Museums and the Web Pachyderm Wrapup


We just finished the "Introduction to Pachyderm" session at MW2005. I had to bail almost immediately afterward to catch a plane (I'm sitting at YVR now - mental note to self: leave more time after presentation next time. you left too many people hanging after the presentation). I was a bit nervous going into the presentation. I'd never presented to a Museum (note the capital m) crowd before. I've worked with folks from Museums, and I'm working on projects with these people. But I'd never seen a herd of these people together. I had no idea what their composition would be as a whole. Are they geeks? (some are, some aren't. more geeky than not, but not coders by and large). Are they interested in the project, or has the hype for the last year started to wear people out? (holy. crap. are they interested! woah. Peter took a picture of the audience's response to Larry's question about interest levels. I'll post that when I get it. Are they interested. hehe...) The presentation is now online in flash format and QuickTime format - some things look a wee bit funky in that form, but the content survives OK. Also, keep in mind that it was meant as a paced backdrop to a more conversational presentation, so much of the meaning which would have been in the narration is not included. Imagine people talking about the stuff on the screens, and whenever you think "huh?" - that was addressed by the presenter, and/or during Q&A. I took a bit of a risk when putting the technical overview presentation together - how do you present something meaningfully when you're not sure the technical level of the audience? I used some humour to dispel the geek factor a bit. And the people were so into the presentation it was a bit scary. They were asking technical questions before the technical presentation - so much so that I basically took over from Larry ahead of schedule. Going through my part of the presentation (a series of non-bulletpoint Keynote slides, and a live demo of authoring a Pachyderm presentation), I kind of got so into it that it's really kind of a blur (I was told afterward that the presentation went well - I really don't remember too much of it). The Q&A session after the end, and the post-session feedback/informal discussions were amazing. People came up to me (line up!) with excellent questions, suggestions, offers to pitch in, etc... Wow. "Does it work with Sakai? Fedora? What is the API for people to build apps to?" - all excellent questions, and all planned for post-2.0 releases. Could you imagine how cool it would be if we had an API that let people write things like iPhoto plugins? Or a desktop application for authoring presentations (ala iDVD?). Rock on. That's my dream for what Pachyderm evolves into - openly ripping off the cool stuff like Flickr and del.icio.us - and extending it further than any of us can imagine right now. Feedback suggested that we freaking killed in our presentation. The acoustics were so bad that much of the session sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher - but the wah-wah-WAH-wahwah effect was thankfully not present when near the podium (note to self - you move around too much when presenting - makes it hard for a podium mic to keep levels consistent). After that, Brian, Tim and I moved down to the hotel lounge for a quick chill-out before I had to rudely bolt downstairs to grab a cab (had an awesome cab driver that got me to the airport 10 minutes faster than estimated).


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