I still have Berlin on my mind – you can see why people stick around there. It does seem as though life is a whole lot simpler. I was struck immediately on my return to London by how loudly people speak on their mobiles and how our press is truly dominated by celebrity. Both these things were missing in Berlin, but I didn’t miss them.
I was glad that I got the chance between barcamp and the Web2.0 Expo to have a walk around the city and to meet up with some friends of friends who were nothing to do with the geek scene. You can’t get away from the fact that this is a city that had a pretty shit time through the 20th Century. Revolution, world war, hyper-inflation, fascism, another world war, occupation, division, cold-war shenanigans on both sides of the wall, reunification. Many parts do feel beaten-up, like why would you bother? But everywhere, the contrasts hit you. Sure there’s steel and glass McRegeneration including the Bundestag and all around Potsdamer Platz, but even within a few blocks you’re back in the middle of faceless, brooding, old grey stone and then suddenly an empty bomb-site or two and shiny post-war cubes for the glorious proletariat.
I heard lots of Germans at both events say that they’d live in Berlin, if they could make any money there. Yes, me too, I think. I’ll be back.
By the way, coincidentally but aptly, as well as seeing The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas just before going, I got to see a preview of Imagine This at the New London this week. It’s about the Warsaw Ghetto and manages to avoid being as crass as “Sophie’s Choice: The Musical” – in fact it’s very powerful and moving with a great central performance from Peter Polycarpou and some very hummable themes.
Just settling into the speakers lounge facilities – coffee, wifi and a wired connection.
Sadly it looks like I’ve got conjunctivitis in one eye, so I’m feeling sorry for myself and expecting great sympathy wherever I go.
More later… keep an eye on flickr & twitter.
I’m very honoured that Suw has asked me to contribute to her “panel” in Berlin on the tech gender gap (taking place on the Thursday afternoon).
Here’s the description:
“It is undeniably true that there aren’t enough women in tech, that women are not well represented at conferences, and often don’t get the promotions, rewards and acclaim they deserve. We also know that the issue of gender is not a simple one: there are complex societal and psychological pressures that influence how we all behave, men and women, and we’re not always clear on what drives us to do what we do. This participatory session will attempt to unpick some of the threads around gender and will aim to produce ideas for how we can collectively act to level the playing field.”
I have no opinion on the numbers of “women in tech” really – I don’t know enough about it at the sharp end, but I do know that I sit in many conferences listening to men (in suits) drone on, often about something that a bunch of other people have done. I find tuttle encouraging in terms of our gender mix – and there were plenty of women leading sessions at socialmediacamp last week.
But I’m also aware that these are just my perceptions and are subject to gender bias too, so I’m looking forward to exposing my views and experience to some debate and discussion that will hopefully lead to some action.
If you want to take part, of course you’ll be very welcome, but you’ll have to come along to the conference. Which means you’ll have to sign-up. And there’s no better way than to use the 35% discount code webeu08gr43 on the registration page.
I’m taking a forward look at the programme for Web2.0 and it’s getting tricky to decide what to go to and when.
I have to admit that last year, I went in and listened to some of the sessions, but the halls were so cavernous and while I knew many of the speakers (at least by reputation) there were few who I really wanted to hear.
It’s made me see how my conference going has evolved – when I went to Les Blogs for example, it was cool just to see people like Doc Searls in the flesh, let alone get to chat with them. I then went through a phase of seeing people so often and reading them too that everything I heard, I’d either heard in public before or I’d read on their blogs and filtered through several other interpretations. Now, I find that as there are more people to read and I have less time per person, I am back up for listening to them in a conference hall because it’s a luxury again to spend more time chewing over what they’re saying.
There are four simultaneous streams: Strategy & Business Models Design & User Experience Marketing & Community and Development. They’re all slammed together in one programme together with workshops and keynotes on this page.
The problem will be sorting out who to see when and when I’ll also get time to lounge around in the lobby and chat with folk…
If you haven’t booked for yourself yet – get on to it. And use this code webeu08gr43 for 35% off.
I’m planning to go back to Berlin in October for the Web2.0 Expo and since I’m going to be there, I thought I might as well also slip along to the Berlin Barcamp which is happening in the weekend before. Alles gut!
Last year when I was there, I was talking about some bonkers idea that I’d had – a “social media cafe” whatever that is. Of course, it’s now become a fixture of my week (as it has for several other esteemed buddies). It’s very encouraging to find that I can still seem to make something happen. I intend to talk about it a lot, both at the Barcamp and, as I did last year, during the Web2Open sessions around the Expo. I suppose I should have a think about what it is that I want to say.
If you’re thinking of coming to Web2.0 too, I can make it cheaper for you. I have a discount code by virtue of being part of the blogging outreach programme (you may well have seen others offering this already – I’ve been a bit slow getting down to blog – but mine is best, because, well, because it’s mine) You can get 35% off the price of the Expo by using the code webeu08gr43 in the Discount Code field of the registration page which you can get to from here