Friday, May 12, 2006

MeshForm2006 - Review

I attended the MeshForum held in San Francisco May 7-9 at the suggestion of John Maloney of Colabria. Realizing that IT Conversations would be recording and archiving the event and by prior agreement with Phil Windley the executive producer of ITC, I prepared to attend the event with the following goals:

1. Meet the key participants and presenters and contribute where I could.

2. Watch Eileen Clegg in action (she provided a visual journal of the presentations on Monday May 8th) Eileen was awesome, as her work to be shared with you in later posts will attest.

3. Pursue the opportunity of working with Eileen, several of the presenters and Shannon Clark (the event convenor) to establish a working relationship for co-creation of a Thoughts Illustrated synthesis of the event which I would share with the event participants and whomever linked to the Thoughts Illustrated blog or wherever we might decide to post it. This post is a start in that direction.

Because the event had a relatively small audience, it was a perfect size for meeting just about everyone present and to be a witness the birth of a new and, I believe, soon-to-be powerful collaborative community. MeshForum delivered way more than I had expected going in, and I hope sharing my reflections and observations about the event will be of some use to you as well.

I did not have the time to attend every event, but I will list those that I did in chronological order below and return to edit this post with links to the locations on this blog where the specific posts for each item can be found. Although they will also be listed in the blog's archive I felt providing direct links here would be helpful.

There was a lot more to MeshForum and its bright and engaging presenters and participants than I could ever hope to capture here. To all of you who happen to drop by this personal journal of MeshForum, please know that I am solely reponsible for the content and the opinions here are mine alone. I welcome your comments.

Session List: I have copied portions of this list from the Meshforum website, so until I have posted a review, the original links to the presenters will remain. Eileen only visualized the Monday sessions, so there are no accompanying graphics for the Sunday presentations. I will try to identify the sessions I have reviewed in green. Naked Conversations is the first review.

Sunday May 7th

Opening Keynote - Manuel Lima, founder of

Manuel's presentation was what a keynote should be - since visualization was a primary theme of MeshForum. Manuel's selection and comparisons of his comprehensive collection of visualization projects was an eye-opener. I suggest that the MeshForum community submit examples of interesting visualization projects to add to Manuel's growing collection.

Manuel's ability to take a meta-level view of the collection to highlight emerging pattern commonalities amongst the visualizations makes his a very valuable set of eyeballs - As Alan Kay is reported to have said "Perspective is worth 80 IQ points" - so Manuel is a very smart hombre indeed and Shannon was very smart to put this presentation in first position to start the conference.

I vote for Manuel to return next year with an update on his project. Visualizing Complexity really is a proof statement that " picture is worth a thousand words".

Naked Conversations, the corporation in a blogging world
Thoughts Illustrated: Meshforum - Scoble and Israel on Naked Conversations

Lunch workshop on storytelling with Heather Gold

Large Scale Social Networks - Anil Dash of Six Apart

Art of Networks - Spot Draves, ElectricSheep

The Dunbar Number - Chris Allen - Life with

Monday May 8th

The Economics of Transportation Networks, Dr. David Levinson, University of Minnesota

Political Networks, managing large scale Social Networks, Jon Lebkowsky,, Zack Rosen, CivicSpace Labs

Value Networks - Verna Allee

Visual Thinking workshop led by Dave Gray and Dana Smith of Xplane

Breaking old Networks - Jamais Cascio and Howard Greenstein

Social Network Analysis, Dr. Karen Stephenson, Netform

Tuesday May 9th

On Tuesday the format is Open Space (or unconference format) with multiple small group discussions and workshops. As topics and session organizers come forward, we will post the topics here and on the wiki but sessions are open to all attendees and anyone may propose a session to open.Opening of the Space, Michael Herman

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