Webstock 2009 Lineup Announced

September 10, 2008 – 11:59 am

I’m speaking at Webstock 2009 and really looking forward to it. What an amazing lineup of talent they have! I’ve been privileged to meet many of these folks before, and I’m honoured and intimidated to be in their ranks. I can safely say that New Zealand has never had such an incredible collection of technology people in one place before. Off the top of my head, here are three brilliant people on their list:

  • Jane McGonigal: she creates Alternate Reality Games (ARGs), games that add a fictional layer to the real world. The Wellington team won records in her most recent game, The Lost Ring, that was run in the lead-up to the Olympics. How many people can say that they were flown to Beijing so people could play HER game during the Olympics? Jane can. She’s currently working on games about the future for the Institute For The Future. I’m hoping to learn from her how to bring the addictiveness and excitement of games to my own endeavours.
  • Matt Jones: Matt was part of the amazing team at the BBC before he was director of User Experience at Nokia. Nobody can shake your thinking about design, about the value and role of technology in your life, and the possible futures of mobile and web technology, like Matt can. He’s founder and “Chief Pretty Officer” for Dopplr. (Dopplr’s CTO, Matt Biddulph, is also speaking at Webstock, returning for his second New Zealand visit—his first was to the inaugural Kiwi Foo Camp). I want to learn what makes Dopplr so frigging good—how does he think about it, what techniques does he use? so I can make my own web sites better for their users.
  • Bruce Sterling: most people know Bruce as a science fiction writer, one of the founders and leaders of the Cyberpunk movement. Fewer know that he’s an absolutely incredible speaker and thinker about the (non-fictional) future. For example, check out his address to the Library Information Technology Association. Isn’t this prescient?

    What’s information really about? It seems to me there’s something direly wrong with the “Information Economy.” It’s not about data, it’s about attention. In a few years you may be able to carry the Library of Congress around in your hip pocket. So? You’re never gonna read the Library of Congress. You’ll die long before you access one tenth of one percent of it. What’s important — increasingly important — is the process by which you figure out what to look at. This is the beginning of the real and true economics of information. Not who owns the books, who prints the books, who has the holdings. The crux here is access, not holdings. And not even access itself, but the signposts that tell you what to access — what to pay attention to. In the Information Economy everything is plentiful — except attention.

    Guess when that was written? 2000? 1998? Wrong. 1992. The whole essay is full of wow moments, as is every minute of conversation with Bruce. I think he’s going to be my own personal highlight. I want his take on the future mobile embedded web, his work on “Spimes”, thinking about how to hide complexity and simplify design when we’re building a world where every object is networked, intelligent, and useful.

And that’s not even mentioning: Derek and Heather, beyond whose halo of Flickr/web goodness lies an amazing vision of transforming and democratising print magazines; Annalee, whose insight into privacy is only matched by her intelligence in communication; Adrian, who has simultaneously cemented Python’s place at the forefront of the web and reinvented newspapers and journalism for the digital age; and ZE FUCKING FRANK holy shit Ze Frank is coming to New Zealand!

Sorry, lost control of myself there. See you in Wellington Feb 16-20 2009. This is gonna rock!

  1. One Response to “Webstock 2009 Lineup Announced”

  2. My god am I jealous. That sounds amazing.

    By jesse on Sep 11, 2008

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