An unconference to remember, coming up in a few weeks

by Jay Cross on June 8, 2006

Unconferences are one of my informal learning themes. In the book, I describe my experiences at BAR Camp, Learning 2005, and Gnomedex.

Gnomedex is the personality, savvy, and energy of Chris Pirillo (?) packaged as a fun event. I overheard some people at Gnomedex last year saying that the event changed their lives!

Those who are signed up for this year’s event (Seattle, June 29 – July 1) just received this letter from Chris’s paramour and co-host, Ponzi.

Chris and I do listen to what you say. After Gnomedex last year, we heard that people continued the conversations from the conference center into dinner and cocktails at various local establishments. We decided (right then and there) we would try to incorporate that into Gnomedex 6.0 . This year, we have been working our fannies off for the networking parties!Thursday night, like last year, we are having early registration and a mixer at the Odyssey Maritime museum. There will be cocktails and food. It’s a chance to see where the conference center is and get to know the other attendees before Gnomedex gets into full swing.

Friday, we are having a party at The Museum of Flight – in The personal Courage Wing. Could there be a better spot to have conversations about technology, innovation, and talk of what is to come on Saturday’s event? The Personal Courage Wing will put us in the midst of personal stories of the innovative thinkers from the past. Poetically, this is perfect because that’s who the Gnomedex attendee is – an innovative thinker for tomorrow (living today). We are still in need of sponsorship for this party – as no company has yet stepped up to the plate to help make this happen (so we’re having to fund this night out of our own pocket).

Saturday, the party is at The Experience Music Project and The Science Fiction Museum . And my personal favorite treat – Doubletake – an art exhibit, on display at EMP. Here’s an excerpt of their discription. “These pairings include Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works from masters such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Dégas and Vincent van Gogh with modern and contemporary works from such artists as Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein. We believe that these comparisons will give Impressionism a new context for modern audiences, resurrecting the power of the artists’ rebellious intent. ” In case you didn’t know, Gnomedexers are the avant-garde.

Last year, we were no less than “the lunatic fringe.” From my standpoint, Gnomedexers are free thinkers – artists who use technology as their brush with the Internet as their canvas – Woodstock, geek-style. Don’t underestimate this group’s intellectual powers or their business prowess.

At Gnomedex 4.0, there were conversations about a new technology called “podcasting” and debate surrounding RSS and its debut to the mainstream world. Look at the attendee list from 4.0 and the businesses that grew from those names.

At Gnomedex 5.0. some of last year’s new technology was ready to go mainstream – and Microsoft announced implementing RSS in IE. Adam Curry talked about taking our media back and has since taken mainstream media by storm with Podshow and his many new ventures that are changing traditional advertising. Dave Winer and Steve Gilmor are always at the front of the tech curve, too – as has been the case with Attention and OPML.

Bottom line, people: When Gnomedexers talk you’d be wise to listen; when they debate, you’d be wise to record it and listen twice; and if you are lucky enough to be in the same room with them… hey, you just bought a seat at the Algonquin Round Table, now – didn’t you? Only a few more main hall seats are left – and Cove passes will soon be available at the same price, so don’t hesitate a moment longer.

Conference, breakfast, lunch, parties, vino, cerveza, chance to hob-nob with top new media pros and blogorati: $499. And full of surprises to boot. There are a handful of tickets remaining. Join in. This is the way it’s supposed to be.

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