And a grand time was had by all. Here are Peggy’s top three reasons why she loved Northern Voice 2010.
Reason Number 1) The Incredible Job Done by Volunteers
Anybody who can wrangle a team of hardworking people like this deserves double applause. I met only a couple of the volunteers, including the friendly and clever Travis Smith, and the thoughtful and well-spoken Lauren Wood. This is still a shockingly small group for the amount of work that they all do to get this ball rolling. The conference was well-organized, and with only a couple of hiccups (need larger/more visible signage and bigger rooms and bigger shirt sizes), any disasters that may have happened behind the scenes were totally invisible to speakers and attendees. Venue worked pretty well, and parking was great. All sessions were recorded to view online later. Everyone appeared relaxed and the tone was really laid-back. Nice job.
Reason Number 2) Darren Barefoot
Darren, one of the organizers of the conference, and one of those hip next-gen marketing dudes, is *the best* panel moderator, EVAH. When’s he writing another book, huh? Huh? (When he does, he’s absolutely got to include his definition of a question - funny, clear, and it set the tone for all the sessions.)
Reason Number 3) Focus on Personal Blogging
All of the other conferences I go to are heavily focused on marketing, even Blog World Expo, where delegates are often business bloggers, or at least, very clear about wanting to make money from their blogs, which is pretty darn difficile. This conference’s focus on personal blogging was so refreshing. Being unashamed to focus on content, the very soul and driver of blogging in the first place, reminded me of what is really important. If you shift focus to think of blogging as a business, you run a serious risk of shooting yourself in the foot. Canadian content flourishes here, independent, true north strong and free. Breathe slowly.
Other great things about the conference;
- great food
- sessions all ended and started on time (mostly)
- schedule/map and orientation documents each morning
- the orange t-shirts were sexy in the extreme
- all the sessions were recorded on video for future archive and playback
- the opening night bowling party was uber-classy
- alternative track of MooseCamp worked really well, and I got to hear some bonus speakers like Rob Cottingham
- nice job getting sponsors
- graphic material such as stickers, pencils and buttons were very shi-shi
- wifi was easily available and held up remarkably well considering the volume of usage by all us geeks and geekettes
Of the minor improvements that could be made, bigger rooms would have made the greatest difference. I felt bad for all the people squatting and sitting on floors to hear a great speaker. I was one of them at one point, and although it worked fine for me, I realize that this is not the case for all. The venue of the Life Sciences building was still very lovely, and the auditoriums didn’t seem to have a problem accommodating any of the sessions. However, being able to book sessions in advance might help plan for the use of larger rooms for higher-demand topics. This would be an uncommon approach, but I can’t see how else you could manage the numbers. Perhaps one of them could be large enough to accomodate the keynote, as the echo chamber / atriums were less than optimum for this purpose.
I’m really looking forward to returning next year. Thanks to all who attended our talk “Flog Your Blog” on Saturday afternoon, about turning your blog into a book. It’s impossible to teach someone how to create a book out of their blog in just 45 minutes, but I think we scratched an itch for a few people, judging by the emails I’ve received this week. We had such a great time!
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