I wanted to share my final thoughts on Mesh, really for 2 reasons. First, the analyst in me compels me to look at the big picture and try to explain what I think it all means. Not sure if I'm right, but that's for you to decide. Secondly, I've had a look at a lot of blog posts from those attending Mesh, and most of it is just reporting of what went on. There's a lot of that in my other posts about Mesh, but I haven't seen much in the way of a critical analysis of the overall experience. And I mean critical in a good way!
Let's look at that logo again. I think it's one of the coolest things about the event - it's a very engaging image, and I think there's a lot of good design going on there.
Did I connect at Mesh? Yes.
Did I share at Mesh? Yes.
Was I inspired at Mesh? Yes.
Well, if I'm a PR guy, I'd say mission accomplished! In large part I'd agree, but still, I'm left with some questions, both of the conference itself, and where we go from here.
There was lots of good content and obviously some great energy. I'm sure the successes of the show were a happy mix of good planning and putting everyone together to share and feed off each other. I definitely learned a lot, but for someone who is on a steady diet of VoIP and telecom conferences like VON, Internet Telephony and Globalcomm, this is a different world in many ways. Didn't hear much talk about VoIP or podcasting or SIP - stuff like that. But that's ok - Web 2.0 is about so many things.
And that's where the challenge lies for me. A lot of great perspectives were put forward at Mesh - both from the speakers and the attendees. However, there wasn't a lot of connecting the dots - maybe by design - but I'm left with the feeling that for as much as I learned, I still don't have a sense how these things fit together.
This actually brings me back again to the Mesh logo. You can't help but be drawn into that image and the energy it seems to radiate - which is exactly what happened at the show - so, kudos for the logo designers. The energy was there alright, but like the logo, I didn't really feel that all the strands - yellow, blue, green, etc. - connected. They're oscillating around each other, and bumping into each other a lot, but never really intersecting or truly meshing into a unified form. At the end of the day, much like Earth at Creation, I'd like to see this humming mass of energy and chaos sort itself out and unravel nicely like a ball of yarn.
My conclusion is that this did not happen, and I'm concerned that for some, the conference was just a blur, like this....
Or, that people become blinded by the light (as the Boss would say) of Web 2.0...
Can you guess what this is a picture of? Big prize if you can...
Am just saying these things as food for thought. As I mentioned yesterday, I think the guys behind Mesh are on to something, and they've done a GREAT job on many levels. Just like with a lot of things in Web 2.0, sometimes you need to start with a clean slate to get it right. None of these guys are from the conference business, and the "unconference" approach was edgy, but it was just right. Having been involved with so many conferences, I can think of a million things to consider if/when there's a sequel to this.
Mesh can go in many directions now, and the founders have probably made a nice profit from which they could bankroll the makings of a pretty exciting business opportunity. What I'd like to see next is something - maybe a conference - maybe something else - that helps make this nascent community more real. And from that, those oscillating rings of energy and great ideas will have a better chance of truly meshing and turning into that ball of yarn that makes sense for everybody. I can sure drink that Kool Aid!