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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.