Notes from Tools of Change Publishing Conference, NYC

11 Feb 2008: A couple of inspiring presentations this morning at the O'Reilly Tools of Change publishing conference in New York.
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I really enjoyed Stephen Abram's talk Information 3.0: Will Publishers Matter? where he answered the old chestnut ' but can you read it in the bath?' with a terse '95per cent of Americans take showers – get over yourself' which warmed my heart. He then went on to tell us by by 2020 an iPod will be able to hold all the content ever created in all media – can you get your head around that? Abram's main point was that, rather than content, context is king. Interesting. I'll come back to that in the next post. He calls kids 'millennials' and says that today 'social trumps everything else'. He adds that in the nonfiction world the article economy has become broken down into selling chapters and paragraphs, which is something my Creative Nonfiction students might be interested to hear. In his views, 'social trumps everything else'. Today, he says, we have the opportunity to create a sustainable social network for life. And his advice to publishers? 'If you're not in there experimenting and playing you're not learning enough to be able to evaluate it.' He closed with a great image of lines of desire, those footpaths we make ourselves across lawns planted by other people trying to force us to walk around instead of across, and points out that DRM and such-like are attempts to fence those lines of desire so we can't use them. It won't work, he says, and I agree. Here are his slides. He pointed us towards his site Stephen's Lighthouse if we want more. I do. I'll be visiting!
I've run out of time now but will be back later to write up the second inspirational moment. More soon.

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