When I said May 2007 is going to be the month of the widget perhaps I was over-stating the case.
But let’s face it, the fact is that in our attention-strapped times we’re all dependent to a degree on a bit of hype to get our notice.
As a very few of you might know, I have very definite views (for once!) about what it is that companies of Chinwag‘s ilk are doing (or aiming to do) for the industry. I’m not talking about notifications by RSS or any of the other delivery mechanisms or software apps for structuring and sharing information. No, that’s just the plumbing, and it’s on it way.
What I’m talking about is the purpose of what we do. To me it seems two-fold – firstly, to provide support and a vibrant community space for people working (at the broadest level) in the digital media and technology industries; secondly, to be a viable business. The two are interdependent.
The networked ecosystem
Other digital networks, communities and businesses exist and have similar purposes, though the details may vary; others still are run as side-projects for no immediate finacial gain; but IMHO (at least in theory) we share a common purpose – supporting success and understanding in this dynamic and innovative media/technology sphere.
So, if we’re to look at it from that meta-perspective, collaboration is surely the way forward. There are competing agendas, and there is competition from larger media companies. But there are also things we can do together that benefit all our respective communities and networks. Not everything we do will fall into this category, but sometimes it’s just obvious.
Events are a key element of this equation. When I saw that Paid Content were having their first mixer in London last October on the same night as both Swedish Beers Mobile Networking and Beers & Innovation 5 (both of which had already been announced and were looking busy) I contacted Paid Content publisher Rafat Ali to let him know. He hadn’t been aware of these events and in a reasonable (and gracious) move, shifted his to the next night. The night after that was the TechCrunch UK lanuch party. It was a busy week in London.
Acting together – for everyone’s benefit
Things have cranked up a gear since then eventwise and that’s a sign of our industry’s recovery so I’m not complaining. But I also feel that when we’re focusing on early-stage innovation it makes sense to support each other and join forces where possible and appropriate. It mightn’t work out perfectly every time, but if we collaborate intelligently we can all have successful events, and the industry as a whole can benefit and be advanced.
So I’m sad that Chinwag Live: PR Unspun this Tuesday 24th April clashes with mashup* Identity 2.0 (and not just because I’m very interested in the online identity issue and the work being done by the OpenID community). However, by the time I heard about it – a week after we announced the Chinwag event – it was too late for either party to change their arrangements.
But I’m very pleased to say that three events addressing the widgetisation phenomenon are taking a broader view and joining together for the world’s first Widget Week (14-22 May – disaggregated weeks last 9 days dontcha know ). And for just £43.50 you can partake of all of them [*]. Given the range and calibre of these events, that’s more than equal to some big conference, and hugely cheaper.
Widget Week 2007 calendar:
Mon 14th May – Mobile Monday: Mobile Widgets (MoMoLondon) – sign up here (focus – mobile tech and UI)
Wed 16th May – Chinwag Live: Media Widgetised (Chinwag) – info & bookings here (focus – media and marketing implications)
Tues 22nd May – Beers & Innovation 10: Widget Nation (NMK) – info & bookings here (focus – business models)
It might seem full-on to the weak-hearted (or the remote, but that’s excusable), but when is the UK going to get events on this topic happening again? Probably not for several months, at *least*. But the subject is rapidly evolving and potent. So to get a complete update of all issues widget-related, sample 2 or 3 of these events. I believe you won’t regret it.
“Next step is to keep the conversation persistent and create ‘aggregated conversations’ – which theoretically could bridge between different vendor’s conferences. So a discussion on DRM could start at the econSM network, get trashed by the end-users at Gnomedex, lauded by the copyright holders at Supernova, circumvented by big shots at Web 2.0 and end-up as a best hit at the Calacanis-Arrington show.
Connecting networks together takes on many guises and shapes and its gonna take ALL these different techniques to provide the open infrastructure we need to move forward – together.”
[Note: I wanted to get the developer side of the community involved too but it was just too short notice. I approached BBC Backstage but they're all tied up over at Xtech then (Backstage's Ian Forrester is doing a talk on 'Pipelines: Plumbing For The Next Web'). But if any developer group want to do something relevant in London that week in a free time/day slot - get in touch, we'd love to co-ordinate!]
My personal motivation for making this happen derives from my view that we’re best-placed to make this kind of thing work. Silicon Valley may be geek-heavy and VC-happy, New York is advertiser-central in the shape of Madison Avenue, Korea and Japan may be furthest ahead in consumer uptake of gadgetry, and China and India may simply have numbers to die for, but the UK is where the best of media and technology intersect.
Widget Week is the world’s first co-ordinated cluster of events on things widget-related. It’s not heart-stopping news for sure, but I hope it will be a catalyst for broader and better understanding.
[*] Mobile Mondays are free but have a massive, event-hungry audience on their mailing list and usually book up within 1-2 hours of announcing, so sign-up now to the MoMo London Yahoo Group if you want to be notified of when bookings open and have a chance of attending! There’s usually about 150-200 spaces available, but they get snapped up pronto).
[UPDATE: Chinwag Live Media Widgetised is also here on Upcoming]