So we talked about my feelings before; now here are my afterthoughts on the conference!
The short version:
It was great in so many ways to participate @ArabNetMe the past couple of days. The energy, the spirit and the conversations were all too amazing.
The longer version:
It felt at home away from home, with the significant number of Jordanians participating as well as the lingo, the issues the whole cult built around web entrepreneurship.
The tweeting, I just loved the tweeting…best solution to my short attention span problem!
The numerous coffee breaks were very thoughtful and worked very well I think.
However, did the sessions contribute much new information to the average webist? Not really. With the moderate reading and catching up we do from silicon valley, I can’t say the sessions contributed more than about 15% of either new insights, trends or solutions. Even my partner alma, who’s a social researcher and not a webist didn’t think she gained much new information!
Here are my two cents for ArabNetMe 2011:
With all the hype before the conference about the inclusion of women, I was very disappointed with the low number of women speakers, one. Really? All this hype and then only one woman?
Don’t be the all & everything for the web industry. Get selective, mine the feedback and see what worked best.
Sessions should be shorter, must run at least two in parallel, topics be much more specific and make it more cozy, with people HAVING to select which sessions to attend and participate in resulting in a lower number of attendees thus more conversation between the panelists and the audience.
Have the participants vote for the topics they want to discuss before hand and submit their questions instead of having the moderators do it, or doing it for the moderators as it seemed to be the case in the conference.
The conference should be about finding solutions, sharing of ideas and coming up with action plans.
Share the list of participants on the website before hand, so people can pre-prepare meetings with those of interest.
And make the following in BOLD in every way you find possible
“NO TIES, NO HIGH HEALS, NO BUSINESS SUITES, CASUAL WEAR ONLY”