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February 02, 2009


I attended the virtual TK. The "live" WebEx sessions were great with engaged chat and then follow up with the virtual TK LinkedIn group that you joined once the money changed hands. These sessions were skinny versions of the speaker's presentation. Appreciate the speakers that played and Anthony Allen's efforts from ASTD to make this happen.

Since it's been a few years since I've been to TK, this worked for me. My remoteness forced me to reach out to more people and make contacts across presenters and participants. Even connected with people in ATL I didn't know. Judging from the videotaped presentations, there is the same old, same old sessions. At least with the chat channel, I learned more from others as well as contributed.
Something about the 256 character limit that focuses the question and/or point.

Blogged about the experience at tinyurl.com/dbolen. More to come here as I digest.

Hey Mark,

Great post as usual. I know you and I tweeted back and forth on this, but the wireless thing has to be solved. It's important for attedees; equally important for vendors. I wanted to show our new collaborative social authoring tools and our newly socialized LMS. Very cool stuff. And I couldn't demo a thing from our booth. Ouch. Double ouch that we paid to have a dedicated line.

As to the nature of the shows, I agree completely about room layouts and the general tenor of these shows. While there are champions like you and Michelle and others championing Twitter and the like, the vibe of this show (and nearly all of them) is still a "sage on stage." Part of it is room layout, part of it is presentaton style, part of it is the cookie cutter length of the sessions, the lack of interactivity beforehand and after. Most of these shows still have that episodic, knowledge dump feel. It's time to mix things up -- more audience involvement (before, during and after), new room configurations, presenters who don't present but engage instead...

Here's hoping. As a vendor, a frequent presenter, and a less frequent participant, I think these sorts of changes would help all of us find more value in these shows.

Here is my follow up on this great post: http://engagedlearning.net/post/rethinking-the-conference-structure-time-to-step-it-up/

Thanks for starting this. Let's keep the conversation and ideas coming!

Fair comments. While some will agree that Las Vegas has limited appeal to everyone; but frankly no location will meet everyones personal preferences. One of the things I like about Vegas in particular, in slower periods - it can be more affordable than other alternatives. In terms of the facility, the Rio did a great job in accommodating the group.

Amen to the constant criticism of wireless and connectivity.

You asked for feedback from vendors, so, I figured, why not? Mike and I (Rustici Software) have elected to go to fewer and fewer conferences, frankly. This is partly because our products are ill suited to the things. (Our stuff is quite technical and more valuable to other vendors than attendees.)

Having said that, the level of interest/quality of interest at the shows is exceptionally low for us. It's gotten to the point that both Mike and I treat the shows as retreats of a sort where we are forced to work in isolation and occasionally without connectivity. (We are trying to embrace what is an exceptionally frustrating situation, but I'm with you, it sucks.)

So, to answer the question, our experiences have not yet made us anxious to go to more conferences.


I am the new Managing Editor of Social Commerce Magazine, working with Dion on establishing a regular publishing schedule for the magazine. One of the things we are looking for are regular conference reviews. I am wondering if you might be willing to write a slightly more robust/formal version of your experience at Tech Knowledge for us to post sometime in the next few days?

Please feel free to email me directly at alora@socialcomputingmagazine.com (sorry for the comment -- I couldn't find an email address for you).


Sr. Managing Editor
Social Computing Magazine

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Quoth she/he...

  • "The hallmark of revolution is that the goals of the revolutionaries cannot be contained by the institutional structure of the society they live in. As a result, either the revolutionaries are put down, or some of those institutions are transmogrified, replaced, or simply destroyed. We are plainly witnessing a restructuring of the music and newspaper businesses, but their suffering isn’t unique, it’s prophetic." --Clay Shirky

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