The Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC) in Sonoma has come and gone. I’ve been toiling around with so many things to write about that I hardly know where to start. So I’m going to have to write a series of posts about different things.
First, there will be no “wrap-up” post. The concept of the WBC was to take our online conversations and meet face to face, as a community, to get a better understanding of the issues and each other. Then we need to talk more about the issues back online again. So I have always viewed the WBC as another element like our comments, tweets, forum posts, etc. We need to keep this conversation going and evolve the medium as a community. Its exciting when you think about it. Like I mentioned, technology has once again taken an industry status quo and turned it upside-down. The game has changed and we can influence how things pan out in the future. Already, as noted by Alice Feiring in her keynote speech at dinner on Saturday, there has never been a community of wine writers and now, if you felt the energy in the room at the conference, clearly there is. Guess what – thats new.
As a co-producer with so many new friends let me say a thanks and an apology.
First the apology:
While its necessary to get sponsors to pull something like this together on this scale and make sure we’re not just gathering in a park drinking from the water fountains, we tried very hard to make this a re-imagining of a wine conference. All bloggers welcome and the community is there to interact with each other first and foremost. We attempted to dedicate an entire morning to the Unconference – a free-flowing session with ad-hoc topics, no sponsors, no pitches, only bloggers. I personally communicated to everyone that we would have at least that much time to do something completely unscripted because thats what we as bloggers are about really – going off-script, something completely different. I took my time getting to the Unconference and when I arrived there was already a session about Wine2.0 and getting bloggers involved. So after all my talk of unscripted, unsponsored, hippy-blogger-love day, a brand ran a session anyway which changed the tenor of the Unconference. I didn’t take that lightly and I do apologize to the community for it. We hadn’t intended for there to be any corporate presence in that session and I should’ve paid a little closer attention to what was going on. I wanted to get that out because its been toiling in my head for days.
Now the thanks.
I’ve been getting alot of kudos, which I do appreciate and I do my best to say so even though I’m not the best at taking compliments, but really Allan Wright of Zephyr Adventures turned out to be the perfect partner to pull this off. I know a few of us had been kicking around the idea of a conference for a while but knowing what it takes to pull off a conference, my hesitation was basically I knew what I didn’t know and that was very daunting. Allan approached me in April and after talking over what he thought he could do for a conference like this it was pretty clear he had alot of experience and skills in areas I didn’t and THAT is what makes teams, companies, ideas, etc. work! The success we had was not only fast (April to October – 6 months) but we were able to take care of what we needed efficiently as if we worked together for a long time when in reality we were going basically “site unseen”. So MANY thanks to Allan, the perfect partner to making this come to fruition.
Next post…the anatomy of a conference – the snafus you DIDN’T see even if you thought it went smoothly!