reboot 9.0 – how I saw it!

First of all, I must say I’ve been trying to get to reboot for the last 3 years. Two years ago, I was waiting for my Irish visa, eager to start working again after having spent 3 months in Romania. Last year in June, I was deeply immersed in my field studies and I couldn’t leave for a single day: “my” team was getting close to their first release!

Before saying anything about the talks and the people at reboot 9, I want to share a few things about the organisation of the event. I wish I’d see more such events happening! I have no clue how Thomas and his pals managed all this, but I was deeply impressed! We’re organising a conference ourselves here, and I learned a lot during those two days in Copenhagen!

What impressed me most:

  • the venue – the old Kedelhalle turned into a modern conference center – the 3 rooms(especially the big one), the lobby, the terrace and the surrounding lawn- was perfect for allowing people to move from one talk to another, or to take a break(see note by Peter Rukavina on Jaiku!), speak to someone interesting and relax for a few minutes. The smaller rooms were somehow less inviting, but most of the times people found alternatives (like having the workshop out on the lawn!) ;
  • the double-sided name tags, having the names written with large fonts;(finally, reading name tags proved useful for finding people)
  • the reboot notebook, specially designed for meaningful notes;-)
  • the free reboot t-shirts, and the free customisation service provided;
  • power plugs available and wi fi coverage (most of the time);
  • the hacker space in the lobby;
  • the virtual reboot spaces: the continuously emerging conference web site, Copenhagen on Plazes, the Jaiku channel;
  • the big screens in the lobby and in the big conference hall, mainly displaying what was happening on the Jaiku channel;
  • the reboot chairs outside on the lawn;
  • the conference programme posted on a wall at the entrance, with comments and notes;
  • a baby sitting space in the basement; a baby-friendly atmosphere that made the conference much more “human”- without any question mark!;
  • free coffee, tee, fruits and pastry available all day long;
  • free lunches (ok, no vegetarian meals, but the raw carrots and fruits provided allowed me to survive; Geoff Jones and Euan Semple found a Mexican restaurant nearby, but I never managed to hook up with them);
  • a bar with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks – beer was by far the most popular!
  • an impressive gala dinner organised in the very conference hall, with candle-light, video productions and exquisite food;
  • the Nintendo wii in the lobby
  • the do-it-yourself groups for dinner in the second evening; although I found it an excellent idea, the group I joined didn’t realise there was no reservation made, and we had to handle that ourselves. We ended up having dinner in three, instead of the group of 15 who signed up for that particular Thai restaurant!;
  • the reboot after party – free entrance.

Speaking to someone during the break, I remember expressing my surprise about how “normal” this conference was. Most of the conferences we go to are artificial environments where you struggle to learn the rules and play by them. This time, I felt at home from the very first minute, and there was food for mind, soul and …stomach altogether:-)

A Swedish friend who hosted me the night before reboot asked me about the conference site and checked it to get an impression. His reaction surprised me: “How do you find all these ‘New Age’-y things?!”
How did he come to this conclusion? The topic – “Human?” The social networking site appearance of the web site? I have no clue. But there definitely is a sort of counterculture. Are we the new hippy generation – now tentatively called “digital bohemians”?!

All these unconferences are an opportunity to meet like minded people and talk about things that matter. reboot’s system of values (scheduling the talks participants showed most interest in) is not very common. Most of the conferences count on reviewers. Nobody comes to reboot looking for ready made solutions, immediately applicable in their practice. People go there for having their minds rebooted. Listening to out-of-the-box ideas. Bumping into interesting people. Having their own ideas challenged.

June 17 2007 07:50 am | reboot9 conference copenhagen

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