Three years ago I went to my first American geek conference, Gnomedex. It’s funny that it took me that long to start attending US conferences, but I never had the opportunity until I moved south of the border.
Gnomedex changed me. This was the incredible conference where the infamous Jason Calacanis and Dave Winer showdown occurred. There was much more to the conference though. Each presentation was inspiring and thought provoking. The attendees, speakers and Pirillo family all touched me, it was like joining a family.
I love huge conferences like SXSW Interactive, but the single track format of Gnomedex and smaller attendance keeps everyone tight. We have the same presentations to reflect upon together, which makes it more intimate and special.
The presentations are incredible too. I often refer to Gnomedex as a poor man’s TED. Of course I mean this tongue-in-cheek, but the truth is most of us aren’t invited to even attend TED (let alone can afford a ticket). It’s not to speak badly of TED, but rather to point out the quality and importance of the presentations at Gnomedex.
In 2007 I got to watch Guy Kawasaki do his famous presentation on the art of evangelism.
I was inspired by Darren Barefoot who used humor to discuss death, legacy and philanthropy.
I was touched by Derek K. Miller‘s story of being diagnosed with colon cancer, live from his bed in Vancouver.
I was educated on how older folks experience the the Internet by “elderblogger” Ronni Bennett.
In 2008 I watched in horror as Danny Sullivan opened our eyes to online privacy.
I was thrilled to see the attendee generosity and use of microphilanthropy to raise money for Beth Kanter.
and I was knocked on my ass in awe by Scott Maxwell‘s presentation on his full time job as the Mars Exploration Rover driver.
Of course there have been many more incredible presentations that I’ve seen at Gnomedex in the last two years. I am terribly excited to see what’s in store this year.
If you’re not coming you should read this and then ask yourself why.