Gnomedex Was Amazing

Photo by: Bryan Person

I had the extreme pleasure of spending the last number of days in Seattle with a few hundred of the coolest geeks on earth.

Each year Internet super star, Chris Pirillo, organizes an incredible conference called Gnomedex. I’m happy to write that Griffin was a proud sponsor this year.

The conference mixes technology with social issues. We learn of ways people are using the power of the tubes to better their communities. The following is a short summary of some of my favorite presentations, but they were all good.

One of the advantages of attending tech conferences is that everything is recorded, streamed, tweeted and blogged. I highly recommend you take the time to watch some (or all) of the presentations when they become available. Each one was extremely relevant, thought provoking, touching and humorous.

Jay Grandin & Leah Nelson began their adventures online as funny video producers, making short films on YouTube like How To Shower: Women vs. Men and How To Conceal A Fart. They then decided to travel to Tanzania to help some street kids produce a Hip Hop album, they even filmed a movie called Bongo about it. For every 2,000 songs sold, a street kid has a roof over his head for one year.

Cyborg Anthropologist, Amber Case, spoke about the evolution of cyborgs. She showed us examples of people like Steve Mann who has created glasses to send and receive information online, so he can actually block out things he doesn’t want to see like advertisements on billboards. Every time I use my iPhone, TuneBuds and this computer now, I think about how they have become extensions of me. I am a cyborg. We all are.

Mark Horvath brought the house down by sharing stories about his and other people’s homelessness. While Mark was introducing us on stage to James, a Seattle (Nickelsville) tent-city resident, a hat was passed around the room. Together we collected $1,500 cash to help James get back on his feet. I hope he does.

Phil Plaitt, who writes Bad Astronomy, spoke about pessimism skepticism (oops, I wrote this too quickly). It was a fun presentation that made us all realize we are pessimists skeptics and that it’s actually a good thing. I ran into Phil waiting for the same flight home. He’s a great guy.

Drew Olanoff, a popular social media maven, was recently diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma cancer. Being the outgoing funny guy that he is, he has created a site called Blame Drew’s Cancer. The site aggregates Twitter tweets tagged with #blamedrewscancer and is linked with Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong campaign to raise awareness and money for cancer research. Go ahead and give it a try if you’re on Twitter. For example you could tweet, “I #blamedrewscancer that my coffee spilled in my lap.”

Micah Baldwin had a great presentation about building influence online, or How To Be Awesome. He had some wonderful insight in using the web to promote yourself and your business. Heck, I’m doing that right now aren’t I? :-) Check out his slides.

Friends, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, spoke about their book, Trust Agents. Together they shared great examples of how to use the social web effectively and properly. Chris and Julien are both friends who I recommend you watch. They’re always outgoing and insightful.

These are just a few examples of how outstanding the quality of the conference was. My other highlights were the tweet up (thanks for coming if you were there), hallway, party, lunch, dinner, and walking down the road conversations that I had with so many of the wonderful attendees. I wish I could include your name here, but a) this post would become a massive list, and b) I would inevitably forget someone and then feel terrible when I realized it.

I want to personally thank Chris, Mona, Maya, Chris’ mom and dad (who help run the conference with him) and all of the Gnomedex volunteers and attendees for making this such an inspirational event. I’ll see you all next year.

Here’s a look at Gnomedex from King 5 News. My photos are available on Flickr if you’d like to take a look.

Were you there? Which presentation did you enjoy the most?

Photo by: Bryan Person

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  • Anonymous

    Hey Dave are you sure you didn’t mean to say “skepticism” instead of “pessimism”? Phil Plait’s far from being a pessimist, and approaches his healthy sense of skepticism from a very positive point of view I noticed. And while far too many of us are pessismist far too few of us are skeptical enquirers about life. :-)

  • Anonymous

    Hey Dave, I just finished reading your blog and have one comment regarding Phil Plait’s talk. Perhaps it’s just a typo, I hope so. Did you mean to say Phil Plait spoke about skepticism instead of pessimism? After meeting Phil, his healthy sense of skepticism I can tell you comes from a very positive point of view. :-)

  • http://twittermaven.blogspot.com warrenss

    Fantastic summary, Dave. And it was great meeting you at the tweetup that you organized at the Alibi Room.

    Thanks,

  • http://mikepk.com mikepk

    Dave, it was great meeting you at gnomedex! Juliette was still talking about “Kit Kat CHUNKY” a few days later when we were walking around Seattle. I agree gnomedex was awesome this year and I definitely plan on making it to the next one.

    I think for me, my favorite presentations were makerbot (because it's both creative and simple but also represents something potentially profound), Amber Case's Cyborg presentation, and Phil Plait's presentation on skepticism.

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  • http://www.griffintechnology.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks Mike. I'm serious, Kit Kat Chunky is one lovely chocolate bar.
    You can probably find one on a British food ordering site. Let me know
    if you find them. Yum!
    Those were all great presentations, I loved all three of them too. All
    three of those speakers are incredible people too.

    Keep in touch! My best to Juliette.

    Cheers,
    D

  • http://www.griffintechnology.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks Warren. It was great to meet you too finally.
    What was your favorite presentation at Gnomedex?

  • http://www.griffintechnology.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks Mike. I'm serious, Kit Kat Chunky is one lovely chocolate bar.
    You can probably find one on a British food ordering site. Let me know
    if you find them. Yum!
    Those were all great presentations, I loved all three of them too. All
    three of those speakers are incredible people too.

    Keep in touch! My best to Juliette.

    Cheers,
    D

  • http://www.griffintechnology.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks Warren. It was great to meet you too finally.
    What was your favorite presentation at Gnomedex?

  • http://www.griffintechnology.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks Mike. I'm serious, Kit Kat Chunky is one lovely chocolate bar.
    You can probably find one on a British food ordering site. Let me know
    if you find them. Yum!
    Those were all great presentations, I loved all three of them too. All
    three of those speakers are incredible people too.

    Keep in touch! My best to Juliette.

    Cheers,
    D

  • http://www.griffintechnology.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks Warren. It was great to meet you too finally.
    What was your favorite presentation at Gnomedex?

  • http://www.griffintechnology.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks Mike. I'm serious, Kit Kat Chunky is one lovely chocolate bar.
    You can probably find one on a British food ordering site. Let me know
    if you find them. Yum!
    Those were all great presentations, I loved all three of them too. All
    three of those speakers are incredible people too.

    Keep in touch! My best to Juliette.

    Cheers,
    D

  • http://www.griffintechnology.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks Warren. It was great to meet you too finally.
    What was your favorite presentation at Gnomedex?

  • http://www.griffintechnology.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks Mike. I'm serious, Kit Kat Chunky is one lovely chocolate bar.
    You can probably find one on a British food ordering site. Let me know
    if you find them. Yum!
    Those were all great presentations, I loved all three of them too. All
    three of those speakers are incredible people too.

    Keep in touch! My best to Juliette.

    Cheers,
    D

  • http://www.griffintechnology.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks Warren. It was great to meet you too finally.
    What was your favorite presentation at Gnomedex?

  • http://www.griffintechnology.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks Mike. I'm serious, Kit Kat Chunky is one lovely chocolate bar.
    You can probably find one on a British food ordering site. Let me know
    if you find them. Yum!
    Those were all great presentations, I loved all three of them too. All
    three of those speakers are incredible people too.

    Keep in touch! My best to Juliette.

    Cheers,
    D

  • http://www.griffintechnology.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks Warren. It was great to meet you too finally.
    What was your favorite presentation at Gnomedex?

  • http://www.griffintechnology.com Dave Delaney

    Oops, thanks. I wrote the post quickly and messed that up. I agree
    with your comment completely.

    Thanks for the clarification.
    Dave

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