On reboot11


Matt Webb at reboot11
Matt Webb on day 1 by Miriam Olsson

“You’ve had eleven reboots” – Bruce Sterling’s riff on the last Viridian note closed this year’s reboot conference. For over a decade it’s been a gathering of self-proclaimed practical visionaries; an un-conference if you like, but not without some of the trappings of a more traditional event.

The venue, the airy Kedelhallen (Kettle Hall) in leafy Frederiksberg, and the attendees, a breezy mix of mostly European web geeks, entrepreneurs, designers, engineers and communicators, make for an intellectually fulfilling experience. The presence of a crèche doesn’t preclude a decent afterparty (last year’s was disbanded by the police) and the haphazard nature of the programming doesn’t exclude sleb speakers like David Weinberger.

Winners – attendees, speakers included. There’s no differentiation between the two. Speakers speak at floor level, by and large. There’s no hands-up questioning, just an opportunity to move to a smaller space to carry on the conversation. And the bar opens at 9am.

Nevertheless, this year’s theme presented more of a challenge. Raising the bar for speakers meant fewer of them, and the quality wasn’t as consistent as last year. Matt Webb’s Scope and Lee Bryant’s session were, however, definite highlights, along with Bruce Sterling’s wake-up finale. Unlike last year, I didn’t speak this time around but I did manage to make an oven out of some cardboard, glue, polystyrene and aluminium foil. Will I go back next year? Yes.