BlogWorld Keynote

This new section will feature information about upcoming appearances, and after the appearance I’ll post links and more information.
Let’s kick things off with my keynote from Blogworld last month. Six Apart’s Anil Dash begins the talk with a survey of Google’s Open Social platform; I start around 15 minutes in.

Caution: Man Working

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, and it’s getting crazier.
I just got back from New Haven where I was serving on a Yale University advisory committee working on a strategy for online distribution. This week Yale announced that it’s putting seven courses online complete with lectures (video and audio), transcripts, problem sets, and solutions, but that’s just the beginning. Yale is committed to offering free access to many of its assets. Bravo!

It’s a great honor to be asked to help with this task along with luminaries (and fellow Yalies) like David Pogue, Mitch Kapor, Real Networks’ Rob Glaser, EA’s Bing Gordon, and my ’77 classmate Donna Dubinsky of Claris, Palm, Handspring, and Numenta.

While at Yale I did my radio show from its beautiful CMI2 broadcast center. Thanks to Paul Lawrence and his team for hosting me. And to Yale’s associate secretary, Stephanie Schwartz, for smoothing my way in New Haven.

Spending five days in Connecticut means I have to jam three weeks of podcast production into three days, because next week I head to Vancouver to tape 15 more Lab with Leo episodes. Then I come back to do the radio show the following weekend.

Christmas Eve, Jennifer, Abby, Henry and I are flying to Rhode Island for Christmas with my mom and sister. Two days later we fly to Egypt to see the Pyramids. This has been a dream of mine for years and is literally the trip of a lifetime. We’ll be gone and completely out of touch until January 7. I think our hotel has Internet access, however, so I’ll try to post pictures and video from the trip as we go.

This crazy schedule is already impacting some of the shows.

  • Because I was in New Haven doing the radio show last weekend, I don’t have a recording of the audio. That means there will be no Tech Guy netcast for December 8 and 9. Sorry.
  • As you may have noticed, there was no TWiT this week, but we’ll do two more this year on December 17 and 24 (if I can get a cast together).
  • The other news-based shows, MacBreak Weekly and Windows Weekly – will slow down, too. We should have new shows next week, but then it’s two weeks off. Both shows will be back the week of January 6 and watch for special Macworld Expo coverage the week of January 14 on MacBreak Weekly.
  • We’re taking this week off on The Daily Giz Wiz but we’ll have all new shows through the rest of the holiday season.
  • There’ll be a new net@nite this week, but then we’re taking the rest of the year off. We’ll return January 9.

Dane will be here posting the shows while I’m overseas, so everything should come out on time. He’s much more reliable than I am.

I am also working on a redesign of the blog and The new design will merge them both. It’s based on the very nice Revolution theme by Brian Gardner that makes WordPress as suitable for a magazine style site as a blog. I’ll probably put the new sites up in the next day or two and will be tweaking them until I leave. Please pardon the construction dust.

One thing the new design will do is move my Twitter Tweets out of the main blog. (All together now… Yay!) They’ll still be here, but they won’t fill the page with 140 character drivel.

It will also put the blog back into the main Leoville site where it belongs. You can still go to, but will work, too.

Finally, has posted my Blogworld keynote address from last month on Brightcove. Six Apart’s Anil Dash begins the talk with a survey of Google’s Open Social platform; I start around 15 minutes in.

As we wrap up 2007 I want to take a moment to thank you. This year has been a watershed for me both personally and professionally, and none of it could have happened without the love and support of my family. That means Jennifer, Abby, and Henry, of course, but it also means you, my extended family.

I have so very many friends, those with whom I create the shows, and those of you who watch, listen, and collaborate. None of this could have happened without your encouragement and support. Thanks so very much.

Happy holidays. I hope you find your heart’s desire in 2008. Thanks to you, I already have.

Blogworld Recap

Vegas Blogworld Day 1 059 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!.jpgI’m back from Las Vegas toting the usual sore throat from the dry air and ciggy smoke, and a Best Podcast award for TWiT from the Weblog Awards. Thanks for all your votes! (And thanks to Tris Hussey for taking all the pictures here.)
Despite my fears the speech went well. For some reason this particular talk really worried me. Fortunately, all that flop sweat pushed me to do more than my usual amount of reading and preparation and I had enough information in my head to wing it. I debated whether to create a Keynote presentation, but with pros like Craig Syverson in the audience I really feel less and less inclined to make slides. I have zero graphic ability and standards are so high these days that I generally prefer to rely on words alone.

I don’t know if there are any recordings of the speech but if I can track one down I’ll post it here. I should have recorded it myself – sorry! I don’t have anything to share except my bibliography.

Yochai Benkler’s Wealth of Networks is a deep book about the “networked information economy.” It’s published by the Yale University Press, but you can also download all 575 pages online. One key quote from Benkler:

Attention in the networked environment is more dependent on being interesting to an engaged group of people than it is in the mass-media environment, where moderate interest to large numbers of weakly engaged viewers is preferable.

For the science of network topologies I relied on Albert-Laszlo Barabasi’s fascinating Linked. His insights into how networks form are very useful in understanding how attention flows on the net.

I also drew from a number of inspiring essays on ChangeThis. In particular Dean Brenner’s To Inform or To Persuade?, Mark Penn and E. Kinney Zalesne’s Just 1%: The Power of Microtrends, and Scott Schwertly’s Presentation Revolution: Changing the Way the World Does Presentations. ChangeThis is a remarkable site full of stimulating ideas. Highly recommended.

And thanks to Douglas Volk for this quote (which I paraphrased):

What’s fun and vital about the blogosphere is not that it doesn’t speak with the questionably unified (“smothered”?) voice of mass culture, but that individual bloggers only need to speak for themselves and about their own personal interests, and don’t need to triangulate themselves against any distinct or nebulous center; it doesn’t matter who’s paying attention and who isn’t, even when lots of people are paying attention! Each blogger is a gravitational center, great or small, but there’s no sun they’re all orbiting around.

Thanks to everyone who attended the talk – it was a full house despite the hour. You were a great audience. Bloggers, Vloggers, or Podcasters, we are all transforming media for the better.

Leo and Justine's panelFinally, a note on the kerfuffle over my session right after my talk. The session was billed as “The Cult of Blogging” and was supposed to feature A-list bloggers Om Malik and Mike Arrington. Om’s back was hurt and he couldn’t make it. Mike didn’t show either but there’s some disagreement about why. You can read Mike’s story on CrunchNotes, and Rick Calvert’s explanation at the BlogWorld site.

Apparently I inadvertently ignited a tiny controversy for saying that Mike had “forgotten” his commitment. I apologize for that – but after all as the guy who did show up I had to say something and that’s what the organizers had told me. The good news is that up-and-coming A-lister Justine Ezarik filled in admirably and I think the attendees got a lot of good and useful information, even if they didn’t get to hear from Om and Mike.


I’m back from Vancouver – another 15 episodes of The Lab under my growing belt. We had a good week. The team works really hard. Props to Kate, Matt, Sean, Ryan and the whole Greedy crew.
Things have been a little slow here because I’m busy “crockpotting” my keynote at BlogWorld. That’s the term Scott Schwertly uses in his manifesto on making great presentations at – that’s a great site for inspiring articles, by the way. Scott says:

A winning presentation must be well thought, brewed on, and dreamed on. It takes time. It takes research. It takes patience. You can’t build a memorable presentation in an instant. Therefore, it can’t be prepared in a microwave. A great presentation must be built in a crockpot.

I don’t give many talks these days. It’s not that public speaking scares me so much; you know I am happiest with a big audience. It’s that I feel like I should have something important to say and I never do. Coming up with an original idea is hard.

8e69b340dca0fb9be64d5010._AA240_.L.jpgThis time I’m mixing in ingredients from Albert-Laszlo Barabasi’s Linked on how networks form, Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point on the role of connectors, and even Andy Warhol’s Party Book on how to throw a great party (thanks to Dane for that connection!).

My basic premise is that media is about to undergo a phase change, and that as new media publishers we have to rethink what we’re doing. It’s the end of the line for the broadcast model. We’re entering a new paradigm where conversations replace monologue and where audience becomes community.

We’ll see how well cooked my ideas are Friday, November 9, at 8:45a at BlogWorld Expo. Following that I’m on a 10:15a panel on “The Cult of Blogging” with Mike Arrington and Om Malik. BlogWorld looks to be a lot of fun – Mark Cuban is doing the closing keynote. If you’re on the fence about going, hop off and we’ll see you in Vegas!

(If you run into Dane or me at the Expo ask for one of the new TWiT die-cut decals. I’ve got 500 to give away.)