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17

Feb

WARNING: Brain food inbound

It’s that time of year again.... And that certain sense of anticipation that prefaces the Webstock experience is upon us.

There are several dimensions to this... Firstly my general enthusiasm for another blast of web standards brain food... But also the excitement of being an event sponsor/exhibitor and the various logistical and creative challenges this engenders each year. Oh the pressure to be cool, hip and yellow in new and inventive ways!

I’m sure this all pales in comparison to the pressure Mike, Tash and co are under to deliver another mind-bending event of international calibre, but doubtless they will trump previous efforts again and make the whole thing look effortless and stress free...

And just thinking about it, even bettering the infamous “schwag” or t-shirt would be a challenge I wouldn’t necessarily want to embark on! As something of a notorious clothes horse, I’m equally notoriously difficult to please when it comes to conference branded freebies... And yet the Webstock 08 schwag is still in regular use, and amazingly, the t-shirt has been thrashed. For once a fitted shirt, not the usual box-cut conference sack! Who would have guessed that I’d be spotted in the small hours at various Welly nocturnal spots sporting a Webstock-emblazoned advertisement? High and unlikely praise indeed.

But this wasn’t supposed to be a rant about fashion (dear as this is to the author’s heart...)

So, why the excitement? I mean it’s not just me – my team is positively amped! Whilst Intergen has been involved every year since the event’s inception, members of the team of course may not, so their expectations are split between previous experience and folk lore driven anticipation. I go on and on about it because I think it rocks, but their take on it is a bit more egocentric.

Whilst it’s easy to trot out platitudes about learning opportunities and residual value, we are of course past the point of building cases for attendee budgets and on to the good stuff of “What’s actually in it for me?” And this is where Webstock positively shines. Without exception, our team of attendees immediately wax lyrical about being inspired, validating our direction, and even the general “vibe” of it (cue The Castle quote – “It's Mabo. It's the Constitution. It's the vibe.”).

And yes they are emphatic and unanimous in the genuine pre-event excitement. As Mark says, “You do actually get excited about it – unlike most other events.”

Also, from the point of view of direct benefit to our Intergen team, one of the privileges of our sponsorship role at Webstock is that we also get to drag our sponsored speaker back to the Wellington offices for a bit of a one-on-one session. Once again, in the spirit of Webstock, bringing an industry legend up close ‘n personal to a room of enthusiastic Intergenites is always an occasion to be savoured. Last year we had the undivided attention of Peter Morville (the father of Information Architecture), and this year the double act of Derek Powazek and Heather Champ, two absolute legends in the development and evolution (or should that be revolution?!) of social media and online community.

In fact as I write this, we are counting down the hours to putting Derek and Heather under the spotlight. We can’t wait!

It’s good to rub shoulders and exchange ideas with many of our industry peers we barely see one year to the next. It’s good to be exposed to international thought leaders right here in little ol’ New Zealand. It’s good that Communities is topic de jour. It’s great to get hyped. (umm... yes... good spotting - repetition inspired by Damian Conway)

Oh... And what are we doing on the Intergen stand this year? We’ve taken a bit of a relaxed spin on our sponsor presence this time around, but we’re pretty sure we’ll be making a solid contribution to the overall vibe. Let’s just say we promise a smooth experience that still proves we know how to catch the wave.

;o)

And Mike assures us Webstock’s almost a sellout again. I don’t doubt that for a minute. See you there.

(I’ll be the guy looking cool, hip and yellow...)

Posted by: Eamon O'Rourke | 17 February 2009

Tags: Webstock


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