I was trying to describe Gnomedex to my teammates at lunch and realized a few things:
- most folks are not used to conferences where the conversations about the sessions (captured in twitter, pathable, irc) are as critical or influential as the main materials of the session. If you aren't online as well as in-person, you are missing the show.
- the only way to make sure you have some hand in that "other" conversation is to do what Sarah Lacy did - incorporate the wiseasses and the commentators into your talk by passing the mike ("share power" kind of gestures)
- the first thing people think when they hear gnomedex is that there are a bunch of gnomes running around, which frankly, would only be true after a certain amount of drinking...
- I missed my chance to talk about Mars Rover team lead Scott Maxwell aka "chauffeur for science" " who said...."if it doesn't seem impossible, we are not interested."
I think the reason this conference resonated so much with me was that it didn't just talk about technology - which geeks can talk about on end, one up each other about, spin like doctors around - but what you could actually DO with it. Some folks love technology for its own sake - they love fiddling with the bits, the syntax, the hardware's nuts and bolts, the details that keep colectors collecting and turbines churning. Some folks are really eloquent about talking about what techology can, could, and will do to change things that are agnostic on tech per se: how close you are to your friends, how world nations can communicate, how stories can be told that spark change.
I think XNA as a framework, set of tools, and XNA's community platform is cool as a technology set or I wouldn't work on this team. But it's always been compelling to me to see how people make things with XNA that I would never have thought of or suspected would be done with these ingredients. I was telling someone at Gnomedex that the recurring image from last year when the team was being assembled to do all this was...the college student with the big grin and the big check, where that student has sold enough games on marketplace to create a future career or at least decent beer money out of the deal. And then I see all the eco-games that students are making, teaching people about how to save the planet.
What new games will you challenge us with? What new games will you make change the world?
Live it vivid!