I’ve been attending ETech and the P2P conference that preceded ETech and this conference, and this year I’ve noticed the best gender balance ever. Granted this conference’s focus has changed from the very geeky P2P and Web Services focus it started with and meandered through a host of topics to arrive at a less geeky, but still thought provoking set of topics. I feel that this change in focus has made the conference more accessible to women and as a result we’ve seen the gender balance improve over the years.
I’ve also really appreciated the ETech Maker’s Shed where I got the chance to talk about iPhone hacking with Damien Stolarz. I talked with Brian Jepson on all things Make and what an impressive impact the Make has made on my less geeky friends. I periodically have my friends who discover Make come to me to ask me if I knew about this cool movement. I’m honestly proud to know some of the people behind Make.
Another thing that stood out at this year’s ETech was the consistent high quality of speakers — each and every session I went to kept me engaged with the presentation. It seems that at some conferences I tend to get lost in my laptop and after the conference wonder what things were all about since I never really paid much attention. Not so at ETech and especially this year — all the speakers captured my attention the entire time.
I also liked the scanning laser that made beautiful visualizations of the audience. I really appreciated hearing Zoë Keating play her Cello on stage while being video remixed with the laser visualizations. Two totally unrelated projects/people coming together to blending their craft to make an impromptu mash-up for the audience gave me warm and fuzzy feelings last night.
And, having ETech back in the Bay Area is also nice — I stayed with friends a few blocks away and biked to the conference in the morning. The arrangement was conducive to being rested and alert when I arrived in the chilly morning. And the Fairmont gave us lots of room, even if I felt that I kept walking in circles the wrong way to get to my next location.
I was really pleased with this year’s ETech — thanks for putting on the conference and thanks for letting me blog about it!