Notice the marmite……
Jeff Jarvis dropped over for breakfast yesterday.
Somewhere between Dubai and Davos, he carved out an hour for a few slices of Sullivan Street Bakery sesame bread and white fish salad.
He came over to talk about DNA2009.
Like Jeff, I attend many conferences. (I can’t turn down an audience). But one of the greatest flaws I see at a lot of conferences are that once you assemble the great and the good, no one really knows what to do with them. There is the ‘let’s give a speech’ route. You sit, a famous person we have paid 100k will recite a talk that someone else has written for them, and then we’ll have coffee. Not great.
Then there is the ‘let’s pretend we’re in a TV studio’ route. A well-known TV presenter who has little or no knowlege of the topic at hand will carry out a mock Dick Cavett (for those old enough) type TV interview, – lights, swivel chairs, set – all that is lacking is the TV cameras..and the broadcast. The audience sits and watches this reinactment of a 1975 TV show and then thinks about what is wrong with TV…
Finally there is the much lamented Panel Discussion. Five or six luminaires on an industry are invited to offer their opinions on a few topics while 300 people watch them try and explain very complex issues in 2 minute soundbites. Also shows what is wrong with TV.
Well, it’s not easy.
The thing I like about Jarvis is he thinks out of the box all the time. This goes for his new book, What Would Google Do, which I shamelessly pimp here (my pre-order is already in); but also for conferences.
At his last conference at CUNY, he tried quite hard to break the mold. Lightning round, solve the problem, live webcasting with comments – he tried to get everyone involved.
So we’ve invited him to DNA (March 4-5, Brussels), where we’re going to try some new ideas on group involvement as opposed to sit and watch this stuff. I think it will make a big difference.
And, using my new flip cam (Jarvis was quick to note that he now has the HD version… so it’s back to B&H Photo as soon as I am done here), we got him to do a quick promo for us. (Well, it’s the least you can expect after bagels and ….. marmite?)