Another Northern Voice in the books

nv08over

I don’t think this was my favorite edition of Northern Voice, but it wasn’t bad either. I’ll elaborate on that when I do a wrap-up post in a few days, but a few things have already been captured on the Post-Mortem wiki page.

I think Northern Voice is still a great event for people interesting in blogging and social media, and I admit I enjoyed it. If you’ve never experienced the conference, consider attending next year (yes it sounds like the organizers are definitely planning to hold NV again in 2009).

See you in twelve months!

Northern Voice 2008 – Free lunch!

Make your own wrapLast year Megan and Sharon went out in the rain to get us McDonald’s. I don’t remember what I did for lunch at Northern Voice in the years before that – I may have skipped lunch. This year, for the first time ever, lunch was provided!

And not just today, but yesterday at MooseCamp too. I think providing lunch was a really good idea. Food makes people happy. And the fact that no one has to leave means the conversations can continue. It’s hard to remember what Northern Voice was like in previous years without lunch, because this is what it should be like!

Here’s what was on the menu:

Friday: The DIY Sandwich Bar (Salads, assorted rolls, veggie fixins, deli meats, three cheeses, Nanaimo bars, brownies & dessert squares.)

Saturday: Mexican Buffet (bean dip with tortilla chips, corn & black bean salad, flour tortillas, chicken, veggies, monterey jack and cheddar cheeses, sour cream, salsa and guacamole, chocolate brownies.)

My wrap was soooo messy, but it was also really yummy.

Good call on the food, Northern Voice organizers.

NV08 – Blogging & Social Media: Where do we go from here?

nv2008 Matt Mullenweg just finished up his keynote and is now answering questions from the audience. His talk about where we are now and where we need to go in the future started out really well, but kind of went downhill in my opinion. He began with the blogger’s hierarchy of needs:

  1. Expression
  2. Public
  3. Interaction
  4. Validation

I think these make a lot of sense. Bloggers seem to have an inherent need to express themselves, they like to do so in public and with other people, and they love checking their stats. My favorite and I think the most important is #2. I agree with Matt that public should be the default.

NV08 Keynote Next he made the comment that 4 million posts are created at wordpress.com each month. Wikipedia has about 2.1 million English-language articles, so Matt reasoned that wordpress.com users create about two Wikipedia’s each month. The only problem with that, of course, is that quantity does not equal quality. It’s kind of an apples and oranges comparison.

Matt then showed a funny video of the "dancing Matt", some dude who he is apparently neck and neck with for the top result in Google for "matt". He asked the audience to ensure they link to http://ma.tt so that he can remain #1. Are you kidding me? Does this belong in a keynote?

His next point was that technology companies suck at branding. He cited Google and Microsoft specifically, and used P&G as an example of a company that is great at branding. This wasn’t new for me, as I’ve done a lot of reading about branding, but it is good that Matt brought it up specifically. He didn’t say it explicitly, but I can only assume that he thinks we need to have better branding in technology in the future. A lot of his points seemed very loosely related to the title of the talk.

Matt finished up his talk by essentially professing his love for the open source movement. I agree with him that transparency is good and powerful, but I disagree that open source is the only way to get there. Matt thinks that we must create strong alternatives to commercial solutions. I think we can achieve transparency in other ways.

Stewart Mader liveblogged the keynote, so you might get a better idea of how it went down by reading his post.

It wasn’t a bad keynote, but I think the one Anil Dash did last year was much better. It was more powerful and left you with a great feeling. You can watch it here.

Ah well. Matt is easy to like and he’s a good speaker, but his keynote just didn’t do it for me.

MooseCamp2008

moosecamp2008 I’m not sure why, but I didn’t really get into the swing of things until this afternoon. Just wasn’t as enthused for MooseCamp as I have been in previous years. Maybe that’s because so much of it is repetitious. I mean, Kris Krug’s PhotoCamp sessions are always excellent, but they’re also always very similar. I’ve spent most of the afternoon in the Internet BootCamp. Despite being aimed at beginners, I don’t think the content has been all that introductory. It’s been interesting, for sure.

In the last session on liveblogging, someone mentioned that they found it odd that so many people are just snapping photos and uploading them without asking permission. Megan sympathizes, because she doesn’t like her photo being taken. I think that if you’re attending Northern Voice or any other tech conference, there’s an expectation that you’re going to get blogged, photographed, videotaped, streamed, Twittered, etc. If you are really uncomfortable with having your photo taken, you shouldn’t be here.

That might sound harsh, but that’s how I feel. I fully appreciate privacy and asking permission, but I think you implicitly give permission by attending. That expectation has been set.

Only a couple hours of MooseCamp left! The session we’re in now is called Traffic, Stats, SEO 101. Definitely one of my least favorite topics, but I didn’t want to give up the power outlet 😉

In Vancouver

Megan and I arrived safely this afternoon here in Vancouver. The flight was really short, I think we were almost 20 minutes early! Our accommodations are the same as last year (Triumf House) and once again the room is great. The place is so empty though, I don’t know why more Northern Voicers haven’t caught on. It’s about a five minute walk from the Forestry building where the conference is held.

We went to Vera’s Burger Shack for dinner tonight, a place I went last year too. It was yummy! We also made a stop at Starbucks, which was pretty nice of Megan considering she gave up coffee for lent. I guess she knows just how addicted I am 🙂

I thought I was quite prepared for the trip, but it turns out I forgot my toothbrush and also a wireless router (I usually travel with one). No big deal though, I’ll get a toothbrush tomorrow.

Looking forward to MooseCamp tomorrow!

Off to Vancouver for Northern Voice

nv2008 It’s that time of year again! Later this afternoon Megan and I are flying to Vancouver for the fourth edition of Northern Voice, Canada’s blogging and social media conference. And as usual, I’ve left far too many things until the last minute. Ah well.

Lots of people have asked me this, so I figured I should blog about it: I am not doing any recording this year (I did some recording in 2005 and again last year). I’m just going to enjoy the conference as an attendee. That said, I am bringing some recording devices. And a webcam…maybe we’ll have some live streaming!

There are lots of ways to follow along this weekend. Keep an eye on the nv08 and northernvoice tags at Flickr, and also on the NorthernVoiceBloggers channel on Jaiku. And of course, I’ll be twittering and blogging here.

Have a great weekend and I’ll see all you Northern Voicers shortly.

Going to Northern Voice 2008

Post ImageMegan and I just registered for Northern Voice 2008, once again taking place at the Forestry Sciences Centre on UBC’s main campus in Vancouver. This is the fourth year the conference has taken place, and its the fourth year in a row we’ve attended. Dickson has joined us twice, but I don’t think he’ll be coming this year. Sharon came with us last year, and I think it scared her off. I asked if she wanted to come this year, and she just laughed at me! Ah well, it’s not for everyone I guess.

Here are my "I’m registered" posts from 2007, 2006, and 2005. Each year I’ve done a little more than just attend (was a panel member once, did recording twice) but this year that changes. I’m looking forward to a less stressful experience, and I know Megan is too 🙂

If you’d like to register, you can do so here.

Read: Northern Voice

Podcasting Northern Voice 2007

Post ImageI am leaving bright and early tomorrow morning for Vancouver – Megan, Dickson, Sharon and I are heading to Northern Voice 2007. It’s a conference I look forward to every year. I’m especially excited about this year because we have volunteered to record all of the sessions! Here’s what I sent to Darren:

We’re hosting at http://northernvoice.podcastspot.com, which is all decked out in the new Northern Voice theme. Currently we’re planning to record all of Saturday’s sessions in audio, and as much as of Moosecamp as we can. We’ve also got a couple video cameras to record some sessions and “roaming” footage. There’s four of us, so we should be able to get it all.

We’re probably not the only ones who will be recording stuff however – the people who attend Northern Voice are a creative bunch, so there will likely be lots of microphones and video cameras floating around. Bottom line: whether you can attend or not, you’ll be able to listen in.

We’re also offering a special Northern Voice promotion at Podcast Spot. If you enter the discount code NV2007 when you sign up, we’ll give you an extra 100 MB of upload quota for free! It’s just another way we’re celebrating our favorite Canadian tech conference.

If you have any feedback on our Northern Voice podcast, I’d love to hear from you. As Megan knows, I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, so I’ll be doing my best to make sure everything sounds and looks good. We should have our first “introduction” episode up sometime tomorrow.

Read: The Podcast

Why do you blog?

Post ImageDarren Barefoot is presenting a session called “Why We Blog” at Northern Voice next month, and as part of his preparations he has launched a short online survey. There’s only sixteen questions and it’s pretty quick to fill out, so if you’re a blogger, why not help him out? I just completed the survey so I can affirm that it is quick and painless. Oh, and there’s prizes too:

One randomly-selected person who completes the survey will win an iPod Shuffle.

Another randomly-selected survey completer will win two Lonely Planet books–Micronations and Experimental Travel.

I obviously want to promote the survey, so I’m also giving away one CAN $50 gift certificate to a randomly-selected person who blogs about it. Just link to http://www.whydoyoublog.com and you’re qualified to win.

So if you are a blogger or have been a blogger in the past, fill out the survey here.

Read: Why Do You Blog?

Northern Voice 2007

Post ImageI finally registered for Northern Voice 2007 today. The annual conference has become a tradition for me, and this year the timing is perfect as it falls on the tail end of reading week. The organizers posted the schedule yesterday, and even though it is still a work in progress, it looks good. I don’t see a keynote however – perhaps it will fill the time gap from 9:30 to 10:15?

If you’d like to attend Northern Voice, you can register here.

Read: Northern Voice