Interop Unconference: A twist on tech conferences in Vegas

Bitcurrent will be presenting a new kind of conference in Las Vegas this year. It’s called Unconference, and it’s an attempt to make the event more interactive and collaborative. We’re pretty psyched about the event, and looking forward to trying the concept out.

Since 1999, we’ve been organizing conferences for Interop: First on performance, following the publication of a book on the subject; then on web operations, data centers, and so on. This year, we’re running the SaaS and Cloud Computing track, and we’ve got a lineup of experts and panelists.

But even though that conference track has folks from Google, Amazon, Akamai, and a host of startups participating, it’s Unconference that keeps us up at night.

Years ago, Lenny Heymann, the guy behind Interop, sat down to talk about the future of shows. Over glasses of wine, he worried that traditional one-way presentations weren’t engaging enough.

Recent years have proven him right: Today, we have Barcamp, Blitzweekend, Startupcamp, Powerpoint Karaoke, and other spins on conferences. We go to events and log in to liveblog the sessions, only paying cursory attention to the presenter.

The two-hour long, beer-fueled Unconference has four topics, each of which covers a subject in a half hour. There’s a whiteboard, projector, and moderator for each, and not much else. The goal is to provide just enough structure to get a dialog going.

Stay tuned for more on Unconference as we launch the concept. It’s going to become a regular part of Interop’s schedule, and we hope to see the Bitcurrent regulars voicing strong opinions as usual.