Definitely not PC….

….Forum, that is. Not any more.
Esther confirms what the market has been whispering.

I hadn’t been able too make that many PC Forums, despite having booked for quite a few. It wasn’t just a conference, it was a rite of passage for the industry. So farewell PC Forum; and a big thank you from me to Esther and the team.

Some of you may have seen Chris Messina’s recent post about conferences and gender diversity; others may have followed the hullabaloo about Office 2.0 in a similar context. Now I don’t believe that it was ever done from a viewpoint of political correctness or anything as orchestrated as that, but it’s worth taking a look at the speaker lists at past PC Forums. I think it’s a worthwhile soft indicator as to how things changed over the years, in terms of real diversity in all kinds of things: age, culture, gender, discipline, perspective, you-name-it.

One thing I will be doing next year is attending Flight School, especially now that I know the dates (June 21 and 22). I’ve been lucky enough to make the first two. Why? I don’t know how to fly. I don’t make enough money to rent a plane, much less buy one. In fact I don’t even know how to drive. So why would I go to Flight School?

Simple. Passenger aviation shares a number of characteristics with other markets, characteristics that make it a very interesting petri dish:

  • A fundamentally bankrupt business model
  • A model architected on hub and spoke rather than distributed
  • An oligopolistic market
  • The potential for significant impact on environmental issues
  • Regulatory overflows and conflicts all over the place
  • State interventions and protections all over the place
  • Pretend-competition as a result
  • Outdated concepts of information technology and its value
  • Tired and frustrated customers held to ransom

The list is the same for many other industry segments or markets. Financial services. Telecommunications. Healthcare. Aspects of welfare and education. Even government.

But there is hope, as we learn more about P2P models, more effective forms of communications, more affordable infrastructures, safer ways of doing things, better ways of doing things.

There is hope, as we find that this time around, everyone is involved. Almost everyone. As with any other market the elephant that isn’t in the room is the incumbent.

There is hope, as we find that this time around, issues are global, as are their solutions.

So I will be at Flight School. To learn about many markets.

5 thoughts on “Definitely not PC….”

  1. A slight side track: I understand governments used to be a distributed system, probably a lot because of the lack of instant communications. The nodes needed to be autonomous because in all matters they just couldn’t wait for the carrier pigeon to make the roundtrip.

    Fast forward a hundred years or so, companies are starting to take advantage of the distributed nature of the internet. But governments are desperately trying to become more like the dinosaur companies, trying to become more effective by centralization.

    At least this seems to be the case here in Finland, not sure if this applies elsewhere.

  2. JP,

    I agree that PC Forum has been a gathering with its pulse on the industry. But its time that it be sunsetted. There are a few that are taking over that seem better suited to today’s market. Web 2.0 and Supernova come to mind.

    I for one am glad that Esther is focusing her time on this event. She did tremendous job with PC Forum as the industry grew and Flight School is like PC Forum was back in the 80’s.

    Speaking as someone who was a panelist at Flight School last year, what I will remember most sitting out on the veranda smoking cigars with you and Vern Raburn. It is these kind of events where you can meet and talk to people, like you, who see that we trying to create a whole new industry segment. I know it is something we all will remember being a part of when we go to Flight School in 2015.

    – Steve Fisher, CEO, SlipStream Air

    P.S. – Been trying to e-mail you since Flight School and wanted to catch up. Maybe the blog comments are the best way to reach out.

  3. Hey Steve, nice to hear from you. Sorry if I have been remiss in dealing with email messages, I thought I’d replied. My bad.

    I’ll make sure we meet up when I’m next in town. I’m thinking of using something like Plazes to show where I am….

  4. JP convinced me to go to Flight School. I definitely thought it was worthwhile. I am utterly convinced that one of the best ways to generate new ideas is to immerse yourself in seemingly completely unrelated universes.

    And as a bonus you get to meet really interesting new people.

    (completely unrelated aside: just discovered that coComment has been blocked by my company’s firewall (this is new and so depressing) so won’t be able to track this conversation from ‘home’…)

  5. PC Forum was about the people, the industry luminaries that Esther attracted, it was not a regular conference like web 2.0, the content was about what everyone was thinking and planning, each year was different and perhaps better than the last.
    I remember a PC Forum in the early 90’s where Mitch Kapor, Vern Raburn, Philippe Kahn and others were schmoozing outside, when a PC forum staffer asked why we were not inside listening the the panel, Mitch quipped “wer’e here for the people” attending the sessions would be like buying a Playboy for the articles”

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