[iDC] Review of reboot 9.0

Damien Mulley damien at mulley.net
Thu Jun 7 09:30:53 EDT 2007

Hi Everyone,
 Trebor invited me to this list and suggested I post my review of
Reboot 9.0. Which I'll do. My review on my blog is here:


I will however rewrite it a little for this list:

reboot 9.0 review - http://www.reboot.dk

A few notes on my bias:

Please note the main conferences I have gone to so far have been all
based in Ireland. I'm not a fan of the usual business conferences
where someone gives pitches about their product to a bunch of suits.
We have a lot of them here in Ireland but we also have BarCamps which
are the complete opposite with nobody pitching their business but
instead they talk in a very informal atmosphere about something they
are passionate about, usually technology.

There were far too many talks on at Reboot to be able to attend them
all. Generally there were 3-4 talks running concurrently so I cannot
tell you what all the other talks were like but from the buzz
happening at the event, most people were quite happy with their

I was very impressed by the organisation of the whole event with good
access to powe routlets and generally good wireless connections. Well
done to the organisers. It was fantastic to see a conference that had
a creche and was very much family friendly. Lots of people had their
kids there. It was a very good advertisment for Denmark if this is
what working and conferences are like there.

The only drawback for me was the large numbers of people and constant
talks left it hard to network. Smaller numbers make networking a
little bit easier. Saying that, if I attended more of the conferences
like these I'm sure I'd start meeting more people I know and meet
people they know as a result.

The other drawback in my view was that most talks did not have time
for questions and answers which was disappointing and I think the
organisers might be stricter on the lenght of talks to guarantee Q&A
sessions. The usual thing also happened when there was time for
questions and that was that people seemed shy. I've found in these
times organisers can ask questions which seems to warm up the crowd
and then they all start asking questions. Still, overall this was a
conference well worth going to see.

In order, I'll review the talks I was at:

Trusted Space - Nature's Rules by Robert Patterson. -
Slightly academic but a fascinating subject. Slides are here:

While We Wait For The Babel Fish by Stephanie Booth.

Brilliant talk and a talk that every web app and website builder
should go to if it is touring their local area. Lots of "oh yeah"
moments in the talk. Basically Stephanie points out all the very
annoying things "multi-lingual" sites do or do not do and ways to make
it much easier for people who speak other languages than english or
the other way around.

The Politics of Web 2.0 and the contradictions of a sharing economy by
Michel Bauwens.
Michel Bauwens' talk was great. He's a good speaker and his topic was
very engaging. By P2P he does NOT mean file sharing but using large
groups of people to break work into smaller pieces. From his blurb:

    "Peer to peer gives rise to the emergence of peer production (the
ability to produce in common outside the state or the corporation),
peer governance (the new ways of managing such efforts), and peer
property (the new ways of protecting the resulting commons from
private appropriation)."

I hope the presentation is available somewhere. It's one of those kind
of talks where you get excited that maybe we can change the world and
make it better.

How does humans predict the future? by Jesper Krogstrup.

This was all about prediction markets and how to basically create a
gambling system inside a company to better predict the success or
on-time completion of projects. Seems Microsoft used the system to see
would they release an internal application in time and Google are also
using it to spot good ideas. Fantastic talk, would love to have heard
more about this whole topic. He mentioned HP might be bringing out a
tool for this kind of stuff. Again, would love to get hold of the
slides. I've since gone away and done more reading and research in
this area. Really fascinating (to me). It kind of complimented the P2P
talk as once again it was about using people power to make a
business/process/the world better.

Happiness by Alexander Kjerulf
Maybe it was the heat in the room and the long day but I did not enjoy
this talk at all. I was quite enthusiastic going in and quite cynical
within a few minutes. It felt like a pep talk or rallying cry before
we went out to win the football game.

When challenged on the idea, I don't think the points raised were
listened to. Alexander's blog looks good. He seems like the Guy
Kawasaki of Happiness with lots of posts with lists and how-tos. I'll
prob sub to his blog for a while as there does seem to be valid stuff
on it but I thought the talk didn't go anywhere at all and was a
wasted opportunity.

Travel and serendipity by Matt Jones
I use Dopplr and I am a fan of Matt Jones and his work over the years
but I thought this was just a product demo of Dopplr, it was more of a
sales presentation in my view than a talk about the subject matter of
the talk. Dopplr is worth looking at and the slides are here:
http://url.ie/4b3 but as I said, it felt like a sales presentation.

Improvement > Change
Another wasted talk. Quirky soundbites. No substance.  Very
unimpressed with this as it didn't ask interesting questions or make
any points. It felt like a marketing slogan for a brand that had yet
to be built.

Citizens of the future by Ewan McIntosh

I want every teacher in the country, every civil servant in the
Department of Education and every politician to be at a Ewan McIntosh
talk. So many Rebooters have ideas and gave talks on how to make the
world better but I liked Ewan's talk the best because it was
practicle, easy to implement and had the data to show how one can
change a generation through education. Everyone should check out his
blog: http://edu.blogs.com/ and subscribe to it. Probably best talk at
Reboot (for me)

 All theory. All academic. Useless unless you were a philosophy
student. I had expected to be told how to exploit our intuition and to
use it to do something. Nope.

The Ethical Economy: A New Humanism?
20 minutes of rapid fire, no interaction academic talk. It was not a
discussion, more a hammering of information into your head in language
only a philosophy would understand. Yeah great, making a company and
the world more ethical is good but HOW do you do it?

The last two talks I attended were really good, they were:

Lessons from a social entrepreneur by John Buckman
This could have been a sales pitch for Magnatune or Bookmooch and yet
it was not. Slides of talk here. http://url.ie/4b4 A good talk on
using Free Culture and the Creative Commons can make you money and
make content producers money. John was not smoking dope, did not have
long hair, was not wearing sandals or wearing a tie-dye t-shirt. See,
you don't need to be a hippy for this stuff. A good wind-down talk and
very inspiring. I love this whole para:

    "Offend people's pride to motivate them to action: BookMooch's
1st-pass machine translations of the site from English to 7 other
languages produced translations that I knew would be offensive to
native speakers, and the wiki-style correction mechanism allowed them
to express their offense by correcting it. But, if I hadn't done the
machine translation and mangled their language, very few people would
have bothered to translate the site from English to their language."

The last talk of Reboot was well worth waiting for.

Products are people too by Matt Webb.

Another one of those "Oh yeah" type talks. He talked the sense. A lot. Blurb:

    "Design can be easier when we acknowledge that products share our
homes and malls, and have wants and lives of their own."

Slides here: http://schulzeandwebb.com/2007/people/  Mr. Webb I think
is a genius and a very effective communicator. Reboot ended on a nice
happy high as a result of this talk.

There. Phew. My first and probably longest email I'll ever send to
this mailing list.


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