Interesting thing on the way to the Unconference! Besides the obvious problems with the highway going to Toronto, Ontario; and the fact that a one hour commute in this day is an average of 2 hours now, I had absolutely NO idea what to expect. I don’t work well with the unknown (yet my career would say otherwise) and I like to have some idea what I am to expect—> I forgot cardinal rule #1- Expect the Unexpected; and there are NO RULES.
Now that’s not to say I was going in completely blind (yes); but there had been conversations over the talent which would be leading tracks; and the talent that arrived were amazing. Here were people I traditionally only talk with on the internet, except now we were in the same room, for the same purpose—> To exchange awesome ideas and conversation about our industry; where we are and more importantly where we are going. As an added bonus for the organizers, other highly respected community members came to sit in on the sessions, with no agenda other than that of learning.
Contrary to what some people may have thought about the Unconference movement, There are be no sales pitches, and ego’s were all left at the door. Whether you are new to the industry or had been working a desk for many years, all are welcome in the name of education (and fellow-ship). 3 sessions were going on at any one time, and people got to choose which track to follow, or to move back and forth between the rooms. No one had a bad opinion to offer, and no thought was too far out there to be considered for topic conversation. As time progressed and the crowd were into the sessions, war stories were shared, “how could I have handled this better” was put on the table and experiences were shared.
At the end of day 1, a tweet-up was held, and all the attendants from out of town were shown some of Toronto’s night spots for an evening of drink, food, shots and poutine (aka cheesy,gravy-fries). The last is a French-Canadian special, think chili-fries, except with cheese and gravy. Strangers became new friends and new friends became old friends; after all we had an interesting connection of all plying our trade in various corners of this industry, and sharing a camaraderie that few could understand.
Day 2 was absolutely fantastic, as everyone came prepared with their questions, comments and challenges for the leaders. We had a couple of free for all sessions that involved the entire group, and more discussions ranging from Social Media and its place here, to Tracking SEO, to what we feel today, that the future will look like tomorrow. All in all, much information changed hands from my perspective in only 48 hours; and I can say with no hesitation, that it will only get better from here.
Anyone interested in seeing the conversations as captured by twitter are invited to Hashcaster.com/ #radicalplanet and follow the discussion as we work towards a better unconference next year.
This event was truly..Something to Think About.