ETech: Final Thoughts
ETech has been a bit overwhelming. There are so many good ideas floating around that it will take a while to digest, and the relevant ones will float to the top.
Met some smart people, had some interesting conversations, and largely enjoyed being in a supremely geeky environment for a week. I also really enjoyed attending sessions where there was cross-pollination across industries. For example, it is insightful to hear how hardware or military or biology folks are solving problems in their domains, and what can be learned to apply to mine.
There were a heck of a lot of great presentations, but I enjoyed these the most:
Tim O'Reilly, for summarizing a great lot of interesting internet application patterns,
Damien Stolarz, because he is incredibly passionate about his products,
Joel Spolsky, because he's a hell of a speaker, and an entertainer to boot,
Jason Fried, because he seems like a regular guy who has an innovative process, rock-solid reasoning, and great products,
James Surowiecki, because he's a great speaker and because I think that corporate America has much more to learn about the wisdom of crowds, and
Evan Williams, because his product looks disruptively cool (or is it coolly disruptive?)
What about the negatives at ETech?
Not enough power outlets.
There is most definitely a "scene", and if you're not in it, you have to work hard to talk to some folks. It's becoming a pet peeve when you're talking to someone and they're looking over your shoulder to find "bigger fish" to talk to.
I felt like I was being marketed to during some of the sessions--it makes sense to talk about your products, but it has to be within the scope of something larger.
A lot of development shown off at ETech is being done on the fringes, and won't make it to market for years, although I guess this is countered by new product demos like Odeo.
All in all, it has been a fantastic experience, and is definitely worthwhile to attend. That being said, I'm still going to SXSW next year :).
I'm kinda overwhelmed by it all, though, but in a good way. Luckily I'm heading up to La Jolla with Geneve to unplug and decompress for the next few days.
I'll be at the beach if you need me...