A reboot review – Reboot 9.0 in Denmark

Reboot is worth going to. Definitely. Totally. Loved the attitude and the atmosphere. Very family orientated with the creche and everything. A massively packed menu of most highly entertaining talks. The organisers should be rewarded with a special nerd medal made out of circuitboard or something.

I did however think it was hard to network with people because there were too many talks on all the time and there were too many people to get to know them or a subset in the two days. More networking please. The heat in the venue was a killer. I was burning up at most talks. Most talks ran to time or ran-over. Seriously, some speakers thought they could get through their 45 slides in their alloted time. Next time have them present for 20mins and have the rest of the time for questions. When people don’t ask questions, the organisers should ask a few themselves and you’ll find the audience then will ask. The lack of Q&A was very disappointing. Even with these issues, it was one of the best events I have been at and I will go again but this time I might not go to any talks but instead try and meet and talk to as many people as we can. There are some amazing brought minds at Reboot and I’d love to make friends with some of them.

In order, I’ll review the talks I was at:

Trusted Space – Nature’s Rules by Robert Patterson.
Now looking over this, I can only remember short clips of the talk. Jesus. I blame the lack of sleep the night before. Slightly academic but a fascinating subject. Slides are here. Go download them.

While We Wait For The Babel Fish by Stephanie Booth.
Brilliant talk and a talk that every web app and website builder should go to if it is touring their local area. Lots of “oh yeah” moments in the talk.

The Politics of Web 2.0 and the contradictions of a sharing economy by Michel Bauwens.
Michel Bauwens’ talk was great. He’s a good speaker and his topic was very engaging. By P2P he does NOT mean file sharing. This is the blurb:

“Peer to peer gives rise to the emergence of peer production (the ability to produce in common outside the state or the corporation), peer governance (the new ways of managing such efforts), and peer property (the new ways of protecting the resulting commons from private appropriation).”

I hope the presentation is available somewhere. It’s one of those kind of talks where you get excited that maybe we can change the world and make it better.

Meanwhile, watch this video:

How does humans predict the future? by Jesper Krogstrup.
This was all about prediction markets and how to basically create a gambling system inside a company to better predict the success or on-time completion of projects. Seems Microsoft used the system to see would they release a game in time and Google are also using it to spot good ideas. Fantastic talk, would love to have heard more about this whole topic. He mentioned HP might be bringing out a tool for this kind of stuff. Again, would love to get hold of the slides.

Happiness by Alexander Kjerulf
This went nowhere. When challenged on the idea, I don’t think the points raised were listened to. Smiling does not answer a question. I agree it is good to be happy but the fundamental argument behind this is that we do things to be happy. Uh, I think there is something more than that to it. There are reasons we want to reach the state of happy that have better reasons that just to be happy. The facts did not add up in the presentation. The happiest countries also happen to be the ones who seem more about consumerism yet the argument was that consumerism is bad and makes us unhappy. Alexander’s blog looks good. He seems like the Guy Kawasaki of Happiness with lots of posts with lists and how-tos. I’ll prob sub to his blog for a while as there does seem to be valid stuff on it but I thought the talk didn’t go anywhere.

Travel and serendipity by Matt Jones
Did anyone else think this was just a glorified sales pitch for Dopplr? I really saw nothing more than a demo of this product. This is a shame as I was looking forward to the talk and thought it soured the talk and my impression of the very good service that is Dopplr. Half of a very large audience also were users so it seemed like a preaching to the converted. Matt Jones is still a legend though. Check out his blog and Dopplr. Slides of the talk here.

Improvement > Change
This was shit. It made no sense. Good soundbites, no substance, no data, no empirical evidence. Presented by the guy that classes himself as an “idea captain”.

Citizens of the future by Ewan McIntosh
I want every teacher in the country, every civil servant in the Department of Education and every politician to be at a Ewan McIntosh talk. So many Rebooters have ideas and gave talks on how to make the world better but I liked Ewan’s talk the best because it was practicle, easy to implement and had the data to show how one can change a generation through education. We’re going to have to bring him over here soon and get him recognition. I’ll be sending his presentation out to some journalists I know to see can he get some recognition here. Seaghan Moriarty has been trying to do something along these lines here in Ireland.

Dave Winer’s conversation was so so. I left half-way through as the room was so warm and beer was calling me.

Jesus Christ. All theory. All academic. Useless unless you were a philosophy student. And then there was…

The Ethical Economy: A New Humanism?
20 minutes of rapid fire, no interaction academic talk. Shit. Some guy asked two questions afterwards asking how can one measure ethics and stuff like that. He avoided the questions. Yeah great, making a company and the world more ethical is good but HOW do you do it? Gah.

Thank god the conference ended on two very good talks:

Lessons from a social entrepreneur by John Buckman
This could have been a sales pitch for Magnatune or Bookmooch and yet it was not. Slides of talk here. A good talk on using Free Culture and the Creative Commons can make you money and make content producers money. John was not smoking dope, did not have long hair, was not wearing sandals or wearing a tie-dye t-shirt. See, you don’t need to be a hippy for this stuff. A good wind-down talk and very inspiring. I love this whole para:

Offend people’s pride to motivate them to action: BookMooch’s 1st-pass machine translations of the site from English to 7 other languages produced translations that I knew would be offensive to native speakers, and the wiki-style correction mechanism allowed them to express their offense by correcting it. But, if I hadn’t done the machine translation and mangled their language, very few people would have bothered to translate the site from English to their language.

The last talk of Reboot was well worth waiting for.

Products are people too by Matt Webb.
Another one of those “Oh yeah” type talks. He talked the sense. A lot. Blurb:

“Design can be easier when we acknowledge that products share our homes and malls, and have wants and lives of their own.”

I hope we get to see the slides soon. Mr. Webb I think is a genius and a very effective communicator. Reboot ended on a nice happy high as a result of this talk.

All in all I enjoyed most talks but there were so many I wanted to see but they clashed with the talks I was at. All were videoed so I hope I get to see the ones I missed and revisit the ones I saw. I also have a whole heap more blogs to subscribe to.

7 Responses to “A reboot review – Reboot 9.0 in Denmark”

  1. Matt says:

    Hi Damien – sorry for the sales pitch/preaching to the converted. I was taken-aback when I saw how many of the audience were already Dopplr users. Ah well, teaches me I should have done some audience research! I’m disappointed the talk disappointed, but glad you think the service is interesting anyway. Cheers, and glad you had a good time at Reboot.

  2. Damien says:

    Yeah, heh, I noticed your “Woah” echoed mine. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Emmet says:

    Nice report Damien… refreshingly honest!

  4. […] Review by a blogger: How does humans predict the future? by Jesper Krogstrup. […]

  5. mattw says:

    Thanks for the kind words! I’ve put the slides and my notes online: http://schulzeandwebb.com/2007/people/

  6. Damien says:

    Nice one. Very stylish presentation.

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