The Office 2.0 conference has a reputation as being somewhat eccentric. This time around they organized the entire conference in very short order and I suspect that it hurt the quality a bit.
But first the good stuff…
Wireless access was the best of any conference I’ve attended. The infrastructure was provided by swisscom and while I don’t know what they were like to work with as a vendor, I do think that if this was indicative of their performance all conferences should be using them. I never lost connection. I had no trouble connecting. The network was always fast. This was a real stand out from the usual conference wireless experience. Oh, and their project manager (Allison Fahs) was great about answering my curious questions.
The conference content overall lacked “spark”. a lot of the talks were pure product pimping (e.g. Google’s keynote). There was little controversy, conflict, or passion evidenced on the panels. I think that a good conference organizer can take the time to think out who to put on panels and how to generate excitement. Make no mistake, Ismael Ghalimi is good at organizing conferences. But I got the impression that this conference was a little rushed and that they could have spent a bit more time prepping the panel moderators to be more panel instigators (since the panels were already pretty moderate).
This includes the panel on which I spoke, Project Management 2.0 moderated by Zoli Erdos (video available at link). The panelists were mostly in agreement about the fundamentals of the change that is being driven in project management. Little controversy and not a lot of fire despite the fact that there’s quite a bit of jockeying for position in the project management SaaS space.
One big exception to this was the People and Data talk with Andreas Weigend. This was really engaging and Andres is always fun to listen to because he has the ability to really get you thinking about the topic at hand. Curiously, several of the ideas I’m hoping to expand on in my proposed SXSWi talk were knocked around. I think more people are beginning to see that the perpetual retention of all data may not be serving us well as a society.
The attendees were a diverse and dynamic bunch. In fact the hallway conversations and chatting in the open rooms (which were a great idea) were the best parts of the conference. Foreshadowing that, the “Unconference” on Wednesday was really worth attending.
All said, it was a good conference. But not a great one. I didn’t come away fired up and burgeoning with ideas the way I did from Gnomedex.