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Podcamp Reflects its Venue

There’s always a lot of discussion about what the events will be like and how they will compare to other Podcamps, and other conferences. After attending Podcamp NYC this weekend I had a realization: Of the camps that I have gone to, their character is a reflection of the city that they are were held at.

Podcamp Boston was historical – the first podcamp. It also had an academic feel, a reflection of the many colleges and universities in the area. And, just like Boston, it was hard to get around even for the locals.

Alex LindsayPittsburgh is famed for being a hard-working (and drinking) city. As the transition from steel town to digital gulch continues there was a lot of work being done. Alex Lindsay stepped up with some great sessions on video, Rob Walch delivered the 411 on podcasting, and I got to see some of the world of Justin Kownacki, the James Brown of New media – “The Hardest Working Man in Vidcasting”.

I consider Pittsburgh to be the best conference I have ever attended, and not just because I’ve paid thousands to go to events that weren’t half as good – when will I ever get a chance again to get advice on video effects from a guy who worked on Star Wars and then go out drinking that night with Johnny Johnny, Dr. Tiki, and LaLa from Tiki Bar? (Both Podcamp Pittsburgh photos from the Unstoppable m0xie)
Wisdom of Dr. Tiki

Toronto fit the image that Canada has always had for me: the cities are just a bit cleaner, better run. The people are a little more friendly and worldly, the restaurants are better. The facility was insanely good (I’ve never streamed 4 Quick Time video windows while checking email in a room with 400 other tech geeks, most venues would scream uncle at just trying to maintain connectivity). It’s always a little colder up there too…

I was a bit concerned about the New York agenda, many of the sessions were a variation on “How to Monetize your Podcast”. I’m a follower of Julien Smith’s message of “Stop trying to monetize your f-ing podcast and start making some good content.” But the interesting thing is that the audience wanted to hear those sessions, and many of them were popular. It’s hard to argue that New York is not all about the money when you get a danish and OJ for a $25 breakfast. So maybe all the sessions weren’t my first choice, but when you back it up with the best restaurants and clubs in a city second only to LA in media and a city that never sleeps, it’s impossible not to have a great time.

So I already know what to expect from PodCruise, that won’t be about the sessions either.

9 replies on “Podcamp Reflects its Venue”

I so not-gay love you. What a great post summing up the PodCamps you’ve attended. Of course, it made me realize that you and I both missed Atlanta, Second Life, and PodCamp West. Weird that we both have the same four under our belts.

Great post!

I think it’s always part City of Origin, part Venue, part Participants and Speakers.

Julien and I spoke in NYC about the whole currency of relationship thing, to bring to NYC what we started talking about in Toronto, and it was well recieved, even though it was counter to the whole- “Give me ten minutes, and I’ll give you Ten Ways to Make a Buck” theme some of the sessions had. (And no one can give you a secret formula or short cut here- just like in real life, you get out of something what you put into it.)

But the truth is that many people want to find out what all the fuss is about in podcasting, and how they can use it to make themselves more successful. The dichotomy is that some people define success by money and some define it in very different ways. And this democrats vs. republicans approach, as I refer to it, is natural. It’s taking a tool and trying to figure out the expedient use versus the highest or best use.

I’s just like other industries. For example, we use gas in our cars because we have the infrastructure, it’s cheap enough right now, and alternatives threaten too many long standing industries. Many people look towards using this increasingly scarce resource more wisely; they want to avoid the disasterous effects of using it poorly, but many others will use it until the last drop is gone, with no worries whatsoever.

In podcasting and new/social media, people are flooding into the space to figure out how to exploit it, while others are using it to connect to others, build relationships, build businesses- things with a more long term horizon rather than the get rich quick approach.

I hope this doesn’t mean we will all have to choose up sides. I do think we have to realize as people attend great events like PodCamp, there will be those people who have a community focus and those with a business focus, and perhaps at PodCamp we can have a good effect on each other, learn from each other, and in the end, there won’t be a need for polar opposites on these issues.

I want to do a seminar/speak at Podcamp Boston 2 this Fall..where do I go..what do I do? Seems like by the time I sign up the seminars are already busting at the seams with no room for new speakers.

Great article by the way!


“How to Monetize your Podcast”

Actually this is popular because so many want to do it. My advice is…do it or don’t do it. Many would love to make money at it, but few take the steps to go down that path. If you do a great show and “hope” that it will be discovered and somehow become profitable, chances are it will not. If its a mission, a clear goal, then this is a fantastic time to do it.

This is show business. + business…I think if more people who want to be profitable look at it as opening a business or starting a brand (because thats exactly what it can be) there would be many more profitable podcasts out there.


Interesting thoughts on that. I never really thought of it that way, although, I haven’t really been to any other podcamps or expos, so I have no frame of reference. I’ll have to keep an eye out for that next time.

The hardest-working man in vidcasting? I have a feeling that both my girlfriend and my bank account would disagree with you — but thanks all the same.

Yes, here in Pittsburgh we love our tech and we love our beer. Come back for PCPGH 2 in August and you’ll get even more of both. We aspire to offer the best social bang for your buck within the PodCampsphere — and considering the low cost of living, your drinking dollar goes a lot further here…

Finally catching up today. Thanks for all the comments:

Brogan: Not-gay love right back at ya!

Frans: The Hilton. No bargains there.

Whitney: My easy answer to avoid “sides” is just keep doing the best quality content you can, everything else will work itself out…

Frank:Getting all Ethyl Merman on me… “There’s NO business like SHOW business….”

Justin: Actually I think James had plenty of trouble on the domestic and financial fronts too…

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