Utalks: two days, 27 speakers, 15 hours of learning, 8 weeks in the making
The dust has settled on the craziest 8 weeks of my life. These 8 weeks were the time between deciding to put on UNTETHER.talks and actually pulling it off. Securing speakers, lining up a location, finding sponsors, building an agenda, figuring out what to feed everyone, deciding (many times) on where to have a few drinks with everyone and, ultimately, what the goal of the event should be.
In the coming weeks we will be diving into the real learnings from the content of the show but I had to put out a quick note to thank those that helped put this pure mind-blowing mobile/pervasive computing knowledge transfer conference on (“conference” doesn’t do it justice really).
UNTETHER.talks was a pet project – something I had hoped to be able to do during the heady Internet days when people were selling shit and providing shit service. Snake oil salesmen is the way I classified them. They sullied the industry and left a wake of ruin in their rear-view mirror as they left that industry for dead in 2001. I had always hoped to be able to gather the decision makers at the companies that were being influenced by these folks into a big arena and tell them the truth. Tell them to participate but do it wisely. To spend but in the right places. To be active but smart and to not be influenced by what was going on around them.
Flash forward 10 years and the signs are all around us again. Those snake oil salesmen are back peddling crap and this time in the mobile world. UNTETHER.talks was the assembly of the mobile nation to be able to showcase what is really going on and where it will hurt or enhance business. Focus on the direction this industry is going in and hope that companies, entrepreneurs, consultants, nations, governments, funders and experts would be able to steer their ships accordingly – and responsibly. Right now, education is more important than money. Too much money and not enough knowledge leads us astray – bad decisions are made. Context and the right investments at the right time in the right place brings innovation to light.
The money men
Without hesitation. That is the response I received when I stepped out and started sharing the plans to do UNTETHER.talks. First on was long-time supporter Norton Rose. They came on as a founding sponsor and, quite literally, we could not have even thought about putting this thing together without their gracious support.
Deloitte stopped investing in external events but after a great Good Friday meeting with Richard Lee, the leader of the Canadian Technology, Media and Telecom practice for Deloitte, they came on board – sharing the vision we had for the event.
Almost simultaneous to the Deloitte team getting on board, the fine creative team at bv02 stepped in to offer their services to give identity to the event itself.
Then came Macadamian and Microsoft – the final pieces to putting this whole thing together. Macadamian has been a sponsor of UNTETHER.tv since inception and Microsoft is making waves in the mobile world for the firts time in almost 3 years – both companies are getting people excited about this space, both companies are pushing the boundaries of what can be done.
About the community
First off, the community that hovers around mobile is top notch. When we asked for help – be it an ask to keynote, participate on a panel or just to help promote – people stepped up. Past UNTETHER.tv guests came back in droves: Amber Mac, Damien Patton (who flew in from SF for the DAY!), Asif Khan, Doug Stephens, Yasser Ansari, Sidneyeve Matrix, Melody Adhami, whurley, Jeff Brenner, Tom Hearne and Gary Schwartz were there.
I would like to also thank the incredible folks at DX3 (Anthony, Anthony and Duncan), Plastic Mobile (Melody and Salome), MARS (Ryan and Karen), The LBMA (Asif) and MobileGroove (Peggy). Support comes from the greatest of people and these folks stepped up and over.
About you, the conversation makers
One of the greatest things I saw during the two days was what I didn’t see: People leaving. Once a keynote or conversation started, no one left. That is a clear testament to the speakers, the content and that you guys, sitting in the audience, were the right ones to be there. Not only did you all stay, the conversations that flowed and continue to flow online and off, will change industries.