I’ve been thinking about this long and hard, and I’ve decided to not go to Podcastercon in Chapel Hill. It sucks because I’d like to but it just wouldn’t be prudent. I have a ton of work to do and have lost a lot of my discretionary time for personal projects over the last month. Three of the last four weekends have been pretty unproductive due to holidays, and I just can’t afford the hit. I wasn’t planning on staying the night, so if I stayed for dinners and the like it would have been a 18 hour day with a 6-7 hour round trip drive included in there.
On top of all that, another big part of this is unfortunate timing. Having been to (or near) three different sit-around-and-talk conferences since September (Duke, Converge South and PME) I feel like I’m talked out. Add to that the fact that I want to have the first organized hands-on Uplifter meeting in Conway in February, it just all reduces my urgency to go this weekend. I went to remove my name from the attendee wiki, and found the page locked so I can’t. Just so y’all know, I won’t be there.
I should point out that I am not at all troubled by the thing that made Dave Winer pull out. Sorry Dave, I know you think we don’t disagree on these sort of things but I do. It just doesn’t bother me if there is a box of free books sitting there, regardless of the promotional value. In fact, as the technical editor of a book competitive to the one being passed out, I probably have more direct reason to feel umbrage and I feel none. My problem is almost the opposite. I’m not wild about the “no vendors talking” rule. If I’m driving all the way up there and losing one of my personal working days, not being able to talk about AmigoFish really sucks. If I can’t work on it, then I want to have the option to talk about it. The idea that someone else could bring it up but I’d have to sit by silently — despite being the person who both uses it most and knows most about — is absurd.
When I was thinking about the Myrtle Beach blog shindig, I was not going to have the “no vendor” rule, replacing that with gladiator-arena style thumb voting if you felt pitched to and uncomfortable. That would give the session leader a good read on the zeitgeist of the room and allow them to cut someone off if they were violating the spirit of the proceedings. There are times it is appropriate hear from a vendor and so blanket condemnation of vendors speaking on their own stuff doesn’t serve my needs. Sure that privilege can be abused but I feel like I’m losing more from the silence than the risk of the pitch, particularly if everyone in the room has a mechanism to communicate when they’ve had enough.
So in summation, the combination of too much work; prohibition from talking about the stuff I am most excited about; timing; and conference burnout has led me to not go to Podcaster Con this Saturday.