Blimey. Interesting Vancouver is on Friday (the 24th) and the line-up of speakers looks both brill and ace. I'd love to go to that. Lovely looking venue as well. That's going to be fun. Some tickets still available - here.
And Emily's having an inaugural planning meeting for Interesting Portland on the 23rd at 8am, at Umbria in The Pearl. She'll then have the distinction of having organised Interestings in two different hemispheres. She's the keeper of the Interesting Flame.
In other Interesting news, there is now an Interesting event not organised by we of the OIA (though I think Emily's been helping out a bit) ; it's Interesting Vancouver, and you can get tickets here. It's fascinating to see Interesting settle into Vancouver's thriving unconference scene, because I don't really think of it as anything as radical as an unconference, just a regular conference, but good. And it's great to see Brett deduce an Interesting philosophy from the traces we've left behind. I'm glad we never wrote any sort of 'Interesting manifesto', it's much, much better when people just work something out themselves.
I've been thinking for ages that what we should do next with Interesting is Interesting Science; something that takes the goodness of the format and finds a way to inspire people about science, maybe, ideally, children-type people.
And then, this evening, I heard two bits of Radio Lab that really, really made me want to do that. The first is an interview / chat with Brian Greene about Big Physics, which delivers great big old-fashioned science-fictional sense o' wonder about real science fact. Robert Krulwich, the interviewer, does a fantastic job at drawing out great story-telling about incredibly complex stuff. The MP3 is here.
And then, the next thing up in the podcast stream was Krulwich's commencement address at Caltech, which is a brilliant exhortation to scientists to engage with the world through telling stories about what they do. About not ceding societal influence to people who are better at narrative but less good at, well, science. The MP3 for this is here. Really good stuff.
Must do something about Interesting Science.
I reckon I've had two decent ideas on this blog.
The first was a bit advertising focused. It was the advice, somewhere on a YouTube video, that if you really wanted to influence creative people you had to surrender credit for your ideas. To get your ideas into the process you have to convince the creatives they were their ideas. Not a big thought in the scheme of things but decent advice for a junior planner. And then, the other day, re-reading Jon Steel's Truth, Lies And Advertising, I realised that he gives precisely that advice. That must be where I got it from. (I guess me assuming it was my idea is testament to his skill as a planner.)
The second was the central point to the most popular post I've ever done - How To Be Interesting - which seemed to be taken a lot more seriously than I'd intended.
It was the idea that 'the best way to be interesting is to be interested'. I thought that was pretty smart. Then, this weekend, I was leafing through Paul Arden's It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be, at the checkout at Borders, and I realised that it's right in there, big and bold as a very big, very bold thing. I don't think I've ever bought a copy of it but it's definitely my favourite book for leafing through in Borders. I feel like I should get a copy now, since I've obviously, unconsciously, purloined it wholesale.
I don't really have a point to make. Other than that originality is hard. Certainly harder that I thought. And to apologise for the thievery. And to fess up since that Interesting post seems to be getting popular again.
Big thanks for all the conference suggestions; via the blog, email and stopping me in the street. Here's a rough list of the ones that I'm liking the look of so far. I can't possibly go to all of these but I like thinking that I might. And I'm hoping some other, more random choices will poke their way in too.
The first one doesn't even have a date or a venue yet, but it's a fantastic idea, so whenever and wherever it is I'll be there: geeKyoto. And I'm very keen on these two science festivals - Liverpool in September and Cheltenham in June. Then everyone's been so enthusiastic about ReBoot, that seems a must. And there's been equal enthusiasm for LIFT, so maybe that'll replace ETech. I guess I have to decide that quite quickly, might already be too late. And all that's not cheap. And not forgetting dConstruct.
Mostly based on the website Port Eliot seems the most appealing literary thing so far, though there are no details for 2008. (It was in July in 2007. UPDATE: It seems it won't be happening in 2008. Shame.) I'm also hoping that London Lit Plus will happen again because that looked fantastic last time and I didn't get to go to any of it.
I think the Liverpool Biennial has to go on the list (September). I went to see Bill Drummond talk at Tate Liverpool at the end of the summer and he foreshadowed the biennial rather nicely. Be good to follow through. And I saw about the Asian Art Triennial in Manchester in April (on Chris's handy list of biennials). That looks interesting, since I'm unlikely to get to Asia at any point next year. I'm also intrigued to see what a Bucharest Biennial would be like, since the Romanians do everthing else with such aplomb. (May-June). Lauren's also persuading me to think about Ars Electronica too. (Especially since they invited me to enter 'coffee morning' in the competition this year.) It's in September though. Everything seems to be in September.
The delicious specificity of this chocolate festival has much to recommend it, but I'm not sure I like chocolate that much. The Abergavenny Food Festival seems more like it. It's a fantastic part of the world, and I was told today of a man who makes gourmet and experimental scotch eggs who exhibits there, so I must go. (It's also September, hmmm, September might be busy.)
I think Futuresonic has to go on the list (May, Manchester). And I suspect I'd enjoy Museums And The Web but it might be a bit far for me. TeachMeet (January 11, London, eek!) looks good too. I'll sign up for that. (I think I might go to BETT anyway, for the C4 stuff.)
All of which suggests that I could maybe give the big, structured things a miss (the TEDs, Poptechs, IdeaCities). Not that I could afford them. I think I'll have more fun cobbling a more random schedule together myself.
Which brings me to my final beg - can anyone suggest anything more random and unexpected? I'd like to peek inside other worlds and industries. Spread my wings a bit further afield. And that's hard stuff to google for if you don't even know where to start. I liked Bobbie's suggestion of the conference for the funfair/attractions industry in Orlando but I think I'd find it hard to justify the distance/frivolity ratio.
Is there anything else out there? Does anyone have any hobbies that would yield an interesting conference? Angling? Whittling? It's hard to ask for because I don't know what I'm after. But something, you know, different. Otherwise I might resort to random trade publications. Anyway, thanks for your indulgence and suggestions. Keep em coming.
I want to go to some conferences next year. Conferences about things I don't know anything about, so I can hear new stuff. With the weakness of the dollar and a few left-over corporate airmiles I can probably afford one trip to the US and one mainland Europe trip. I'm not one for chatting in the foyer much, not very good at that. So I don't want a conference that's good for networking, I want one that's good for sitting in a chair and listening to people talking.
I'm thinking I'd like to go to a proper tech conference (not a marketing and technology conference). And I was thinking about ETech because it looks like it'll be about the future, not the internet. But I'd love advice on other possibilities. ReBoot always looks brilliant too. Or Lift?
I'd like to go to a proper art thing. Not an art shopping event like Frieze but something properly long and impenetrable. Like a biennial or something? Does anyone know about those?
And I want to go to a literary festival. The only one I know of is Hay, but is that too obvious? Is that like going to Reading?
After that I'm very open to suggestions. A design thing? Architecture? Postopolis would be great if it happens again. What did anyone think of Poptech? I can't afford TED again but I loved its range of speakers. Is there a cheap TED? (apart from Interesting). Games? Logistics? Model railways? Printing? I'd be up for any of those.
And I'm very keen to supplement the big things (tech, art, books) with some more unexpected things - golf course design, chicken-sexing etc so if anyone has any thoughts there that'd be good.
Sorry, this is a bit lazyweb isn't it? But I thought it might be a useful conversation for other people too. If anyone has any thoughts. Many thanks.
Adil at Amnesty asked me to stick this up. Anyone who might be able to help please get in touch with him.
"Amnesty International are looking for some digital-webby-developers-companies-geeks to help them "do something about the kidnapping, torture, secret camps, locking people up without trial or charge and general abuse our lovely government has been busying itself with as part of an apparent war on terror". It won't make you rich but it might make the world a tiny bit of a better place. They're looking especially for people who can develop social software and other clever web 2.0 thingy-me-bobs. contact adil.abrar at amnesty.org.uk for more."
But what if everyone thought that? then it wouldn't get blogged at all.
So I wonder if there could be an event so big that no-one would write about it.
There's a similar logic in there to that Yogi Berra saying "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded.". My only iPhone thought; what will go in that space on the bottom right? Or are they leaving it empty because of, you know, design.