were, in fact, luminaries of various sorts participating: A-list bloggers, well-known corporate folks, technical experts working at the forefront of innovation in the field of identity mangement … people like that. However, and this is the point: they were not on stage, performing. They were at the tables and in the rooms, talking, listening, asking and answering questions. In terms of social interaction, the conference hierarchy was flat.
However, de gustibus non est disputandum, as the man said—which is to say, there's no accounting for taste. So some folks undoubtedly prefer the bright lights, big city ambience of big conferences. I prefer things this way.
But, you may ask, what were these people talking about? Well, I'll cue up the MP3s and show you as I get them edited. I did podcast interviews of varying lengths with several people:
- Doc Searls, one of the workshop organizers–though, he says in the interview he's more of a liability than an asset as organizer
- Dick Hardt, CEO of SXIP Identity
- Phil Windley, another of the workshop organizers
- Christine Herron, who blogged the hell out of the first two days of the workshop
- Daniel Perry, a lawyer from Florida working on Internet issues, in conversation with Bill Washburn, from Opinity
- “JB,” who'd ridden the train from Tennessee, where he is, among other things, a Christian radio broadcaster
So, here's the thing: I'm working on the audio from all of these and will get them all online as quickly and well as I can–emphasis on quickly because this stuff is timely and requires speed more than formal excellence, or so it seems to me.
Oh yes, I wanted to say that Eugene Kim owes me an interview. He periodically came up to the table where I and my fancy microphones –great stage props for signifying “I'm really serious about this podcasting stuff”–were ensconced and said, in effect, I'll be right there, hold on, but apparently he then put a series of Sportsracer power moves on me so awesome they fogged my memory, because somehow, well, I'm not sure how it happened, but I don't have a KimCast. Hmph.
Tom's “Eating Spinach at the Internet Identity Workshop 2006” gives you a good feeling for what went on during the first day's level-set meeting.