It was a while ago now, but I’ve got a few notes left over from a couple of panels I went to and I may as well dump them here in a single post – you never know what someone else will find useful, so here they are:
Regional Whuffie – Attracting Innovation
Or ‘the co-working panel’. Truth be told, ‘awesome fatigue’ had taken hold around this point and so, although the panelists were all interesting people doing interesting things, the excessive chuminess and back-slapping was a little hard to stomach.
It’s a problem that marred many of the panels – a lack of incisive questioning which glossed over the troubles, mistakes and difficulties to allow much less useful evangelism/self-promotion.
To spin the self-promotion more positively, this panel saw some interesting case-studies including The Runway Project and ArtCamp.
On the question of how to fund a coworking space, the advice was to not think of it as a business but to do the minimum necessary at any time. Focus on improving community and the city as a whole. The space will follow.
The other piece of advice was to adopt successful international projects such as Pecha Kucha nights, Ignite or 20×2.
How LA Built a Successful Tech Community
The worst panel I attended but the fascinating awfulness of it all left me rooted to my chair. Apparently LA’s scene is a humble one, living in the shadow of LA’s entertainment industry and the San Francisco scene. I didn’t see a lot of humility though.
Half the room were LA residents and things never really lifted above being an insular love-in/bitching session.
The lessons, such as there were any, were to self-promote and to promote others around you. Actually, this is probably worth bearing in mind – there’s been plenty of good stuff happening in Birmingham but information about this rarely gets outside the bubble. The social media surgeries, for example, tend to generate a few blog posts where people say what a good thing they are and those posts are read by others who attended. What about writing a press release and sending it to a newspaper/some council officers/charity workers instead?