After a week of scorching sunshine, the first day of b.TWEEN 2007 unfortunately coincided with a bout of torrential rain – and it happened to last the duration of the conference 🙁

I missed the VIP evening (long story…) and the first sessions of Day One, but arrived to find out my old Orange colleague  JJ (Jonathan Jowitt) had booked a one-to-one session; we’ve been trying to arrange a meeting for over three years, even though we only worked a few streets apart, so this became a very expensive way for us to catch up 😉

So, snippets from Day One…

  • I caught the breakout sessions from Matt Locke and Angel Gambino. Angel’s keynote on Strategic Serendipity struck a chord, I empathise with the trajectory of her career, what appears ‘plotted’ can indeed simply be directed good fortune. I’ve been there too 🙂 Angel serendipitously asked me the time out in the foyer…but I really needed to pee! So I never got the chance to meet her properly 🙁
  • Turns out my cousin Fozia Bano was one of the venue’s organising team – haven’t seen her in years, but she dropped into one of the auditoriums while I was waiting for the next talk…lovely to see her again!
  • Great to catchup with Yuuguu CMO, Philip Hemstead and see how the company and product are developing…they’re up at 2000+, including Wireless Grids Corp. Phil and I hung out at lunch where he introduced me to Tony Tickle of T3D. T3D have developed some neat modeling techniques for rapidly digitising city blocks…something I’m sure the Google Earth and Second Life guys might be curious about…
  • By far the most interesting segment of the day was Richard Adams and Kristina Nyzell‘s panel discussion on Open Source Business Models. The session largely focussed on Kristina’s time with LEGO and specifically how she managed their embrace of open source philosophy and the crowdsourcing of the LEGO Factory range; in its first three weeks, LEGO customers created ninety models, signalling to LEGO that their product development process needed to support and integrate evangelical customers. Curiously, Kristina related how LEGO now sees itself less as a manufacturing company and more a publishing organisation…by the way, Factory contributors are paid in bricks! Kristina and I got chatting about her new role, researching childhood and play…so I introduced her to Norman and his work on digital childhood with Frank Furedi. Oh, and Richard quoted a comment I left on one of his posts!
  • Incidentally, LEGO was also a sponsor of the conference, giving each delegate a bag of bricks to use on a collaborative model that took shape in the foyer throughout the conference…wikiLEGO!
  • William Latham and my old chums Ed French and Sam Sethi were due to speak on an technology investment panel. Sadly, the impending launch of Blognation meant Sam couldn’t make it to Bradford or his later slot at North West Startup 2.0 with Ajaz Ahmed. Ed’s posted his presentation here.

I missed the second day – Ed and I had to meet the rest of the Ensembli team – but from my first experience of b.TWEEN, Katz has done a fantastic job not in aggregating some great speakers and sessions, but convincing them to spend a couple days in Bradford…along with the other 150-or-so delegates. Well played.

However…I’m an O’Reilly guy – I like the freewheeling, collaborative approach of ETech, ETel and Foo – b.TWEEN is still very much a traditional conference oriented around media…there’s room for it to grow into a more contemporary unconference for the converging worlds of media, tech and innovation 🙂


  1. Imran,
    I wish I could’ve stayed longer, but I met some really interesting people whilst I was there (always the best measure of any event) and the lego was a bonus too!


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