Webstock 2009 (+video)

I recently returned from another great Webstock Conference in Wellington: Magic venue, fabulous speakers, terrific vibe!

When opening the conference, I think Mike Brown picked the mood perfectly, commenting on the financial and environmental crisis facing the world, the importance of finding solutions quickly and how the web, and the people who work in it, have a role to play. In addition to all the webby stuff, it appeared to me that one common theme of many conference sessions was community concern and the need for social responsibility.

This 10 minute video is my impressions of the conference and is not intended to be a summary of the presentations. It contains comments from a number of people who also attended the conference as well as several speakers. I understand video and audio of most of the presentation will be available on the Webstock website sometime soon.

All up there were 25 conference speakers. With a conference like this people often ask, what was your favourite session? A question I don’t particular like, in part I guess because I am not at all enamoured with the obsession to provide league rankings for almost everything – you know; ‘top 20 TV programs of all time’, ‘my favourite holiday destinations’, ‘best toilets of the world’ etc. But, more seriously, how can you choose from such a diversity of great topics? The presentations ranged from the practical like Adrian Holovaty’s “A Maskup Case Study: Everyblock.com” or Russ Weakley’s “Open Web, Open Data, Open Panic“; to Jasmina Tesanovic’s harrowing report on the genocide in Srebrenica and the aftermath (“The Design of Crime“); Ze Frank’s entertaining “The Explicit“; and, Bruce Stirling’s challenging “The Short and Glorious Life of Web 2.0“.

One of the best features of Webstock is the great range of speakers and ideas so I find it both difficult and not particularly useful to pick my favourite one, or even five, session. Check them out for yourself on the Webstock site.

I think the following comment by Russell Brown in the video, sums up the conference well.

“Webstock is an extraordinary event. It’s not only got quality, it’s got soul.”

Congratulation to Mike, Deb, Tash and Ben for another awesome conference. I am looking forward to next year.


  1. What is the girl in the Google tee-shirt doing? She appears at the close of the video, and she is doing something, but I can’t work out what.

    Thanks for this, Roger.


  2. At the windup party there was an amazing computer-driven band called Tron. The girl in the Google shirt is Pamela Fox, who was one of the conference presenters, and in this shot she is pretending to sing into an old fashioned looking microphone that was a sort of prop for the band.

  3. Roger – this is a wonderful video.

    Thanks for capturing what I think is the spirit of Webstock!

  4. Roger, this is fantastic! Thank you so much for putting this together… I was smiling all the way through as I watched it. :)

    Jonathan, the girl in the Google teeshirt is the awesome Pamela Fox, one of the Webstock speakers. Not sure what she’s doing, though :)

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