I arrived on Thursday in the middle of a session. My first impression was: Wow, those are an awful lot of laptops!
So I turned on mine and the party started :-).
My learnings during Lift07:
#1: No conference again without my laptop! Although a computer disturbes your attention (at least it disturbs mine), it’s worth having one with you, but only if you use it right. If you just want to work (i.e. writing unrelated emails etc.), you probably better stay in your office (since its cheaper and you don’t have to come to Geneva). But if you use Technorati, Google, XING, Wikipedia and all kinds of other resources during a presentation, it can really enrich your experience (at least it enriched mine). Self-discipline is king!
#2: I don’t want to blog like crazy! I’m no writer, no journalist and blogging is not my profession. So I see no point in blogging like crazy. Don’t get me wrong. It’s really impressing to sit in the same session next to Robert, Stephanie, Bruno and others and watching my RSS-reader explode on the topics I’m JUST HEARING nearly in realtime :-). But that’s not what I want to do. Even if I wanted to (and sometimes I REALLY wanted), I can’t blog about everything. I have to focus. I have to prioritize. I have to deal with information overload. In the past, sometimes I blogged out of pressure (because I thought I HAD to keep up with my desired frequency ;) but in the future, I won’t. I just had to realize that it’s impossible to keep up with everything. The world is imperfect. I am imperfect. This blog is imperfect. I will focus. I will prioritize.
#3: The world speaks English! You can accept it or not, but the world speaks English. Lift07 spoke English. Geneva speaks English. This blog will speak English. I just feel that this is the way it has to be. The world is flat, the world is global, the world speaks English.
#4: Geneva speaks French! I had to realize that my French sucks. Although I have very strong feelings about English, I think its really important so speak local languages as well. So whether I like it or not: I have to refresh my French, and I have to refresh my Czech. Its always a plus being able to speak to local people in their local language.
#5: Swiss trains are imperfect! For the first time in my life I experienced a technical problem on a Swiss train (the engine broke, or something). We had to stop 2 times and I arrived 30 minutes late to Lift07.
#6: I’m going to reboot! Almost everybody I spoke to at Lift07 has been to reboot before. I spoke to the organizers at a bar. The next reboot will be next May.
#7: More Americans than Germans! It was really impressive that more Americans than Germans came to Lift07. There were also 6 guys from Canada, 2 guys from Brazil, 4 guys from Korea (!) and somebody from Israel. Wow, what a mix!
#8: CERN rocks! Although I live in Switzerland I actually had no idea what the CERN was all about (except that the WWW was born there). The presentation of Brian Cox was a highlight of Lift07. Especially the DataGrid Project (one of the largest global computer grids) is really interesting. Afterwards I spoke to Brian and he told me that the world could only afford one CERN and that there is no (serious) competition for CERN on the planet. And that the new CERN-projects are funded from countries all over the world (not only European countries).
#9: Humanistic projects rock! I was really impressed by projects like The hole in the Wall (introducing computers to developing countries) or Aresa (developing a plant that changes color on landmines). The lesson: It’s not (only) about money, but about changing the world and making the world a better place.
#10: Face2Face matters! The fact that Lift07 was no virtual conference shows one more time that face2face still matters. Of course its a good thing to reduce transaction costs with solutions like Halo ($500.000+), but its still more fun to have a real fondue than one over Halo ;-).
PS: Special greetings to Maya (really cool startup), Matthias (was really nice to finally meet you in person) and all the others I met.