Considering that this little family get-together of Chris Pirillo’s is not held in a major media center, like New York or Los Angeles, or one of the convention Meccas, like Las Vegas, I was very impressed with the lineup of speakers he was able to get. On Friday, we were treated to Nelson Minar of Google talking about everything the search engine goes through in a fifth of a second. He was followed by Eric Sink, CEO of SourceGear (a provider of source control and collaboration tools for programmers), relating his experiences with using Microsoft’s .NET technology to build applications. He, however, is not a legend.
After lunch, Slashdot’s Rob Malda (CmdrTaco) spent an hour answering questions about the history of Slashdot and on the phenomena of being “slashdotted.” He was followed by a 90-minute commercial for Microsoft, as their Kevin Unangst showed off some new toys in the multimedia division. (I’m not saying it wasn’t cool, just the same.)
On Saturday morning, Chris gave his impassioned plea for RSS called, “The Death of E-mail Marketing.” It struck me as odd that such a talk would even be necessary, or that there would be people in the audience who didn’t know what blogging was, much less RSS. But I wound up talking to several people about it. Perhaps I need to get a job translating geek-speak to CEO-speak. Ick. Sounds like work. Forget that.
The rest of Saturday was taken up by the headliners: Jim Louderback of Ziff-Davis, who built a wicked cool little multimedia PC that could replace your DVD player and your TiVo, as well as give you a way to play your MP3 collection all over the house; Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly & Associates, who talked about open source and the changing face of application development; John C. Dvorak of PC Magazine, spending a little time predicting the future (and a lot of time trashing blogs and Mac users) and being hilarious; and Dan Gillmor, columnist for SiliconValley.com and the Mercury News, who gave an impassioned plea for stopping the RIAA and the MPAA before irreparable harm is done to our rights.
Now, add breakout sessions with Kyle Bennett, Micah Stroud on overclocking your PC, Corey Bridges from ZoneLabs, a 16-seat online gaming area, 4 XBoxes, and about 500 people with which to converse about all things tech, and you’ve got yerself a convention made in geek heaven.