Gnomedex 2008! Tapping into the Tech Conversation

Gnomedex is a yearly conference held in Seattle during the late summer. It’s a conference that, according to the website:

…… hundreds of the world’s leading bloggers, podcasters, and tech-savvy enthusiasts will once again descend upon the city of Seattle, Washington. The eighth Gnomedex conference is generating buzz in the blogosphere, which underscores our reason to produce it. Indeed, we will once again become the crossroads between producers and observers, between users and developers.

Basically I define Gnomedex as a tech conference where anyone who produces content, consumes content, or just has a tech bone in their body comes together to talk to other geeks about their passions.

This year was no exception as highly passionate people arrived in Seattle ready to meet, greet, and get our geek on.

The Ride to Gnomedex

About two month’s ago, Alex Williams from a local startup called Iterasi asked some Portland folks whether we’d be interested in riding in a converted bus with WiFi, beanbag chairs, and comfy couches to Seattle for the conference. My first reaction was “Of course”! What better way to drive 4 hours than with other blogging buddies and the folks from Iterasi.

The ride was well publicized because everyone I met at Gnomedex that knew I was from Portland asked me if I was on the bus. We had a slow start getting up to Seattle, but the road trip up was great. Iterasi, by sponsoring and arranging the bus ride, sought to build the Portland community up and bring us together. We had an amazing time. Thanks to Alex, Londa, and Pete Grillo who joined us for the ride up to Seattle.

The ride back had the added fun of featuring Sarah Lacy, the Business Week writer. I had a great conversation with one of the leading women of the blogosphere. She’s a smart cookie who I hope continues her success.

The Sessions

Chris and Ponzi Pirillo really took attendee’s feedback to heart after last year’s drama surrounding Calacanis/Winer drama. The theme of this year’s attendee list was “Where Tech Meets Social”. We had some amazing presentations this year including:

  • An intro to Mars 3.0, given by the Nasa Engineer who drives the Mars Rover.
  • Gnomedexers raised $3000 to send a young Cambodian girl to College, thanks to Beth Katner
  • Seeing the next DVR you’ll want from Boxee
  • Keeping track of your laptop, the open source way with Adeona
  • Wonderful photography tips and techniques from the amazing artist Kris Krug.

Every session at Gnomedex was fabulous and I just don’t have enough time to run through each of them. The videos will be up on the Gnomedex website soon and I urge you to take a look when you get a chance.

The People

The people you meet in the hallways and during meals define Gnomedex. This is a conference where Chris Brogan and Robert Scoble are just other bloggers in the crowd, rather than being the haughty “A-listers” some might expect them to be. Everyone who comes to Gnomedex comes to merely network and exchange ideas.

Last year, I sat with Josh Bancroft at Gnomedex and thought it would be fun to have more Portland people in 2008. This year, there was an awesome Portland group that made the journey up! I had an especially great time networking with Rick Turoczy, Jason Grigsby, Josh Bancroft, Brian Westbrook, Marshall Kirkpatrick, and Amber Case.

Again, it’s the people who make Gnomedex such a draw. I made some amazing buddies and got to meet some very interesting people from all around the social web.