Eco-friendly Conference Attendance

There’s probably several dozen major tech conferences, or pseudo tech-conferences, that happen every year. Social media hounds and bloggers head off to conferences like SXSW, Gnomedex or even SES.

What are some of the things that people can do to be a little more environmentally conscience while attending these things.


Instead of taking a cab, if you can swing it… walk! In most cases, people try to book hotel reservations in close proximity to a conference venue. You might be tempted to get a hotel close to the airport because it’s cheaper on a per night basis, but think about the gas or cab fees (and possibly tolls, depending on the locations!) you end up spending for the cheaper per night accommodations.

Consider staying close and eliminating cabs and rental cars from the mix. Save the gas and cab fares and maybe save a little extra money in the long run.

Hotel Room: Climate Control

Most of the time, hotel rooms are there solely for the purpose of crashing at night. You probably aren’t spending a lot of time in it during the day, so what’s the point in keeping the room climate at 68°F(20°C)? Bump it up to 75° when you’re not around and then reduce the temp to 71° or 72° when you get back in at night. The sun will have gone down and the afternoon heat will have dissipated.

Hotel Room: Linens and Towels

Most hotels these days have a little sign in the room encouraging you to reuse your towels and sheets. I encourage this as well. If you’re in a room for, say, 5 days… you probably only need to have your sheets changed twice. You can reuse that towel as well by hanging it up and letting it dry out. You’re not going to stink by using an already used towel. Believe me, if you’re like me, your towel is not getting changed out every day at home, is it?


Many conferences stream some or all of their sessions. Consider not going to the conference and, instead, watching it at home on your computer. Participate in the back-channel in whatever form it might me. Sure, you won’t get the personal interaction you might get in networking with other attendees, but you’ll have saved a few hundred on airfare, a few hundred more on hotel, and all those fuel surcharges.

For a more exhaustive list of good eco-friendly conferenct tips, check out Zack Greant’s post “20000 km, $7000, 7 Days and 4 tons of CO2 (or, ‘Making Event Attendance Count’)“.

When a Brand Fades

 Today is the New, New Internet Conference, the biggest web 2.0 conference on the Eastern Seaboard this fall. More than 800 attendees are expected. The roster of speakers is impressive. The conference will focus on the larger business aspects of the new Internet economy.

Though I am one of the speakers, I will be in the lobby working during the opening keynote (as well as the first session).  Why?

aol_logo1) I need to get some work done. And 2) the opening keynote is AOL’s Vice Chair Ted Leonsis. And I just don’t think he or the AOL brand is that relevant anymore.  In short, this was one of the sessions I could most afford to miss.

Look, AOL does have some great things going on. My fellow panelist Frank Gruber for one. And no one can deny how powerful TMZ is in the gossip side of things.

But at the same time AOL the brand has faded, it’s lost its luster. And that’s because it’s not really dominating much, and its leadership — like Leonsis — seem to be following, not creating earth shaking vision.

For many, including me, AOL just means dial-up.  And that’s because the brand promise was safe, easy dial up access for so long it’s permanently etched into my brain. This is in spite of the many things AOL is doing in 2.0. And is it any coincidence that one of its most successful efforts is branded TMZ and not AOL?

Perhaps it is me, but wouldn’t all of AOL’s current social media efforts benefit from a re-brand.  I just think the dial-up legacy kills it. As a result the company seems to be fading. What do you think about AOL’s efforts?

PME Day 2: Keynote with Jim Louderback

Jim Louderback, formerly of ZDNet, recently joined Revision3 that is essentially TechTV version 3.0.

I had a drink with him last night and we discussed their recent $8 million in new funding and how they would be using it.

He talked about the new studio and the vision to be the Discovery/TLC of the Internet Generation.

It is clear that they are in the Digital Media business and not the podcasting business. That has been the theme this year and I can’t agree more.

He has a great quote “we are in the first inning of a very long game”. So true.

Jim is a very dynamic speaker and interviewee and a hell of a nice guy. I can’t wish him well enough and Kevin Rose was smart to hire him.

What is working for them is the in-show sponsorship pitch and discussing the experience with the brand. The ones that are more adventurous see more return from the brand awareness.

Great speech. Next up is Susan Bratton of Personal Life Media on Selling Advertising and Sponsorships for Audio and Video Content