Dave Winer wants to shake up conferences

What Dave says: “Maybe someday these conferences could host real-time development, where media hackers put together new communication systems and deploy them before the conference is over. The moon mission approach to development, if you want to get something done quickly, make sure you know where you’re going and are excited about it. Sometimes it’s amazing how quickly these things can bootstrap.”

There are lots of different kinds of conferences and conventions — everything from the kind where organizations get together to elect officers and decide on by-laws to others that are more like training-academies where people get “certification.”

However, the type of conference I enjoy most are those where people get together to push around ideas and concepts — to challenge each other with provocative ideas and new approaches or new products. While Dave is focusing (in my simplistic interpretation) on conferences that explore the social, political and economic impact of new technology and new models of networked media, his ideas could as easily be applied to any group focused on the exploration of any “idea” — be it a group of plumbers, a group of brain surgeons or a group of academics — any group, that is, that is willing to embrace the types of conversational-enabling technology that Dave alludes to — and that are widely available.

I’ve often said on-the-record that the most valuable part of any conference or trade show are the conversations that take place in the aisle-ways. I believe any technology or approach that can help elevate to the main-stage such “back-channel” communication will, in effect, help get rid of the “lame parts” (i.e., panelists and presenters who only know how to promote their own pet project*) of conferences.

*Obviously, if they’ve been invited to present their pet project, that’s okay. Many presenters don’t know how to talk about any thing else, however.

Bonus link: From Doc Searls, on another topic, but related: “Here’s my big idea for the Times: Hire Dave Winer to come in and take the paper to the next level. Dave had Martin’s ear, and those of some other folks at the Times, way more than three years ago. And to some degree they listened. The Times did some good stuff with Dave’s advice (such as taking the lead with RSS). But the Times has otherwise ignored outstanding ideas such as the ones Dave demonstrates with nytimesriver, an application I often use on my cell phone. Nothing to lose, Times. Lots to gain. Trust me.