Podcamp Perth 07

October 28, 2007

Just back from Podcamp Perth 07. My thoughts

1. Good turnout, as always for anything held in Perth.

2. Crowd was a different mix to perhaps what I expected, a lot of people in education, teachers, uni folk etc. Always interesting to get different view points.

3. If Podcamp was suppose to be an unconference (which is what I was told) then it proves that Australian’s don’t understand unconferences. I purposely didn’t do a set speech, spoke for 5 minutes then tried to encourage audience discussion. Towards the end it started to work, with discussion amongst the audience with me just watching on. This was cool, but it was the only session I saw during the day that got close to this. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just my expectations were different

4. The guy from Apple didn’t have Leopard yet, or an iPhone.  

5. Multi streams suck, particularly when there are 4 concurrent streams. I didn’t get to go to everything I would have wanted to.

6. People presenting SL shouldn’t show virtual hardcore porn, even if the Machina is cool. Looking up skirts is not a good image to give to prospective SL members. Sorry Brett.

7. Perth hotels are insanely expensive now, dearer than Melbourne and probably at Sydney levels. It’s cheaper to get a hotel room in Silicon Valley than Perth.

8. Perth’s taxi system is the worst in the world. I had to walk from East Perth to nearly West Perth because I couldn’t get a cab, and neither could anyone else in the city. Fucking ridiculous, and it’s a disgrace. WTF will visitors to WA think?

9. Congrats to the organizing committee on a job well done.

10. Seeing Richard Giles’ daughter made me want more kids. Soooooooo cute!

17 responses to Podcamp Perth 07

  1. Duncan, a pleasure to meet you, and I agree with your point about the “un” part of the “unconference”. Discussion would be good. However I suspect that didn’t happen simply because Australians are less familiar with the format. I know that in my case, I didn’t grok the “unconference” bit until the day beforehand. If I had, I know I’d have geared what I was doing more to a discussion than a presentation.

    Actually I think I had less discussion in my session because (1) I powered thru the first part without leaving a gap for people and (2) my material was soooooo left-field.

    And yes, the organisers deserves a huge thank-you.

  2. Thanks for the compliment about my daughter Duncan 🙂

    I also agree with the taxi situation. I think the government needs to start spot checking the ability to get a taxi, and issuing warnings, fines and suspensions. Surely it falls into the false and misleading advertising. Bronwen and I called 4 or 5 times without any taxi actually showing up.

    Anyway…enough ranting on my part! Great to see you! And a great event!

  3. Agree with you on the taxis. Disagree with you about representing sex in SL. But we’ve discussed that enough I suspect =).

  4. Taxis – totally agree the taxi service in Perth is the worst I have encountered. Don’t try and get a cab to the outer suburbs they just will not go, I have to lie and say I’m going to the Airport and then divert them home. There are parts of perth (suburbs and CBD) that the cabbies will not go I have been told by drivers. It seems the licences are so inflated that they work in the max profit areas only.

    Hotels – Sept to Nov is high conference season in Perth the room rates double.

    Un-Conferences, often the topics peresented are new to the people concerned and sometimes just don’t generate discussion. And then some people are just self conscience of discussion in the public format but are happy to chat one on one afterwards.

    Also people are defining (un) conferences in Australia bases on no real model, as most people attending have not had the opportunity to travel Overseas the experience what it is meant to be like, I know I haven’t, and aI can’t see this changing in the near future. You have to remember we all don’t have the chance to travel all the time. 🙂

    That said the presentations delivered where very professional (the ones I saw). And yes multiple streams sucks. But how else do you do it.

    Apple Rep, I bet he was just a reseller, that is only allowed to have what we can get hold of anyway. Apple are only just considering setup a real Sydney Apple Store.

  5. @Gary Actually the Apple rep made it quite clear that he was not a reseller.

  6. Hi Duncan, it was a pleasure to meet you on Saturday. I agree with Stil and Gary that Australians are just not used to the unconference format. Give us time 😉 Also this was my first conference full stop. Still trying to get my head around the (un) part.

    I would like to see the video/audio sessions being released in a format/place where the discussion can continue, perhaps to be picked up again next time.

    As far as taxis is concerned, I live just out of Midland which according to most taxi-companies is not that far from Sydney so I generally don’t bother.

  7. As one of the ‘prospective’ SLer’s, I have to agree with you on that part of the presentation. It seemed a lot of the people in that presentation were in the education field and interested that aspect of SL; from the questions and what I know of the other people there, the social networking aspects was the reason the rest of us were interested. I don’t know much about SL at all and have no idea if the main attractions for most people really are sex and shopping, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that the majority of the audience there aren’t drawn by those aspects, and it did seem a bit incongruous with the rest of the presentation.

    And you’re probably right that we don’t ‘get’ unconferences – when you stopped talking and asked for questions so quickly in your presentation, I was a bit confused because it was so different to previous ones I saw that day. I honestly had no idea that was how you were supposed to do it? I can see how it encourages a lot more interaction though, which is good.

    Not sure if I ever ended up talking to you personally, but still good to see you and thanks for the presentation, twas very interesting 🙂

  8. Interesting…

    wondering what type of crowd you were expecting? Perhaps more web developers and programmers and no educators? With social networks like twitter many of us educators are networking with a wider network than previously so I don’t believe it is unexpected to have this mix and there are strong global networks of educators who are into technology.

    After 3 weeks of conferences I can say that Podcamp was refreshingly unlike the conferences I had attended. Certainly it followed similar format to BarCamp and I don’t have any issue with a mixture of some prepared material with interaction with the participants which is what happened – that does not happen at the conferences I attend.

    Hard call – less streams but then less sessions. Agreed was an issue for me as I could not go to sessions I wanted to. Perhaps the sessions needed to be shorter to achieve less streams but then shorter sessions always feel that you have got great discussions going then you have to stop.

    Didn’t realise men could get clucky 🙂

  9. Sue
    I’ve seen videos of the great Dave Winer unconferences and we didn’t go close. Having said that neither did the Australian Blogging Conference in Brisbane. It’s not a total criticism: don’t get me wrong, I think the conference was great, it’s just that we haven’t got to the real unconference yet.

  10. Yes Duncan I realised you are not criticizing but would love to see you lead us into making it happen in that format. But obviously that is a time issue and time is not always on our side. I did participate in an unconference online – who we did it was everyone wrote the topics they would like to discuss on the Elluminate whiteboard and then 10 minutes were allocated to talk about that topic (we had a strong facilitator running the show).

    Perhaps we could start by using a virtual classroom like Elluminate to get people used to how unconferences should work?

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