In a day and age where digital communication is at the forefront of everybody’s mind, it’s nice to know that “meatspace” is still alive and well. Years ago, we attempted to produce a tech conference that reflected the virtual Lockergnome ethos in real life. Six years later, Gnomedex has a solid place in the global conversation – even though I haven’t done much to promote it through Lockergnome. It has found an audience in bloggers, in fellow entrepreneurs, in true technologists, in passionate discussion participants. It took us five years to find our true voice and an avid audience; we’re half sold out and we haven’t announced a single speaker or sponsor. If you’d like to come, we’d love to have you there with us in Seattle. There’s no easier way to meet technology thought leaders and share a single experience with them. Yes, I’m quite proud of Lockergnome – but I’m even more proud of Gnomedex. Each one of these projects have evolved over the years (they really had to do so in order to survive). We would really like to see you there this year – as would fellow geeks.

As you might have read last week, I’ve been spending the past few days at a cultural conference – SXSW. I can honestly say that it’s been one of the most enjoyable conferences I’ve ever attended. However, I only attended two panels (on which I spoke). Everybody and everything interesting was happening in the hallways; the conversations were amazing. I ran into friends, both old and new – and I connected with people I had only known as email addresses or URLs beforehand. There’s a wealth of information and relationships when you get together with other folks offline. MySpace may be all the rage, and you may be thrilled to death with the Internet social network du jour – but don’t dismiss the value of connecting with like-minded individuals in a centralized location. When was the last time you made the effort to attend an event across town, the country, or the world? There is such a thing as “lost opportunity cost,” but you probably don’t think about it when you skip out on conferences and conventions. I don’t know what I’d do if I were agoraphobic.

[tags]networking,conference,gnomedex,convention,conversations,sxsw,social network,thought leaders,entrepreneurs,meatspace[/tags]