Markets are Conversations [with Doc Searls]: Reboot Day Two

It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday, so I did the bellacommute into reboot on my borrowed bicycle. I’m getting a little better at traffic management, and in figuring out how to get on and off the bike without falling (it has a child seat on the back, so the standard “swing leg over” technique doesn’t work).

One thing I didn’t anticipate is that bicycling takes energy. Not huge amounts of energy. But it’s a good idea to at least have breakfast before you head out. I didn’t, and so halfway there I entered a sort of higher level of dizzy consciousness. When I arrived at the Kedelhallen I think I must have looked like I was having a heart attack, as I received several “he looks like he’s having a heart attack” stares from my peers.

The highlights of day two of the conference for me included:

  • Maya Lotan’s demo of urbanseeder, an online flirting service: it was nice to see someone thinking about bringing mistakes and happenstance and chance into the digital realm.
  • Rasmus Fleischer’s presentation on The Grey Commons; it was refreshing to hear an intelligent, thoughtful take on media piracy.
  • Jyri Engeström’s talk, titled Blind Men’s Baseball, where he talked about bringing the kind of presence tools we have on the web into mobile devices to add a sort of “peripheral vision” to the mobile experience.
  • Imity. I’m not completely sure what it is or how it works, but it was pretty cool.
  • Chris Heathcote’s demo of Apache running on a Series 60 mobile phone (next step: install it on my Nokia N70).
  • The aforementioned 20 x 20 presentation — biggest thrill I’ve had in a long time, both to give and to watch. Got a lot of good feedback after too.
  • Having dinner with Ali Pasha and Frank Westphal and Olle and getting to participate in a real Conversation of Programmers about Programming, something completely new for me.
  • RUST. I’m not sure whether I was technically “clubbing” or not, and it only took about an hour for the smoke and the noise to make me lose my voice and my game, but it was fun. (Note to Europe: you do know that smoking is bad for your health, don’t you?)
  • Getting a demo of XShare from Sourabh Sharma in the middle of RUST. Anyone who can sell me on the virtues of their product when I can’t hear what they’re sating is a born salesman.
  • Learning how to exchange business cards via Bluetooth from Henriette.
  • Riding home on the bicycle at midnight in the drizzle after it was all over.

Reboot 8.0 was about “renaissance” and I think my experience of the conference was more about the verb of that than the noun: I missed most of the scene-setting theoretical talk, and instead enjoyed a lot of demo by doers. In the end, I had lots of fun, renewed some good ties from last year and made some new ones, and know in my heart I’ll be back for 9.0.