Sunday, Copenhagen airport, waiting for the plane to take me home to Zurich. Reboot8 is over. (and parts of this text written after the weekend)
Reboot feels to me like a drug trip (having some limited experiences in that matter, I think the comparison is valid). While smoking (and inhaling!) I usually came up with a slew of wonderful, intelligent and breathtaking ideas of pure genius. Unfortunately (well maybe fortunately for the rest of the world) I always forgot them when the effects of THC had subsided.
Inhaling the spirit of reboot, indulging in the discussions with so many interesting people, feels a lot like that. Ideas bubble up, half formed, bursting with the desire to spring to life. And - unlike the THC induced ideas - they stick around still now. Putting them down in writing is the first step of making them happen.
A great conference, and reboot 8 qualifies unconditionally for that titel, transcends the individual presentations. Together they form the basis of something bigger, a story arc, a unified theory, a piece of a bigger, bolder puzzle. The presentation I saw, together with the many discussions I had, formed themselves to a picture of a changing future, one we have a possibility of helping shape and making it a better future.
History lessons was the first part of this. The history of the Renaissance, the coming out of the dark ages, rediscovering skills and knowledge that had lied dormant for hundred of years was repeated briefly in some of the presentations. And all of them said, that while it seems that we are at the brink of something new, it most certainly isn’t a renaissance. We are not stuck on the dark ages. Maybe we are at the beginning of the next dark-age, after the culmination of western civilisation. Listening to the things said, combining them with my thoughts, the following is the “grand arc” I took away from this conference:
- We are seeing the end of nation states. Globalisation - and reboot is a wonderful example of the kind of positive globalisation possible - is unstoppable. Instant communication, cheap travel - these are the ingredients of a changing social eco-system.
- We are seeing the end of capitalism. Sessions like Greater Intellect and Crafter Economics point towards possible causes and possible new economic models
- We are seeing the beginning of new social structures - outside the physical world. Play pointed towards social systems that transcend the physical and move into virtual worlds
- We are seeing new kinds of democracy. Rebooting democracy had some extremely interesting ideas on how to work inside the existing political system, but use a kind of “Open Source Politics” to actually get changes done
- Being a renaissance man is something to strive for. Being as funny as Ben is something to aspire for
- Coming “down to earth” after all this philosophical thoughts, the Railways was a chance to meet some of the other Rails developers in Europe and generally share the joy of working with Rails
- Crashing Henriette, getting some sleep and meeting her most adorable daughter in the morning for breakfast
- The schisma between algorithmic user tracking in Jesse James Garrets and user maintained social applications by Stowe Boyd made for some interesting discussions after the talks. And I had the idea of writing a Rails plugin that could generate “Amazon like” links that will keep track of what user clicked what link… (see ideas below)
- The people from ThePiratebay.org mumbled around incoherently so I switched to something I should have gone to from the beginning: Stories, stories and how the impact social software. Unfortunately I only caught the end - here’s me hoping for videos of the talks.
- Instead of seeing Jean-Francois Groff’s talk on the history of the internet (video please?) - I joined Dannie Jost’s workshop on intellectual property an interesting but way to short session on what’s wrong with software patents.
- The hyperlink was the best session I attended. Beautifully written and narrated and deeply profound - even though it covered such a “simple” topic. In Praise of the Hyperlink is a must read.
- The rest of the converence was a blur. Doc Searls spoke, Hakun Wium Lie spoke but for me, I just enjoyed the rest of the day talking to the people at the conference. The usual suspects of course, but also some new people - you know who you are.
- Dinner with Henriette and her boyfriend Thomas, Colin was there, Ali, Frank and a bunch of other interesting people. Left the after-boot party early - but had some interesting talks in spite of the noise. (Thomas, for next years reboot, I vote for a more quiet party location… Aren’t there any nice piano bar’s in Copenhagen?)
- The next morning, I met for breakfast in the Cafe Europe - cold, but some hot discussions.
- In the afternoon, I joined the nice people of Joyent for some beers and more talk. Good stuff coming from Joyent, really looking forward to that. Not sure, how much I can talk about, so I just keep quiet :-)
- Sitting next to Keith (link coming) on the plane back, talking about photography, the conference…
More on what I have taken away from the conference in a next post