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Pubcon 6 Concurrent Sessions: You Miss 83%

Pubcon this year has 6 concurrent sessions. Yes, 6. That means no matter how hard you try, you can only attend 16.7% of the sessions (on average). Is ths one of those “monetization” strategies that encourages companies to send teams instead of individuals?

I am reminded of attending Society for Neuroscience meetings where 50,000 people attended. And historical Comdex where 200,000 attended over several square miles of venue. It was crazy. Frustrating crazy.

Back in the early days of DEFCON I stood in the registration line for almost the entire first day, missing everything just to get in to see everything else. That was crazy, but worth it. Once there was a large refugee camp waiting for registration, almost as big as the crowd inside, someone pointed speakers our way, water bottles were passed around, and an impromptu RegLineCamp started amongst ourselves….the best was made of it.

With 6 concurrent sessions, and based on experience with past pubcons, I’m not hopeful of such innovation. Will there be tons of wallflowers, lots of doors opening and closing mid-presentation, and a whole lot of people just giving up hope of catching what matters most? And how about those inane questions coming from the transients…”I may have missed this in the beginning, so sorry if you already covered it, but can you tell me how I can SEO my 200 WordPress blogs?“.

Last year they had fancy-smancy scrolling electronic agendas outside each room, using laptop computers to drive 30+ inch LCD flat screens…. just showing the agenda. Totally not worth the expense from an atendee perspective (although it probably saved the organizers paperwork and sign-making).

Here’s an idea.. how about put that money (and those flatscreens) to use in the table area to show all concurrent sessions on the wall via a big matrix of screens, Hollywood Squares style? Simulcast the audio, so we can choose screen 1 or screen 2 on our iPods or whatever. Some of us will set up permanent residence at a “regular” table, you know, Jersey Diner style. I’ll even bring a little speaker to share audio with “my booth”, or if Brett needs the revenue, there can be coin-operated ones. We can sit still while the concurrent sessions concur around us…or whatever. I also won’t have to suffer the annoying tap-tap-tap of a “live blogger” sitting down next to me.

We’re all ADHD anyway, so why not cater to us? We’ll love ya for it, and I promise not to throw tomatoes at the lesser presenters.

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