In this episode Ben and I talk about our experiences at WCPT, as well as the massive success of the Unposter and what this means for the future of conferences. Not really. But this conversation certainly influenced how I think about conferences in general and, to be honest, it’s made me question whether or not the “international conference” is something that I’ll personally be planning around in the near future. I’m probably going to look for opportunities to travel less frequently but for longer periods. Instead of the 4-5 day whirlwind of flights, hotels and conference centres that I’ve come to tolerate for the chance to have good conversations, I’ve decided that there are other, cheaper, more effective, and less environmentally impactful ways to meet interesting people. This is another example of how simply having an in-depth conversation about a topic has changed my thinking around it.
If you’re one of the few people on the internet who wasn’t caught up in the craziness around the Unposter in the run up to WCPT in May, you can still see our initial thinking about conferences and the traditional poster format here. It’s important to note that both Ben and I – through this conversation, and conversations at WCPT – changed our thinking on the topic quite a bit so some of the orginal points on the Unposter page may no longer reflect where we currently stand on things.
Note: The featured image for this episode is a composite photo by Stephen Wilkes from a selection that were taken over a 26 hour period at a water hole in the Serengeti. You can see more examples of Stephen’s work in his Day to Night series here.
I also thought that we had independently come up with the idea of flipping the conference, but was pretty devastated to see that the idea has been around for at least almost a decade.