ConvergeSouth Day 2, Morning

Up at 8 AM, an hour behind schedule. I still made it out of the hotel and to the conference by 8:50 AM. I love being a guy!

I’m in the Elisa Camahort keynote now. She asked if anyone had heard of Millie Garfield, and I didn’t recognize the name off the bat but when she pulled up her page I recognized her face from Steve Garfield’s vlog. Having sat at Elisa’s table at the BBQ for a while last night, I hope I’m not now a datum of some misogynist prick that defines women in terms of men. I just know Steve’s work, and I wouldn’t know his mom except through him. I’d be happy to define more men in terms of the women in their life.

I have officially grown bone weary of definitional struggles. “What is a blogger”, “What is a podcaster?”, etc. These are question that do not in any way interest me anymore. I don’t care what you call yourself, take whatever you got and knock me out with it and let the definitions sort themselves out.

Ben Hwang is sitting in the front row, wearing a “The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves” Myrtle Beach pirate shirt.

Now is the social networking panel. Anil Dash had to cancel because his plane didn’t leave Toronto, so the lineup is Soni Pitts, Elisa Camahort and Ruby Sinreich. Ruby’s introduction lasted over 15 minutes. She warned that she can use up all the oxygen in the room and then set about proving it. I know she is cool and her heart is in the right place, the moderator should have been less polite and a little more ruthless and all would have been better there.

Soni Pitts: “I only found out I’d be on this panel about 8:30 last night and I’m not really that prepared. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.” I’ve never met Soni but I like her attitude and wit. I’ll make a point of meeting her later. She seems like a hard edged pragmatist chick that Gets It Done – my favorite type of woman. I love women and want to see them strong and empowered and I’ll say that one effective productive woman that Just Does It helps the cause more than any dozen hand wringers. Be like Heather Gold and “play out”.

Now I’m in the Moving Pictures- Images and Video on the Web panel. I’m underwhelmed. Jason McHugh seems interesting enough and I’m going to be at his hosted dinner tonight. I’ve got to say the Brendan Gross and Saskia Wilson-Brown are not doing a good job of selling me on the value of Current TV. Says Brendan “Unlike YouTube, you won’t get videos of cats on the toilet. We present a level of quality.” I’ve hit the point where I’d like to think that anyone that presents a blatant straw man argument to me will not only not sway me but the opposite. I haven’t stood up and pushed back on that, but honestly what value does it bring to my work to be associated with the “Current TV brand.” Is there anyone out there impressed by the Current TV brand? Five minutes into the panel someone asked “What is Current TV?” which says all you need to on that subject. They seem well meaning enough but have a vibe like Nixon era FBI agents infiltrating communes. They are saying the hip things but it doesn’t seem natural to them. Brandon’s message seems to be “Our value comes from the top level control we put on things, and from the unbridled creativity of the viewers that submit to us.” Those seem like ideas at loggerheads to me.

On the upside, at one point I got so bored I opened Full Tilt Poker and got into a $0.05/$0.10 Omaha Hi/Low cash game and more than doubled my money when I had two hands in a row with A2 and in both hands won or chopped the low pot and won the high pot outright – with a straight in one and a nut flush in the other. Yay me and my m@d p0k3r skillz. I lost a few bucks later on, but left up a cool 100%.

This panel is highlighting why we want to have conferences with smaller breakout groups of hands on, highly technical discussion. This panel has two modes – broad uninteresting generalities and specific technical questions that might well be too specific for a big room.

Now Ruby has left a comment and I had a conversation with her. I think with her session it was a moderation issue. She was trying to put structure on the fairly broad topic, and she did do that. When she asked if the moderator wanted her to continue or do the rest of the intros, he should have said “No, let’s finish the intros please and then we’ll come back to that.” Ruby doesn’t think I’m a dick for my comment, so that’s good.

Update: Here’s Amber Rhea’s post live blogging Elisa’s keynote. That’s true live blogging which made mine seem pretty half-assed, maybe one-quarter-assed. It was an experiment but I don’t really seem to have the stomach for how much work and sustained effort and attention live bloggging takes. Plus, it would have cut into my poker game in the session after that.

7 Replies to “ConvergeSouth Day 2, Morning”

  1. Fair enough, Dave. I really wasn’t sure what our session was supposed to be about, but I was afraid it wouldn’t be about anything so (with the moderator’s approval) I did my spiel. I would have happily bowed to another suggestion.

    BTW, I’m sitting 2 rows behind you right now in the Why Online Video Sucks session (which so far sucks, at least for an amateur like me). Sorry I haven’t gotten to say hi in the flesh. But anyway, HI! 🙂

  2. Ruby, I see you! To be clear you didn’t do anything wrong, that was a bad moderator call. I’ve been on panels and I know how hard it is to control that stuff when you are trying to be coherent while looking at a crowd. I engage mouth and go until someone stops me. I think if he had had all of you do the intros and then you did the same thing, the same panel would have been greatly improved. Live and learn.

    You just up and left so I couldn’t talk to you after this panel! I’ll find you later on.

  3. It’s funny, Dave, at BlogHer last year, Steve and Millie talked about how some people thought of her as Steve’s mom, and a whole other contingent thought of him as Millie’s son 🙂

  4. Actually, I was relieved to hear Ruby step up to do her thing first. Saved me from having to be coherent right off the bat, seeing as I was both ill-prepared and still somewhat under the Burro from the previous night’s band party. On top of that, my caffeine intake hadn’t quite made it up to functioning levels by the time the panel convened. Luckily, I just don’t need that much oxygen when I’m partially comatose. 😀

    Yay, Ruby. Thanks to her, I managed to get up to speed and not entirely suck. Saved my ass from a public humiliation, I’m quite positive.

  5. Soni was “relieved” but Robert was thanking the spirits. From BBQ night to Sue’s directing me straight to the podium on arrival, Ruby’s top five help our panel get off on the right foot. Great group overall.

  6. Elisa, that’s good. The second I spoke up I flashed back to the conversation about Scoble at the BBQ and I had a horrible thought – “Oh lord, don’t let me be the anecdote at the next BBQ.”

    Soni and Robert (and Ruby), I’m willing to admit that perhaps I was the only person in the room that wanted that panel to start differently. Maybe it is just my particular expectation of structure but I never like getting 20 minutes into a panel and finding out who the 2nd and 3rd panelists are. I’d always prefer 3 minutes of quick intro before anything else of any length happens. This happens at SF conventions sometimes, when one panelist has a video clip or something and that always bugs me there to. Introduce the whole table and THEN run your video.

    I’m not even saying I didn’t want Ruby to say any of what she did, just placed after the rest of the panelists intros. I might be a lone wolf on this subject. Ahhooooooo!

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