Over the past many years I’ve developed a distaste for attending most conferences. While I love the camaraderie and exchange with colleagues and being privy to some cool and new companies – I have a deep cynicism for the conference “process”. Conferences often seem to be the purview of self-promoters (who apparently have time to speak at conferences but don’t have the time to get their product to market, and to profitability). As entrepreneur-turned-VC Mark Suster says Be Careful not to Become a Conference Ho. I couldn’t agree more.
That being said, I have pang of regret for not attending LeWeb’11 – though traveling (airports, hotels, parking etc) is something I am happy to have reduced in my life. But LeWeb seemed like one of those conferences that had the great combination of thought-leaders, new ideas/up-and-comer entrepreneurs, cutting edge products and a crowd I would have liked to have mingled.
These days I get a good deal of value from viewing live videocasts (or captured video), presentation and reading the blog commentary after-the-fact. But it’s sort of like reading the screenplay for “The Godfather” instead of watching the movie with friends. You get the core story – but not the nuances and certainly not the social experience. When someone does an impression of Don Corleone’s “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse” you’re really just an outsider if you’ve only read the screenplay.
This morning I stumbled upon an interesting new way to get a different perspective on conferences: The concept it called Live Sketching. It’s sort of a cross between those old court room sketches, twitter and those Common Craft “in plain English” videos.
Here’s the Live Sketch of the 3 day LeWeb11 conference. It really does give a different perspective and ‘texture’ to the conference, different than watching video or reading blogs.