The first annual Birds of a Feather Blogging session was an amazing success as far as I'm concerned. About 45 people showed up (had to bring in extra chairs), including people such as (just to name a few):
- Peggy Aycinena (EDA Confidential)
- John Blyler (editor, Chip Design Magazine)
- John Cooley (Deepchip)
- Grant Martin (Tensilica)
- Sanjay Srivastava (CEO, Denali)
- Mark Gogolewski (CTO, Denali)
- Brian Bailey (independent consultant)
- Nanette Collins (PR and DAC Publicity Chair)
- Dave Lin (VP Marketing, Denali)
- Janick Bergeron (Synopsys)
- Richard Goering (SCDSource)
- John Cooley (Deepchip)
- John Blyler (Chip Design Magazine)
- Folks from MP associates (conference organizers)
- Other journalists, marketers, and bloggers whose names I didn't capture in my notes
- The entire Verilab contingent (thanks all!)
Before I say anything about the event itself I wanted to give a big thanks to Sean Murphy, Harry Gries, David Lin, John Ford, and Ron Ploof for help and moral support for getting this BoF organized. I especially appreciate the (not so) gentle prodding I received from Sean providing me with additional motivation, and also appreciated the work Sean did in inviting many of the blogging, but especially the non-blogging attendees.
Now, a quick summary of the event:
I gave a quick intro followed by a presentation by Dave Lin about corporate blogging. The presentation went longer than expected due, in part, to persistent questions from the press in attendance who were very keen to point out that a blog on a corporate website isn't really a blog (though I think many, including myself disagreed). Dave's presentation was followed by one from Steve Leibson, commentator for EDN who also works for Tensilica. The presentations took about 45 minutes, followed by about 10-15 minutes of introductions around the room. Then we spent another 45 minutes on a discussion of issues surrounding blogging, though only hit 1-2 of the discussion questions I had ready as the discussions became pretty intense.
Unfortunately, about half of the audience left (abruptly as it turned out) at 7pm, but the 20 of us that stuck around had quite a good time! My apologies to John Ford for going directly to him with a question instead of giving the attendees a chance to leave once we crossed the 7pm mark. Next time I'll know better!
I'm very interested to hear what others thought of the session. Was it worthwhile? Did we focus on the right things? I'm guessing that some of the pure bloggers may have been disappointed in the fact that we didn't really get around to speaking about the issues facing those of us who blog, but instead focused on the interaction between the press, PR, and bloggers. I agree that it would have been nice to put the question of journalists vs. bloggers aside for an evening, but I also have a lot of respect for the collected body of attendees that showed up last night and wanted to make we had a chance to hear what many of the industry luminaries in attendance had to say.
Assuming this happens again at next year's DAC (or perhaps also at DVCon and DATE) there are a few things I'd do differently. First, as Sean pointed out it would have been helpful to have nametags and a signup sheet. I had no idea who some of the attendees were and it was difficult to keep track even after introductions were eventually made. Also, it may be worthwhile to separate the event into two parts - a part for general discussion and a part truly for bloggers. Basically, a panel discussion made up entirely of bloggers that was focused on the ins and outs of blogging itself, and was explicitly not focused on the old vs. new media debate. Finally, I'd probably try to more strictly enforce the time limit on the opening presentations to allow more time for open discussion.
I'd love to hear feedback on the event either via comments on this post or via posts on your own blog or online publication. If people can send me links to these external posts I'll add links from Cool Verification so everyone can get a better idea of how the event went from a variety of perspectives.