Gnomedex 9 ended several days ago, but I needed to think about it a bit before writing my overall impressions. Each year (I've been part of five Gnomedexes now) has a different vibe, and this one was a bit hard to pin down.
It was certainly less confrontational. For whatever reason, none of the previous web-heavy-hitter attendees—Dave Winer, Steve Gillmor, Sarah Lacy, Jason Calacanis, Mark Canter, Doug Kaye, Adam Curry, et. al.—was there this time, which made for less high-level arguing (or grandstanding). And while many of the sessions were fascinating, I didn't get my mind blown the way some of last year's talks did to me.
I think, perhaps, it was not quite as inspiring, but more fun. Notes and quotes:
- "Anybody still use Second Life? One person? How's it workin' for you?" - Chris Pirillo (At Gnomedex 6.0 in 2006, Second Life was the Current Big Thing. Not anymore.)
- "Sock Summit is Gnomedex for sock knitters. Thousands of women—and one guy —descended on Portland." - Beth Goza (Something I didn't know about knitters: they go on "yarn diets" to stop spending money on new yarn, i.e. fight the addiction.)
- "If anyone here is a mathematician, I made this up!" - Micah Baldwin
- "We're not geeks, but we're really really trying hard to be." - Leah Nelson
- In a brief appearance onstage, I mentioned a photo of the planet Mercury my dad took in 2006, and an Astronomy Picture of the Day of the International Space Station taken in a similar way.
- Mark Horvath said that, "The average homeless person is America is nine years old." But it didn't take long to find out that's not true. Regardless, the story of James (who isn't nine, and who came onstage too) was compelling, and we raised some money for him.
- The un-seeable space of the Internet makes us all astronaut-style cyborgs in its space, according to Amber Case. And these days, you break your cellphone and you say, "Crap, now I can't hear all the way to Egypt at the touch of a button anymore." Also, "People have enough trouble with driver's ed right now, so, uh, jetpacks?"
I was also glad to have a hug with Drew Olanoff, who was diagnosed with cancer only three months ago and has turned it into a worldwide fundraising effort already. I Blame Drew's Cancer that I didn't manage that when I found out about my cancer in 2007.
On our last night in Seattle, Air and I spent the dinner hour pounding open steamed crab legs with little wooden hammers, then had a drink and watched the Moon set behind a sailboat at our hotel. The next morning as we left the hotel driveway, we saw this:
I'd say it was worth going.
Labels: cancer, conferences, friends, geekery, gnomedex, seattle