I find myself in agreement with Dave Winer and Marc Cantor about O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 conference, but maybe not for the same reasons.
I don’t have a problem with a more traditional presentation format, but Web 2.0 sounds, frankly, closed door and elitist. It seems like Tim O’Reilly is forgetting his open source, just plain folks roots.
What is it lately with events where we have to ask to be invited. Google has started this with both Orkut and Gmail, then Movable Type with the 3.0 beta, and now O’Reilly with this conference. Request an invitation frankly sounds like Oliver crying out, “Please sir. May I have some more?”
I don’t want to have to ask for an invite and then magically get one because there’s “room” (i.e. the event holders decide that you would add class to the event), or not (because we’re classless). If people want an invite only event, have one. I think these events do nothing more than promote the same *Upper One Hundred that always get promoted around here, and therefore the results of these events are highly suspect–but at least that would make more sense than Request an Invite
I can also see that the female/male speaker ratio follows the rigidly set and now infamous O’Reilly conference guideline of 10% women. However, in previous conferences, I have given O’Reilly the benefit of a doubt that if women aren’t applying to be speakers, it’s not the conference presenters fault if there are no women.
But unless I missed the call for papers earlier, it seems like the Web 2.0 speaker list is also invite only. Am I mistaken? If not then events such as these do much to promote technology and the Web as a genderless environment–genderless in this case meaning only one gender need apply.
I find myself getting tired of elitistism and “Request an Invite”. Events publicized such as these only serve to feather the nest of the people attending. “Oh look at us,” they say. “We’re the elite. We make the decisions. Give us your money, but you can keep your opinions to yourselves. If you want to matter, start a company and make a billion and we’ll listen.”
If we on the street doing the work, and buying the books, and using the tech, and keeping the companies running aren’t good enough, well, the Upper One Hundred can just take their little iPods and shove them where the sun don’t shine.
*Play on the term ‘Upper Ten Thousand’ used to designate the nobility in regency England