Home Doing The Silicon Valley Conference Circuit

Doing The Silicon Valley Conference Circuit

My third trip to the US is almost over, as I’m flying back to good old NZ tomorrow. I
thought I’d write a quick post about my experiences from this trip. In particular about the 3
conferences I went to: Supernova, BloggerCon and Gnomedex. In reverse chronological order…


The most enjoyable conference for me was Gnomedex, in Seattle. It was a lot of fun and I think host Chris
Pirillo (pictured at left) was a major reason why! The man is a human ball of energy and
this rubbed off on the conference as a whole. The content was eclectic and fun, as were
the party venues and the ‘little things’ – like the free food/drink, a place for us World
Cup fans to hang out and watch the quarter finals, the cool quasi-Maori themed Gnomedex
tee-shirts, and more. Sessions I enjoyed included Dave Dederer (part of the rock band
Presidents of the United States) and Ethan Kaplan, who both discussed the music industry
on the Web. Dederer opened by singing two songs from my favourite band of all time, The
Velvet Underground. He sung ‘We’re gonna have a real good time together’ and ‘Waiting for
The Man’ 🙂 Most of the sessions were great – and a bit out-of-the-ordinary (e.g. Susan
Mernit’s talk
), which is always a good thing IMHO. There was some fiery discussion in Blake Ross’
session, about Firefox, but everybody ended up friends afterwards. Plus getting US
Presidential nominee John Edwards to
was a master stroke.


was great, although the turnout was surprisingly small. Perhaps due to the overlap with
other events – including Supernova and a San Francisco Bar Camp. Nevertheless there was a
nice community feel to BloggerCon and host Dave Winer made sure all the discussions were
relevant and thought-provoking. The one issue I had with the “unconference” format was
that it tended to favour the extroverted personalities in the crowd, which meant the same
old people were doing the talking all the time. I guess it’s up to us quiet thinkers to
summon up the courage to pitch in, but maybe the Discussion Leaders could do a little
more to encourage that to happen? An unconference should include the introverts too 🙂
Oh and BloggerCon was yet another conference where my friend and BBM boss Marc Canter
fell asleep (pictured)!


in San Francisco had its moments, but at other times was a little disappointing. I felt that in too many
cases, panelists and speakers talked mainly about their own products or companies. The Future of Search panel was the best
illustration of this – the 5 panelists all talked about their own search products at
every opportunity, which left me none the wiser about the future of search by the
end. I really hope Kevin Werbach and his team addresses this issue for the next
Supernova, because I really want to hear technical issues being discussed – I don’t want
product pitches. The panel called The Future of Desktops was more to
my liking, as a lot of thought-provoking information came from that panel. Somewhat
ironically then, one of my favourite moments of Supernova was Mike Arrington’s Connected
session – so I guess little 5-minute product spiels I can deal with 🙂 The
Supernova backchannel was interesting too, with Valleywag (pictured) a prominent snarker,
along with David Weinberger.


There are lots of other things I enjoyed about all 3 conferences (and stuff I’ve forgotten to mention I’m sure), but no time to go
into it all. I want to thank all 3 of the conference organizers: Kevin Werbach, Dave
Winer, Chris Pirillo and Ponzi. It’s a lot of hard work to do conferences, so I’ve got to
give big wraps to those people.

p.s. sorry about the lack of blog posts here recently. Once I’m home I’ll get
back to my normal blogging routine! 

Photos: Laughing
, Niall
, JoshB

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.